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 fifth installment of works, the Company remaining at the height of their creative endeavors.
Without further ado, back to the Doofus and the Duck…
Winter 2020 continues
Doofus and the Duck present, another in both their solo series and illustration series, their interpretation of English Pre-Raphaelite Eleanor Vere Boyle’s watercolor for an English language edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “Thumbelina (1870),” featuring the Purple Hippo as The Maid Thumbkinetta, and introducing a special guest appearance by The Christmas Fish as Themselves
An absolutely astonishing production design piece, far outpacing the original watercolor in composition, color, and range of textures. It is pleasant to see the Purple Hippo return center stage, and, even if the work required is trivial, the Purple Hippo makes a strong showing. However, the real stars of the piece are the Christmas Fish and the verisimilitude they bring to an amazing underwater scene. Truly excellent work!
Doofus and the Duck present, the next in their series of solo works, this time the famous panel-painted portrait of Queen Elizabeth I of England by “an unknown English artist” known as “The Armada Portrait (c.1588),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as “Good Queen Bess, By Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.”, and the Purple Hippo as A Mermaid
Another super effort from the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot pulling off, with more than a little verve, Elizabeth I. The wonderful humour in this work should also be noted, particularly the two Armada paintings behind the monarch. Using previous Company works on a nautical theme–the Spirit of Haida Gwaii and The Raft of the Medusa–to depict the before and after of the Spanish war fleet is wonderful, as is the marvelous crown. Very good!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the French National Day, their tableau of the romantic master, Eugène Delacroix’s, stunning and famous canvas, “La Liberté guidant le peuple (1830),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Marianne, the personification of Liberté, Égalité, and Fraternité.
An ingenious tableau from the Company that once again demonstrates their versatility and creativity. Once again the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot relishes the big and challenging roles, this time as a convincing model for France’s national personification. Never the less, the Bandicoot appears unphased by the pressure, in fact, it appears to thrive on it! It will be interesting to see where next for this fine actor.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their series of solo works, Doofus’s impression of German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich’s most famous work, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” which he has retitled, “Der Wanderer über dem Megalong.”
A clever and subtle reinterpretation of Friedrich’s masterpiece of romanticism, Doofus once again shows us just how exquisite its taste can be. The lighting is superb, as is the composition, and, while the valley below is not shrouded in fog, it none the less provides a romantic vision of the Blue Mountains, perhaps reminiscent of the way 19th Century pioneers, Friedrich’s contemporaries, may well have seen this landscape. Beautiful work!
Doofus and the Duck present, another in their series of solo works, the Book’s reimagining of Dutch artist M.C. Escher’s seminal work, “Reptiles,” featuring a special appearance by The Little Blue Men as “Reptiles”
The Book, clearly one of the more cerebral of the Company, once again surprises us with this beautiful two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional work representing a two-dimensional drawing of a three dimensional world. Simply outstanding! And the subtle help provided by The Little Blue Men is also excellent. A powerful piece of which Escher would have approved.
Doofus and the Duck present, another in their series of monumental works, a tableau of the French sculptor, François-Léon Sicard’s, classic Parisian water-feature in Hyde Park, Sydney, “J. F. Archibald Memorial Fountain,” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Mighty Hero Theseus, and featuring the Purple Hippo as The Fearsome Minotaur
It is, at times, difficult to know how to characterize the Company’s architectural works: are they serious or not? This work is such a case, however, it is probably safer to venture on the to side of “post-modern irony” given the particular background (St Mary’s Cathedral, seat of the Catholic Bishop of Sydney and not the correct view for the fountain), and the setting of the various features, including the choice of the parts the main characters play. Once again, the design elements are fantastic and well worth studying. Bravo!
Doofus and the Duck present, the next in their series of solo works, the ABC Interpretive Bandicoot’s tableau of the great American illustrator, Norman Rockwell’s, cover for the February 13, 1960 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, entitled “Triple Self-Portrait (1960),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Bandicoot as The Artist Himself
A stunning work from the Company that is not only technically excellent but marvelously realised. It is quite extraordinary how close to the spirit of the original illustration they have come and, the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot has, yet again, shown us what an amazingly versatile character actor it has become. A true asset to the Company and a star in its own right.
