Monday, August 01, 2005

Of puppies and evil

What's in a teddy?
Nothing, if they remain quietly suspended on a string.
Then, Rose begins writing. And the text explains that a short time ago a soldier (with an English name... US Army? British?) was abused by his colleagues for not being of the same color. He was washed, and then scalped. Cleansed.
And then Rose, the old, severe- but- kind- looking lady, goes back to the puppies. She grabs the black one, and washes it. Puts white detergent on it, splatters transparent water. Then spills the filthy, gray water on the floor and puts the puppy back on its place. And leaves. Stopping to look back a couple of times, just to make sure.
Rose and the Teddy Bears is a 20-minute street performance, part of a series presented by the French theater/performance group Princesses Peluches during the FIAR International Street Arts Festival in Palmela, Portugal ("street arts" in this case basically means theater). The quote on the group's site says "Rose makes people laugh and think at the same time". Well, this time it really didn't make me laugh (though some might find the beginning amuzing thanks to the subtly stylized persona of Rose). Once you get it, it's really quite creepy. What I found interesting was that the whole thing would be rather weak - if it weren't presented by this character, which seems from a completely different story. And that's what gives the show its credibility. It's as if the old lady made it easier to swallow something so bitter we are usually tempted to refuse it as a "performance", or even as a direct social commentary.

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