The continuing art adventures of Doofus and the Duck and their Company of players, as created by my wonderful wife Emma during the time of quarantine: the COVID-19 pandemic of 2019/2020. This is the third installment of works, picking up where we left off with the growing professionalism within the Company.
Without further ado, I’ll give you over to the Doofus and the Duck…
Growing confidence leads to the Company becoming bolder and more adventurous in their choice of piece, gradually working up to interpreting a major work of abstract expressionism! But more on that later.
Doofus and the Duck present a dramatic tableau of Rembrandt van Rijn’s majestic and powerful painting, “Belshazzar’s Feast,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Hand of God!
Another dramatic ensemble work that well captures the essence of the original. The costuming and lighting in this work is particularly exciting!
Doofus and the Duck present a tableau of the Norwegian Expressionist Evard Munch’s famous “The Scream of Nature,” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Artist Himself.
Another standout work from the Company, completely capturing the stark horror of Munch’s original canvas. The use of color is magnificent, as is the work of the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot who excels in a very difficult role. All in all, just what we’ve come to expect from these wonderful players!
Doofus and the Duck present their interpretation of M. Manet’s last major work which they have entitled, “Temps de Quarantini aux Folies Bergère,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as A Woman of Negotiable Virtue.
Arguably the most perfect of the Company’s work to date, this tableau is a sophisticated interpretation of the original, skillfully blending color, costuming, technical effects, and marvelous acting to recreate the original masterpiece. A stunning work! Special mention needs to be made of the Purple Hippo’s fearless contribution as a trapeze artist. This won’t be the last time we see this indomitable actor taking to the air!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Marc Chagall’s ode to young love, “La Mariée,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Goat-headed Cello Player
A wonderful performance by the Company of a very difficult expressionist work. The composition and use of color is superb and, as always, the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot shows its great versatility handling its role with graceful certitude.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their series of Iconic Images, their tableau of Gutzon Borglum’s epic and monumental work at Mount Rushmore, USA, sometimes called the “Shrine of Democracy,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Head of Abraham Lincoln
In a major surprise, the Company attempted, and succeeded, in performing a very creditable version of a famous monument. The Book, showing amazing abilities, took this work from what could have so easily been a farce into the realms of the sublime, providing scale and perspective effortlessly. A bravura performance!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Edgar Degas’s famous painting, “La Classe de danse,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Pouting Prima-donna
A bold ensemble work that has proven very popular with their public. The Purple Hippo does a stand-out performance as a clueless young ballerina.
Doofus and the Duck present their interpretation of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s well-known poster, “Jane Avril,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Jean-Jacques de Grand-Fromage, a Smitten Bass Player
A bold attempt, though not an entirely successful one, to recreate a post-impressionist poster. There are many elements of excellence–composition, color, the costuming–but the overall balance of the work is not quite right with the fault primarily being with the inclusion of the Grandfather Clock. In this case, it simply doesn’t work.
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the forthcoming anniversary, their rendition of Andy Warhol’s pop-art masterpiece, “Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) 1967,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Herself
After the poor critical response to their attempt at Lautrec, the Company bounced back in epic form to create one of their finest efforts. Asked to make something brilliant, they all responded to reveal a modern masterpiece, some would say rivaling the original. The use of saturated color, the stunning dramatic work by the entire cast (it is hard to single out an individual effort here, the ensemble is so strong however The Dinosaur’s “Donald Trump” impression is particularly fine), and the fearless skill they capture Warhol’s ethos is plainly in evidence. One of their greatest works!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Jan van Eyck’s most excellent and famous painting known as “The Arnolfini Portrait,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Artist
Another masterful interpretation of an iconic work, the Company pulled off a major technical tour-de-force in bringing van Eyck’s work to life. The work by all the major players is very fine, with special mention to both The Book (its rendering of the bed is totally convincing) and the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot who, as ever, carries its part to perfection.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of that most excellent work of the Italian master, Michelangelo Caravaggio currently displayed in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery in Rome, entitled “Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Mary, Mother of Baby Jesus
A valiant attempt at a very difficult work. The location work is excellent, and the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot is believable as Mary, however the lighting is not right. The beauty of Caravaggio lies in his use of chiaroscuro and, in this instance, the Company has not quite achieved that level of sophistication.
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of my (Mark’s) birthday and Christo’s Death Day (30 May 2020), their interpretation of Jackson Pollock’s most extra-ordinary painting “Blue Poles (Number 11, 1952)” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as “Christo Memorial Pole #6”
An epic interpretation of a fantastic work, though I admit to a certain bias. I have loved this work since I first saw it live in 1978 and my appreciation for its greatness hasn’t been diminished by the years. The vision of the Company to pull off such a work is as audacious as it is clever. Who ever saw, from their humble beginnings, that they would be able to stage a monumental work of abstract expressionism and not only make it credible, but bring new life to the original? An astounding achievement!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Henri Matisse’s famous painting “La Danse (1),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as An Energetic Dancer, and introducing a new member of the Company, famous in other circles, but only wishing to be known now as China Baby
Doofus and the Duck present, with a certain amount of whimsy, their interpretation of Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s famous (dare we use the word?) painting, “Poker Game (1894),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Confident Card Shark
More mirth from the Company in an extraordinarily fine rendition of an American icon. The use of props and lighting is particularly effective in this tableau, not to mention the very fine work done by the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the lead character.