Doofus and the Duck present, another in their series of solo works, a tableau of one of English Pre-Raphaelite painter, John William Waterhouse’s, last works, “Miranda – The Tempest (1916),” starring the Duck as the eponymous character
Another outstanding effort by the Duck in recreating one of JWW’s most iconic and romantic works. The combination of foreground, recreating the stormy shore of the remote and inhospitable island with wondrous precision, and the (almost) two dimensional seas creates an exceptional feeling of tension, and not a little dislocation, in the viewer, perhaps even more so than the artist perhaps intended. An excellent work for our troubled times.
Doofus and the Duck present, the next in their occasional series of children’s book illustrations, this time their tableau of Austrian-American author/illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans’s cover for “Madeline (1939),” featuring the Purple Hippo as Madeline, and the Little Blue Men as “The Students”
Another extraordinarily sensitive rendition of a classic children’s book by the Company that captures Bemelmans’s work to perfection. Particular attention needs to be given to the fantastic depiction of “Miss Clavel” done by the Duck which captures many of the “I’m here to keep you out of trouble” nuances this character was famed for. And, with the Purple Hippo as the titular Madeline, the Duck will have its job cut out for it! Another wonderful work confirming the Company as one of the foremost practitioners of this art!
Doofus and the Duck present the third in their St Peter Trilogy, a depiction of the Italian Baroque painter, Annibal Carracci’s, representational epic, “Domine, quo vadis? (c.1601),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as A Terrified St Peter Fleeing Rome As Though His Life Depended On It
The third in a series is often the most difficult however two of the Company’s preeminent artists have managed to create a rousing rendition of what is a rather second-rate Baroque work (Carracci was attempting something new and it didn’t quite work). Special note should be made of the appearance of Trevor the Trilobite, surely one of the unsung rocks of the Company.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of the most famous page from one of the finest and most well-known illuminated manuscriptbook, created in the early 9th Century by monks of the Order of Saint Columba, “The Book of Kells folio 27v,” starring Doofus as The Evangelist Matthew (Man), the Duck as The Evangelist John (Eagle), The ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the First Evangelist Mark (Lion), and featuring the Purple Hippo as The Fearsome Evangelist Luke (Bull)
The Company have, once more, raised their own bar from superlative to some level greater than that: words fail! Combining pathos and humour in equal degrees, it is the production aesthetics of this work–the choice of colour palette, the framing, the overall details–that raises this work above the crowd of their finest efforts. Where can they possibly go from here? We wait to be amazed!
Doofus and the Duck present, one of their series of famous illustrators, this time the work of late-Victorian English artist C. E. Brock, and their tableau of a scene from Jane Austen’s most famous novel “Pride and Prejudice,” entitled, “Mr Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner,” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Most Excellent Squire Sir William Lucas, and featuring the China Baby as Mrs Bennet
Another wonderful work of whimsy from the Company, capturing the major elements of Brock’s work with effortless ease. The excellent work from the Company principals continues, though it is good to see some of the associate cast making a welcome appearance. We look forward to more of these slighter works if only to balance our palette for what is sure to be another feast.
Doofus and the Duck present, another in their series of famous illustrations, and in keeping with the Spirit of the Times to deliver a message of social responsibility, their tableau of iconic Australian artist May Gibbs’s drawing for the Spanish Flu Pandemic entitled, “Hullo! How are you? (1919),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Reginald P. Dacelo, a Socially Responsible Kookaburra, and featuring the Purple Bandicoot as A Cute Gumnut Baby with a Mask
Beautifully depicted, this is a wonderful updating of Ms Gibbs’s timely message from a century ago. The message speaks for itself.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their series of monumental work, the famous commemoration composite dedicated to the memory of Vice-Admiral Viscount Nelson and designed by the English architect, William Railton, known as “Nelson’s Column (c. 1843),” featuring The Little Blue Men as Little People, and guest starring Shaun the Sheep as A Fearsome Lion
Another work combining an exquisite design and execution with a finely honed chaotic whimsy for which the Company has become justly renowned. Once more Doofus plays an exceptionally fine “straight man” to the Company’s leading pack of clowns, the Little Blue Men, who, in turn, bring energy and joy to every work they participate in. It is also fun to see one of the Company’s special guest stars making a welcome reappearance. All told, another success from the Company.
