When a picture paints a thousand words…

It means it covers 2 and a half 400-word reviews.

Last night, I was reviewing Xtra Large by Compagnie Irène K. at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Turns out I really enjoyed the show – it was joyous, laugh-out-loud funny at some points, and stirring.

My experience however was marred by a full Theatre Studio audience. Imagine my (pleasant) disbelief and genuine excitement – it’s a Tuesday night, I wonder. What are all these people doing here? What are all  these people doing here! Wow – good for the Festival, good for the Company! I am perched in my seat of choice (when I get to choose, I usually go for the aisle seat in the 4th row, stage right – though I can’t tell you why), and can barely hide my smile as the endless line of people stream in.

That’s until I realise they all know each other. And they are all I’m guessing, 14-16 years old. Ah the school trip… I listen irritatedly (and I’m not alone) to their chatter, gasps and giggles.

Exasperated that these schoolchildren occupy most of my thoughts, I put off writing to look up Fernando Botero, the Colombian artist whose work is the undoubted inspiration for Xtra Large. The cast is dressed in Tweedledee/dum fatsuits, and are as big on spirit as they are in size.

I chanced upon this:

Dancer at the Barre, Botero F. (2001) Oil on canvas

Dancer at the Barre, Botero F. (2001) Oil on canvas

Makes you look twice doesn’t it? Especially when the subject is portrayed in the context of an art form in which aesthetics are of the highest order. Botero’s ballerina bucks the trend. In today’s ideal of slender beauty, she’s expected to be clumsy or perhaps, considered unfit for the tutu or pointe shoes. Instead, she has her leg in seconde just slightly lower than Svetlana Zakharova (below) does, her supporting leg tapers down to a delicate pointe and the expression on her face looks just as serene as Zakharova’s.

Svetlana Zakharova in class, M. Haegeman (2006)

Svetlana Zakharova in class, M. Haegeman (2006)

I was very tempted to send the image of the Botero painting off to my editor, without any text, in a very bold move.

Alas, I didn’t have the guts and crawled into bed with zilch.

Eventually when I awoke 4 hours later, I had something figured out (thankfully). In an astonishing reflection of life in art, the show is about the bunch of teenagers I encountered (without them realising it of course). The programme notes read: “…three teenagers live their emotions to their fullest, simply because for them, everything inside and outside is extreme and extremely funny.”

It’s late in the day and it seems my review has held up against the editor(s). Look out for it in the Life! section of the Straits Times tomorrow!

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1 Comment

Filed under Audiences, M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, Review

One response to “When a picture paints a thousand words…

  1. Pingback: Resolution! 7 Feb, 2012 – A year ago today | iwatchiwriteiwonder

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