Return of Solo Works
In early June 2020, the Company was commissioned to create a number of more intimate works. Their effort are quite spectacular.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of solo works, Doofus’s impression of Jacques-Louis David’s powerful political portrait, “La Mort de Marat (1793)”
A stunning and very complete rendition of David’s famous portrait. Doofus is outstanding in his recreation of the famous printer’s death in his bath. Superb work!
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of solo works, their interpretation of Banksy’s magical mural/painting, “Girl with Balloon / Love is in the Bin,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Girl
Ever controversial, topical, and adventurous, the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot, for its solo work, created a Banksy pastiche. Using multimedia (and help from the Purple Hippo) it has given us the before and after of one of Banksy’s beloved works. It doesn’t quite work but it is a bold effort.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their solo series, the Duck’s interpretation of John Waterhouse’s Pre-Raphaelite-styled painting, “The Lady of Shalott”
The Duck excels in this bright interpretation of a dark and moody (and much overrated) work done by Waterhouse in the Pre-Raphaelite style. The setting–in a boat on water–is perfect and the natural lighting adds an elegant dreamy realism. A fine piece by one of the Company’s founders.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their series of solo works, The Book performing Salvidor Dali’s surrealist classic, “La persistencia de la memoria (1931)”
The Book, perhaps the unsung backbone of the Company, when asked to do a solo work produced this stunning vision of Dali’s most iconic images. The imagination and sheer audacity to take on such a difficult surrealist piece can not be underestimated yet the sublime rendition, the effortless joy within the work, are unmistakable. As ever, the Purple Hippo provides a welcome levity and helps to balance the work magnificently.
Doofus and the Duck present, a continuation of their series of solo works, the Purple Hippo doing its interpretation of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s enigmatic design for Rome’s smallest obelisk, entitled “Elephant and the Obelisk (1667)”
As ever, the Company’s clown prince strikes exactly the right note of humor in this tableau of one of Bernini’s most beloved statues/monuments within Rome. Wearing the obelisk is a stroke of comic genius, as is the use of hieroglyphs (for those lacking in the time to decode this mystery, the glyphs spell out the name “Hilary Mantel”–we can only assume The Book helped here), and the sketching of the facade of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Exquisite work! (As an aside, here is a photo of the artist next to the monument during a trip to Rome.)
Pinchgut Season and More
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, Australia’s live music scene has been shut down. One of the consequences of that decision has been the canceling of Pinchgut Opera’s mid-year performance. As avid fans, the Company has decided to dedicate a number of tableau to the Brave Little Opera Company in honour of their past achievements and, in some cases, in the hopes of future employment.
Here, in no particular order, are the Company’s interpretations of some classic Pinchgut Baroque opera moments…
Doofus and the Duck present, Francesco Cavalli’s Giasone (Jason, of Argonaut fame), featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as David Hansen (Jason in the bathtub), Doofus as Celeste Lazarenko as Medea, and the Duck as an Argonaut.
This produced an amazing performance by Mr Hansen. As a male soprano of amazing power and dexterity, his voice shocked and amazed Pinchgut audiences. A representative version of that performance can be found here. The ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot was totally smitten by Mr Hansen’s performance and has been taking voice lessons in the hope Mr Helyard will make “the call.” So far it remains firmly within the Company.
Doofus and the Duck present, the second in their Pinchgut Opera series, this time the 2016 production of Mr Handel’s masterpiece Theodora (an oratorio about the early Christian martyr), featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot acting the role of Theodora, as performed by Valda Wilson, with the rest of the Company as Doomed Christians.
A stunning production of one of Handel’s last major works. It is powerful and moving and a delight to listen to. You can find more information here including links to audio and video clips.
Doofus and the Duck present the third in their series of Pinchgut tableau, this time the 2019 production of Antonio Vivaldi’s outstanding opera, “Farance,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as “Body Bag #1”
This was an amazing, powerful, complicated, and complex opera that had a unique and compelling interpretation by Erin Helyard, Mark Gaal (director) and the Pinchgut team. Much more about this wonderful production, including video and audio, can be found on their website.
Doofus and the Duck present, their topical tableau of Johannes A Oertel’s once famous painting, “Pulling Down the Statue of George III by the ‘Sons of Freedom’ at the Bowling Green, City of New York, July 1776 (1859)” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoots as The Doomed Image of A Mighty, Yet Flawed, Monarch
Ever ready to stick a fork into current political issues, the Company has recreated a minor, yet popular, work from the mid-19th Century of an event occurring in the mid-18th Century with direct resonance with statue toppling happen today, in 2020. As one wise commentator noted, pulling down statues isn’t destroying history, it is creating it. As the Company so aptly shows, this clearly remains true.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Hans Holbein the Younger’s famous portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve, known as “The Ambassadors,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Anamorphosis of Impermanence
Another superb interpretation of a late-Renaissance classic, with a highly amusing artistic choice made for that most enigmatic portions of the work: the anamorphic death’s head. The costuming is excellent, the recreation of the floor convincing, plus the wonderful collection of bric-a-brac gathered together as the scientific instruments (granted there are some such devices present in this collection) is perfectly in keeping with the Company’s practice. A very fine work.
