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Imagine Toi

June 7, 2011
photo by Franck Fife

Event: Imagine Toi
Series: Flipside 2011 (an ‘Esplanade Presents’ festival in conjunction with The Singapore Arts Festival)

Performed by: Julienne Cottereau (France)
Dates: 28-29 May 2011
Venue: Esplanade Recital Studio

Imagine a fantasy world, where wild beasts lived, and “damsels” get distressed.

No props, nothing, just the man and his voice, or rather his ability to ‘create’, with the voice effects he makes. Soon you forget that the objects (balls, guns, brooms, chewing gum, etc.) and animals he conjured up are purely imaginative and you’re easily drawn into his world.

And drawn into his world (literally) were some of the audience whom he picked to ‘perform’ with him. He provided the voice effects while they tried to imitate what he asked them to do, like play ball, pose, act as beasts, etc. And the chosen audience were a good sport, drawing much applause and laughs. Pretty convincing too.

That was how good he was. Julienne Cottereau, formerly from Cirque du Soleil, is a virtuoso clown and mime artist who keeps you engaged with his acting, expressions and voicing. He fires up one’s imagination as we visualise his “creations”.

In this creation, he plays a servant to a giant beast, keeping the place clean and quiet for the beast to sleep. While the beast sleeps, he sweeps, plays with gum (you could hear constant “eww”s from the kids), catch flies, tame dogs, kill a duck (sadly), etc. All of which were invisible,  yet visible (in our minds). At one point, in his fantasy, he is a hero/knight, saving a princess from the beast. But not all was sweet and bright, and some parts were likely a bit too loud and scary for kids (especially when beasts “appeared”), for a child started crying. But all was well soon enough.

As a parting gesture, he “sent” ‘memories’ of the performance to the audience on a “bicycle”, with the imaginary photos he took (that’s how it looked to me). An apt ending as the audience is brought back to reality.

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