By Antonis Sideras, MFA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Arts
Do you know what’s the best way to get over the January blues? Well, that’s by experiencing the 2018 London International Mime Festival. Happening throughout January and the first days of February, the Festival presents a selection of physical and visual theatre, puppetry, clowning and live art from around the world in venues such as The Barbican and Soho Theatre, to name a few. I have had the pleasure of watching the one woman wordless SOLD OUT show ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Quizás’ by Mexican artist Gabriela Muñoz, staged at Jackson’s Lane in Highgate London
Antonis Sideras’ Review:
As the audience walks in the theatre they were met with Muñoz on stage; She sits on a small desk which is covered by a translucent layer of white tulle – writing letters on sheets of paper with a quill, occasionally scrambling the letter – and then starting again. She is wearing a white clown face and a white dress made of organza and tulle.
The rest of the set was a mise en scene comprising of household furniture – a sofa, a side table, a coat hanger and a small table with 2 chairs – all in a romantic style. Strange arrangements of toilet rolls, flowers and strawberry bawls were seemingly made by Muñoz before the start of the show.
Once the audience sat down, the performance starts with a silent movie styled video piece showing Muñoz walking in the streets of a city, looking for a groom; her social awkwardness is made evident by the looks she gets from the passersby, and the video escalates as one of the men she pursues rejects her point blank.
Muñoz then interrupts her writing spree and directly acknowledges the audience with a combination of grimaces, stylised gestures, buffoonery acts involving strawberries and a wedding cake and funny noises – whilst moving in sync with an opera sounding audio. Once the song dies out, Muñoz starts enacting a wedding ceremony using toilet rolls to make an isle and, asks the audience to join her in humming the iconic wedding march as she tries to wed a suit propped up on a coat hanger.
By this point there is not one spectator who does not burst out in laughters – as Muñoz lays on the sofa with her new spouse and begins simulating her ‘first night experience’. But there is a problem – her husband cannot satisfy her. So she begins scouring the audience and picks various men up – as her marital candidates. Once an adequate groom is selected, she recruits a pastor from the audience to officiate the ceremony, and a bridesmaid to accompany her down the isle. It is needless to say how she accessorises her entourage with toilet-roll made wedding props. The service ends when they wed and the groom kisses Muñoz – who requests a passionate kiss from her lover.
Following that, Muñoz relieves the pastor and the bridesmaid from their services as she spends some time with her husband – eating cake and drinking wine. The sequence escalates as Muñoz douses herself in wine and starts removing her clothing in the sound of a seductive song, while red lighting floods the stage.
As the naughty scene climaxes with her new husband awkwardly staring at her, there is a sudden halt – denoting the moment Muñoz realises that this is all a fictitious situation; She is not really married! Muñoz then puts on a dress made of what it seems to be the letters she threw on the floor, and ponders about what just happened. She lets her groom go as a cold blue light shines over the stage, whilst the character and audience alike are hit by a wave of sobriety.
Overall, Muñoz presents the audience with an exceptional character possessing wit, charm and cheekiness. Her emotive portrayal of loneliness and her shenanigans in the make-believe world she creates in her lounge room, quickly win over the audience who form a genuine emotional bond with the character; For better or worse, it feels like Muñoz marries her audience during the performance, and the memory of her show will stay in our minds till death do us part!
More about the Author
Antonis Sideras is a final year MFA Fine Art Student at Wimbledon College of Arts.
“I am a queer performance artist who is creating a queer mime persona. I have thus been out to the 2018 London International Mime Festival and saw the 1 woman wordless show of Mexican artist Gabriela Munoz held at Jacksons Lane in Highgate and wanted to share my experience with the PG Community at UAL”.