Doofus and the Duck present, another in their on-going series of great illustrations, this time their tableau of one of Japan’s most exquisite and well-regarded woodblock prints, from the studio of ukiyo-e master Hokusai, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa (c.1830),” featuring The Little Blue Men as Sailors in Great Peril
A surprising and strikingly effective rendition of perhaps Japan’s most beloved artwork. The Company in general, and the Little Blue Men in particular, have succeed in creating the sense of menace and danger so clearly depicted in the original, to the point where we, the viewer, fears for the safety of these petite players. Wonderful work!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of the first panel of the early Italian Renaissance master, Paolo Uccello’s, renowned triptych “At The Battle of San Romano (c. 1438),” featuring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as That Most Successful of Condottiero, Niccolò da Tolentino
Another very fine chaotic battle scene presented by the Company, much in the style we’ve come to expect. The ABC Dance Bandicoot is, once more, front-and-center to the action, playing its role with grace, finesse, and daring making an excellent mercenary captain. Doofus, on the other hand, seems less well-suited to his casting as “action man,” perhaps a reflection of his growing stature and maturity within the Company. As we’ve come to expect, the Little Blue Men provide an amusing sense of chaos to the scene but one does have to ask if, on occasion, they over-step their brief? Regardless, another excellent production from the Company! Well done!
Doofus and the Duck present the next in their on-going series of famous illustrations, this tableau of one of English artist Sidney Paget’s illustrations for Arthur Conan Doyle’s short-story for The Strand Magazine’s December 1892 edition, “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” entitled, “Homes Gave Me a Sketch of the Events,” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Intrepid Detective Sherlock Homes, and featuring the Purple Hippo as The Imminent Doctor Watson
One of the Company’s most celebrated duets return for this wonderful version of the illustration that gave the world Homes’s deerstalker. The ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot manages to capture Homes intense earnestness to perfection, and the Purple Hippo is sublime as Homes’s somewhat less capable partner, Dr. Watson. The set though is, arguably, the star of the show and a level of verisimilitude to the tableau we have rarely seen before. Another wonderful piece!
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of a work by the famed Netherlandish master, Hieronymus Bosch, entitled “The Extraction of the Stone of Madness (c. 1494),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Lubbert Das, A Rather Foolish Fellow, and featuring the Purple Hippo as Woman Balancing a Book On Her Head
Another wonderful tableau of a Bosch which, as always, makes us wonder quite what the original means. Certainly it seems bizarre from our modern perspective however there is no doubting the joy and energy in the Company’s interpretation of the work. The Purple Hippo, as is ever its want, manages to enhance the gormless nature of the original, while Doofus is almost a sinister in its depiction of the mad doctor. An excellent, if odd, choice by the Company.
Doofus and the Duck present, in commemoration of the demise of the Sydney Theater Company’s 2020 Season, this tableau of a cover, by an unknown illustrator, of the book of the play by famed wit, Mr Oscar Wilde, entitled “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Eponymous Titular Personage
A rather poignant work from one artistic company to another in these difficult and complex times. We wish well all who work in the Arts and hope that better times are not too far away.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of Scottish Enlightenment portraitist David Martin’s well-known double portrait entitled, “Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and Lady Elizabeth Murray (c. 1778),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Lady Elizabeth Murray, with special guest star Shaun the Sheep as British heiress Dido Elizabeth Belle
Another marvelously subtle work on a very important, if neglected, piece of English history. It is a delight to, once more, see Shaun the Sheep working with the Company, his expertise is patently obvious by this characterful depiction of the West Indian, slave-born, heiress and perfectly balances and highlight the haughtiness of the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot’s interpretation of Lady Elizabeth. Another excellent, topical tableau from two of the Company’s undoubted stars.
