I’m starting off the new year with the M1 Fringe Festival! I caught Foreign Bodies on 5 January, which was the opening date. I originally did not plan to catch any Fringe shows this year because the selection did not really appeal to me as compared to the previous year’s theme of Art and Nature, which I enjoyed the performance Red Rabbit White Rabbit quite a bit. Coincidentally, school placements, school excursions and free tickets from a friend got me quite involved with the festival nevertheless.

And so I caught Foreign Bodies! Which was my first ever burlesque show and truthfully I was not prepared for it at all. For one, my friend called me up to tell me he had tickets since his friend could not make it and I decided why not. I had no idea what the show was about, and initially expected drag queens and cross dressing since it seemed like that from the posters and marketing collateral. But nope! I would describe it more like a series of strip tease, not that I know much about stripteasing anyway.

I would agree that progressive is a good word to describe the series because I do not think that such performances would have happened in the past, where people strip almost naked to dance and provoke the audience. It wasn’t bad in the sense that it should be censored or rated, but it was not suitable for my taste or comfort. This is my personal opinion.

I did enjoy watching something new though! I felt as if I was transported into a small club in the US where people enjoyed a hearty laugh whether the humor was bawdy or not. There was so many sexual innuendos but pretty much everybody was chill about it and were especially supportive to the performers as they cheered in delight upon more skin showing.

I mean, I do think it is slightly inappropriate. But when placed in the context of a theatre venue, it becomes a performance and even cat-calling seems like a positive feedback to the performer to continue what he/she is doing. Truthfully I am still trying to figure it out, what is the purpose of making it a burlesque show and why did they all have to be naked?  Was it necessary for everyone to be naked?

To be naked on stage…. It should be very uncomfortable. Especially for those with body types that do not conform to societal standards as sexy or beautiful. I felt like they were delivering a piece of vulnerability and truth to us, making us see them in a new light as brave beautiful people.

The theme this year is Art and Skin, and what Skin in SIN aimed to do was to make people respond to pertinent racism and xenophobia towards expats (quote M1 Fringe website). I felt like I did not get that understanding from the show. In fact, my main takeaway from the show was of body image, to appreciate that different bodies have different kinds of beauty.

From my own observations, these issues do not really threaten expats as much? Considering that they have money and power to do what they like and shouldn’t be affected compared to those in less power. If it was a comment made regarding their situation, it is not very convincing. I would feel that every body when naked is a hot body regardless of colour. In that case, how was it supposed to address racism? Or xenophobia for that matter.

Okay I shall go read up on this matter and may or may not get back to a conclusion.

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