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of finding some keys under the couch, the Company’s interpretation of Pietro Perugino’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece, “Delivery of the Keys (c.1482),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Saint Peter (prior to his crucifixion)
A disturbing image of a Renaissance masterpiece, at once true to the original yet disturbingly post-modern in its interpretation and use of perspective. The compression is as remarkable as it is confusing: the Duck towering over the right foreground; the unnerving stare of the Purple Hippo as it looks up at the viewer, causing dislocation as your eyes slide across to meet its gaze; Doofus and the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot taking the focus, yet the little people in the background demand our attention. One of the Company’s more difficult and exciting works!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical masterpiece, “Le Muse inquietanti (c.1917)” (mostly known as “The Disquieting Muses”) featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as “Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy”
Another image from the Company that reflects and enhances the oddity of the original de Chirico master work (a piece he kept coming back to throughout his life). The work here by the principals is first rate, as is the overall design of the tableau; the colors are more vivid than the original, but seems to enhance the “disquieting” within the frame. Once again, the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot excels as a muse, bringing a gravity to what could have so easily been another comic turn. Well done!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honor of (what would have been) the opening of Pinchgut Opera’s version of Charpentier’s opera, “Medee,” their interpretation of the Czech art nouveau illustrator Alfons Mucha’s poster for the 1898 Paris production of “Medee,” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Sarah Bernhardt in the Role of the Witch Queen Medea
An extraordinarily powerful performance from both the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot and the Purple Hippo transform Mucha’s tasteful work into to one of power and terror. In the Company’s version we see the stark power of Medea, and also the terror and madness within her when she kills her children (bravura performance from the Purple Hippo!) out of spite. Amazing work!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Michelangelo Caravaggio’s superb painting from the Cerasi Chapel in the Church of Santa Maira del Popolo titled, “Crocifissione di san Pietro (1601)” (“Crucifixion of St Peter”), featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Saint Peter
Caravaggio works feature strongly in the Company’s repertoire because of his subject matter (it is well suited to the forces the Company can muster) and its dramatic nature. Both of these facets are right at the forefront of their interpretation of the martyrdom of Saint Peter. Everyone, including the unsung Trevor Trilobite as “Petrus,” is at their very best in this work, with the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot once more show just how versatile it can be when called on to play dramatic parts. A magnificent tableau and easily their best Caravaggio to date. We look forward to more!
Doofus and the Duck present, their reinterpretation of the Italian master, Sandro Botticelli, most famous painting, “Nascita di Venere (c.1485)” (“Birth of Venus”), featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Zephyrus, God of the West Wind
With this work, the Company returns to redo some of their earlier, more minimalist works utilizing some of the more advanced (and dare we add more expensive?) techniques available in their expanded repertoire. Certainly they bring a much greater verisimilitude to this work, and one can not fault the work of any of the players, but they have still not quite grasped the subtleties of this Renaissance masterpiece in the same way they have those of the last 19th and 20th centuries. Still, a courageous effort.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau interpretation of Pablo Picasso’s legendary scandalous and salacious work, “Le Bordel d’Avignon (1907),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Rosa da Pompadour, A Woman from Barcelona Attempting to Make a Living in Hard Times.
Once again the Company surprises us with a bold view of a famous, if somewhat difficult, subject. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, as the work is commonly known (the Company has chosen to use Picasso’s original name for the work), is often regarded as the first work of Cubism and shows us five women in a “disconcerting confrontational manner and none is conventionally feminine.” Without any doubt the Company has succeeded in providing us with a disconcerting image of feminine sexuality in a completely non-conventional manner, with the Purple Hippo and the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot standing out for particular mention (though Little Big Stone Head makes a very welcome appearance in this work as A Tribal Mask). A brilliant, provocative work!
Doofus and the Duck present their interpretation of John Tenniel’s wood engraved illustration for Lewis Carroll’s famous book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” entitled, “A Mad Tea Party (1865)” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the March Hare
A whimsical attempt at a similar subject. The Company are clearly letting their hair down, if we may use such a term, after their recent manic efforts at “great art” to show us their fun side. Tenniel’s woodcuts are superb and the Company has managed to capture some of the charm in their tableau.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their occasional series of book illustrations, a tableau from American artist/illustrator Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are (1963),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Wild Thing Carol, and introducing a special guest appearance from Shaun the Sheep as Wild Thing The Bull
Another well executed fun-piece from the Company that captures some of the spirit of Sendak’s masterly original. A touch more chaotic than the standard we’ve become used to, however that is well in keeping with the subject matter.