Review: I Owe My Parents $65,000

Words by: Michael Winsall

This Saturday night, I saw artist Sylvia Sippl pour through an itemized account of what her parents paid for in order to get her where she was on stage with a menagerie of musical instruments.

But contrary to what you may think, this didn’t run like a depressing conversation you were having with a friend at a bar over a pint or ten after their parents disowned them. No, there was no tears, no table comically stacked with empty pint glasses as if the bar hadn’t hired a glassie. Instead, Sippl’s mother was side of stage, operating the slideshow.

In an all too relatable tale, Sippl runs through exactly what her parents paid for in order to have violin lessons, get a degree in the art, and (described as the pinnacle of her career) performing on stage with the London Philharmonic. But to call this her greatest achievement would be doing her a great disservice. By day, Sippl works as a high school teacher (a skill that in and of itself that would require more patience than any musical instrument). By night, she moonlights as a musician/actor/comedian/MC.

Sharing home photos and videos, she tells you of the hidden costs of cumberbunds, the perils of buying antique violins from nuns running charities for lepers, and how a parent will never truly forget the financial burden that you were. The biggest thing I could fault it for was being entirely too relatable and sending me into a depressing spiral of calculating what I owe my parents (hint: it’s a lot more than $65,000, and I don’t have an art degree to show for it).

I owe my parents $65,000 is running the 24th and the 25th at the Pirate Bar in Joondanna.