Final curtain call for local diva Jenda

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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DIVA: Jenda is returning to the limelight this weekend in her one-woman show, Whatever Happened To Jenda?  PHOTO/SUPPLIED
DIVA: Jenda is returning to the limelight this weekend in her one-woman show, Whatever Happened To Jenda? PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Whanganui celebrity Jenda will return for one last show before taking on the world.

Whatever Happened To Jenda? will play at Wanganui Repertory Theatre this evening at 7.30pm.

Jenda's "manager", James Graves, said the show was stand-up comedy and would include the screening of a short video.

"It's all about Jenda's life as a celebrity, and her experiences, and trying to recapture the fame she once had.

"There's a bit of rhetoric around how fame gets created, how people become famous, and so on. There will also be some audience interaction, and in the interval people can write questions they've always wanted to ask Jenda - or any celebrity, because of course Jenda can speak for them - and she will answer them on stage."

Jenda is an entertainer and diva who has made numerous appearances around Whanganui at functions, events, art gallery shows and comedy nights over the past two years.

She was "discovered" by Mr Graves in 2014 when he was studying art at Whanganui UCOL, but has been retired for the past six months.

"Jenda was a performance artwork that went a little bit too far - that's how I'd describe her," Mr Graves said.

"I was in my third year and I'd been working on impersonating other performers and looking at how they had created personas for themselves. Then, in the middle of the year, I felt like I needed to go a bit further, so I decided to create my own alter ego, who is an original but also based on other archetypes."

Jenda first appeared in a series of live performances at Whanganui UCOL.

Mr Graves said the experience of being Jenda was a fascinating one.

"She is my personality but much, much bigger. And she has some interesting habits that I don't have - for instance, she's very untidy, whereas I'm not.

"She can be quite out of control. Some of the things that come out of Jenda's mouth really surprise me."

Tonight's show is likely to be Jenda's last in Whanganui for some time, as Mr Graves is going overseas for an extended period in August.

He said Jenda may well travel overseas as well.

"I think she'd like to take on the world."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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