One of La Serpiente’s favourite series of books is Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie, stories about an elephant called Gerald and his friend Piggie (who has no other name, apparently). A few months ago, my wife found out that a stage production of Elephant and Piggie was coming to Singapore. (It turns out that this was the first international production of Elephant and Piggie, so I suppose we’re somewhere ahead of the curve.)
Partially recovered from my jet lag, and with hearing beginning to return to my left ear, I got a taxi with La Serpiente over to the Ulu Pandan Community Centre, which is not quite in the middle of nowhere, and then up to the fifth floor, where the theatrette is located. I think it’s a bit odd that they had the performance in the theatrette, if only because it feels incredibly arbitrary to label a theatre as smaller than normal (especially in a country where you can find a twenty seat cinema, and they don’t call that a cinemaette).
Anyway, the performance space was just fine. We had seats in the second row, and if I put La Serpiente’s booster seat from the taxi atop the seat, she was at the right height to see everything. The stage was decorated with a wall of gold frilling, and big, bright platforms, that Elephant and Piggie danced across in between declaiming their lines.
I had been expecting (and so, I think, had La Serpiente) that in this performance we would have somebody dressed up in a full elephant costume, and another in a full pig costume, providing facsimiles of what we see in the illustrations of the book. Instead, Elephant wore a grey suit with a outsize necktie and a hat with elephant ears, and Piggie, although wearing all pink, only had pig ears. However, that’s a lot more involving than having somebody lumber across the stage, sweating in some enormous foam costume, while singing is piped in from somewhere else.
Either way, La Serpiente was rapt. The production was just over an hour in length, and for the first 45 minutes or so she was fully engaged. Towards the very end, starting to get exhausted, she began to rest her head on my arm, but she never showed signs of being bored. I wasn’t sure if dancing, singing elephants and pigs were really her thing (or indeed squirrels, reimagined as a 60s girl band troupe, complete with white high-heeled boots and colour coordinated tights and wigs). At the very end, after coloured streamers had been fired across the stage and everyone was forced to a singalong, there was a Q&A, and after that La Serpiente got to sit on the stage in front of the actors, captured inexpertly by me to look like she was drunk and exhausted.
We went home after that, but unfortunately we didn’t have the doorkeys to get back in, and La Serpiente was desperate for her owl toy. So I endured half an hour of howling until we got her reacquainted with her mother and through the front door, at which point she went to sleep like a sack of potatoes, and I passed out, in preparation for this afternoon’s run.
Later, I delved into a backpack we haven’t used since we were in London in December, and rediscovered a pair of highly expensive running socks I’ve been looking for for the past two months. (And had just ordered a pair of highly expensive replacements for. Oh well.)