Berlin has one of the most vibrant pools of LGBTQ+ performers and performance artists, but few go so far to help out and include fledgling Drag Kings and Queens than the fabulous “Auntie G,” Gieza Poke. Her Tuesday night PokeHouse is legendary, but this week, from tonight, there’s something even more special coming up.

We caught up with Berlin’s sparkly Scottish sensation to talk about her one woman show aPOKEalypse Now; Mamoirs of a Gieza; I’m Still Here!, rugby, home and PokeHouse.

Danny Polaris: Geiza, give us a quick teaser about the story of the show…

Geiza Poke: aPOKEalypse Now is a queer erotic pop sing-a-long show in seven chapters. I take the audience on a journey through the life and times of Gieza Poke by combining chapter readings from my soon-to-be-self-published autobiography with live performances of parody songs which reflect my sexual mishaps and growth as a self-possessed, sexually empowered Glaswegian woman.

DP: What’s main message you’re trying to put across?

GP: The show is about finding yourself through experimentation, about approaching life with a determination to follow your body, your soul and your holes to discover what makes you happy and going for that thing with everything you’ve got. I tell you all the struggles I’ve been through so you don’t have to go through them too.

DP: Tell us about the creative process – how long did it take you to pull it all together?

GP: The first seeds were planted two years ago when I was preparing a one-off number for our weekly drag show at Monster Ronsons. I tried writing a song for the first time with a cover of Ottawans D.I.S.C.O. (G.I.E.Z.A.) and quickly realised I love the process of writing.

However, I felt the song itself needed a short introduction. This 30 second unprepared introduction grew over the next months into an extended narrative that just keep growing as the audience wanted to hear more, and I decided the audience needed a book!

In developing the show I’ve taken my favourite of these somewhat unrelated chapters and crafted them into a narrative suitable for a show; writing new chapters and songs as required.

The final songs for the show were still being written last night (two days before the premiere) so I don’t think I will ever really be finished with the show!

There are always new ideas coming out and improvements that can be made. But I thrive under pressure, and will always stay up and lose a night of sleep if I have an idea that I think needs to be in the show.

DP: How do you juggle being a drag queen with playing rugby?

GP: It’s hard, just ask my teammates who never see me on the pitch anymore!

The tricky part is that my working schedule is evenings and weekends, the exact times that the team train and play matches. When I started working as a drag queen I wasn’t working so much so was able to do both but these days it’s (sadly) very rare to see me on the pitch. I miss it.

In general though, there is no reason at all why a person can’t be both a fabulous drag queen and a rugby player. We all carry elements of performative masculinity and femininity with us every day so I don’t feel any need to hide what I do on the rugby pitch.

DP: What do you most miss about Scotland and Scottish culture?

GP: The people first and foremost! People in Glasgow are especially warm, friendly and willing to engage with you on the street for some banter. In general, people in Berlin like to keep to themselves on the streets – but for that, they are even wilder behind closed doors!

DP: You’ve been running Pokehouse for a while now – what’s your message to first-time queens who want to perform in drag for the first time?

GP: Book a date and just do it! Deadlines make things happen and force you to make decisions about what your performance will be, what your style will be, who your drag persona is.

Don’t wait until you think you know everything about your drag queen / king / spectacular being persona – you will find that out during the creating, if you have to try different things to know which one works in the end.

Also the audience at the PokeHouse is the most supportive in Berlin so don’t be scared – Auntie Gieza will support you and you’ll be left feeling fabulous after the show. That’s a Poke Promise!

aPOKEalypse Now; Mamoirs of a Gieza; I’m Still Here! runs from the 21st to 24th of March at DOCK 11, Berlin.

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