Figs in Wigs: Often on Stage

First posted on December 14, 2018
Image: Figs in Wigs

Going by the listing I couldn’t really work out what the show was. Dance or theatre or performance art or meta-comentary… It was all those things and it fit together surprisingly well. It was almost like four shows put together.

Part One: The End

The audience come in to see the remnants of a play. Cast lay dead. Once we settle down they get up and do a charming Morris-inspired dance that speeds up with the music. Shoes are lost in the fury and they retreat.

The lights come up. They return. They bow. We applaud. They leave. They return. They bow more extravagantly. We applaud. They leave. They return.

Repeat with pauses to receive flowers or advertise their fundraiser to buy The Globe a roof. The sounds of a roaring crowd are played to help us out.

This lasted seven minutes and felt a bit longer.

Part 2: The set up

This was new to me. After all that they come back out on stage and start shouting at their tech. She comes out, they talk about the show, they pack away. All in a rush but it goes on too long. They change the set, their outfits, test the projections and sound.

You don’t see behind the curtain in theatre. He you see them set up the curtain and lights and get changed.

This lasted about 11 minutes. Can’t tell how much was scripted or see how they could have made the turn around faster, other than having the lights set up before hand.

And then… the smoke machine. I was second from front row and I couldn’t see the stage for fog. The show begins. Again.

Part 3: Dances and motivation

Out of the fog we can see some lights. They have lights on their fingers and transparent bumbags full of fairy lights. It’s very silly but it means you can see them within the smoke.

They arn’t the best dancers. Their skill and timing varies. Though this isn’t a pure dance show, is it? They had choreographed an aerobics work out to a track made up of door noises. They twitch with door chines and stretch with the creaks. A projection begins showing the figs with tough questions and platitudes. ‘This is surely just a hobby?’ and ‘how long can you keep doing this?’ and “‘Fear is the cockblocker of greatness!’

They get changed into the green suits as a promotional video plays for a Figs in Wigs business consulting agency. Twee music and soothing voice. They stand in formation and mess up reading motivational slogans. Stumbling and starting over each other.

Then back to dancing. They walk back and forth on stage in time with the music but not each other. Forming interference patterns with their bodies. I think I understand the message. Trying to turn the daily grind into art.

Part 4: The End

Well they found something that could be commercial.

Their cryptic reflections of the success of this project are played over the speakers as they get changed, behind a sheet this time. The power trip. The thrill of enthusiastic responses. “Whole residencies lost to it.” The music builds and they burst through the sheets in costume:

A Backstreet Boys drag king tribute act.

Image: Figs in Wigs

It’s so fun. I’d love to see it at a cabaret night. They are clearly having fun too. But their words echo in my head. This is what they are becoming known for. Is it what they want to be doing?

It’s what I want to be doing.

Was it good?

A real solid show that kinda dragged in places. The audience were laughing and it made me think. That’s how can call it a success.

I don’t know if they can keep doing this. The turn out was good but not commercial levels. I’m not sure any live art I’ve seen makes money. Thanks Arts Council!

Part???? The pack away

The Figs come out again and begin to pack up. There is little difference between this and the change overs so we wait. “The show is really over,” they say “You can watch if you want but this takes about an hour.”

I kinda wanted to see how everyone else stayed but I needed to get home. I think I was the third to leave.

That was art. Was it?

🌟🌟🌟 It was good