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of his recent demise, a tableau in the style the great French comic book artist, Albert Uderzo, featuring the main characters of the beloved Astérix series (c. 1952-2011), starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Heroic Gaulish Warrior Astérix, and featuring the Purple Hippo as the Mighty Chief Vitalstatistix
Vale M. Uderzo. Along with your long-time partner, René Goscinny, you gave the world more laughter and joy than you could have ever imagined. Thank you.
Doofus and the Duck present, a tableau commentary on the these troubled times, based on the work of Australian artist John Brack entitled, “Collins St., 5pm (1955),” which has been updated to reflect Collins St Melbourne, 5pm 10 August 2020, featuring the Little Blue Men as Weary Office Workers
Another fine and poignant tableau from the Company, once more getting the heart of the matter through post-modern art reflexology. It is, as ever, a delight to see the Little Blue Men in action, once more in a surprisingly serious role. It is, however, the empty set that rightly takes center-stage, and it is magnificent. The Company has a certain affinity to producing wonderful minimalist works that are every bit as enticing as their larger stagings. Excellent work!
Doofus and the Duck present, the next in their series of occasional solo works, the disturbing self-portrait created by the infamous Italian painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, entitled, “Medusa (1597),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Dread Gorgon Medusa
Once again the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot shows us its versatility as an actor, at one moment playing the clown (sometimes literally), and at the next giving a work of great emotional pathos and gravity, such as this Caravaggio. A difficult and uncomfortable work in the original, it is hardly less disturbing in this rendition, where the eyes seem to stare out at us with a combination of “Why?” and “Finally” in equal measure. Very well done indeed!
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of classic children’s book illustrations, the cover to Australian Aboriginal artist Dick Roughsey (his name was Goobalathaldin in the language of the Lardil people of Mornington Island) first book, “The Giant Devil Dingo (1973),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Dreamtime Devil-Dingo, Gaiya
Another superb work from the ABC Dance Bandicoot, this time making an appearance closer to home, though it manages to get beyond its bandicoot roots to convincingly portrait the eponymous giant, and frankly terrifying, dingo. More excellent work also from the Props Department, particularly in their treatment of the landscape.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of English artist Aubrey Beardsley’s illustration for the first English edition of Oscar Wilde’s one-act play “Salome,” entitled “The Peacock Skirt (1893),” starring the Duck as Salome
An exquisite and subtle representation of Beardsley’s famous pen-and-ink/woodblock print for the English publication of Wilde’s scandalous play. Here the Company Principles have given us a wonderful combination of colour and line that would have had the author swooning in delight at the richness and depth of the tableau. A beautiful depiction!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the sacrifices made by choir members worldwide, their interpretation of a small part of the English antiquarian and herald William Camden’s epic scroll of the “Funeral Procession of Elizabeth I of England (1603),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as William FitzHerbert, A Fine Tenor of the Chapel Royal, and featuring the Purple Hippo as a Very Nice Boy Treble
Another touching, if slightly odd, work from the Company, though one instantly recognizable to choristers as the cover illustration to the “Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems.” The costuming is superb, however the acting is restrained, which is in perfect harmony with the source material, and it is wonderful to see some of the “lesser” members of the Company come to the fore. A fine work.
Doofus and the Duck present their tableau of a work by the famous French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, entitled “Le déjeuner des canotiers (1881) (trans. Luncheon of the Boating Party),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Beautiful Seamstress Aline Charigot, and featuring the Purple Hippo as the Famous Actress and Model Ellen Andrée
The Company returns to France in the late 19th Century with verve, style, and wit, not to mention a gorgeous blaze of colour. The Company principals are at the top of their form–Doofus is wonderfully nonchalant as Mms Fournaise–and the staging and design creatives have given us a superb feast for the eyes that well match M. Renoir’s original. Enchanting!