On Blue Ocean strategies and Marie Antoinette;

Currently I’ve been picking up something new on the camera every day, and taking a million photographs of my cat (she is a sleepy feline model, the subject of my photographic affections, my mewing muse!) Will share some of my new shots perhaps this weekend.

Nevertheless, it has been some time since the last update, as work has been quite hectic, and I am now in a course on business strategy. Today we were introduced Blue Ocean strategy, which encourages companies to ‘break away from the productivity frontier’ through ‘creative innovation’ and differentiation. I’m not very convinced. It just seems like an attempt at ‘Same same but different’, and is a subject that generates revenue mainly for the consultants.

Still, it was pretty fun analyzing the circus industry, where we learnt about the roots of the circus in Ringling Brothers, the tent association and the role of the circus in the 1960s-1980s, and how they have evolved to modern times. I’ve heard of Cirque du Soleil many times, but it was my first time watching a little of it – which turned out to be quite whimsical and lovely, I won’t care much of the acts, but I love the air of decadent mystery and the aura of the piece…and I adore the girl at the beginning of the piece…so Theatre of the Absurd! The cage bit was wonderful…

From Wiki:

Quidam (pronounced /kiːˈdɑːm/ key-DAHM) means (sg.) “a certain”, (pl.) “some”, or “anonymous passerby” in Classical Latin, and is the ninth show produced and performed by Cirque du Soleil.

The entire show is imagined by a young girl, named Zoé, a sad and forlorn girl who is alienated and ignored by her parents. She dreams up the whimsical world of Quidam in an attempt to escape her sadness.

The title refers to the feature character, a man without a head, carrying an umbrella and a bowler hat. Quidam is said to be the embodiment of both everyone and no one at the same time. Subtitles at the beginning of the official video state: Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past. One who cries out, sings and dreams within us all.

According to Cirque’s literature: Quidam highlights our frailties and our anguish in the face of the new millennium that lies before us. It also underlines differences, conveying positive feelings and resentment and confronting our dreams with our nightmares. Quidam is more scripted than previous productions, integrating performance and theatricality to a greater degree, and draws on the emotional relationships between the performers in the troupe.

I adore the description of the characters!

  • Zoé: An average little girl. She is bored yet curious, and she longs for the fun and excitement she believes lie just beyond her reach. When her parents ignore her, she suspends them “for a minute or two or three.” She enters an imaginary world and discovers lots of weird and wonderful things.
  • The Father: Completely, though unwittingly, self-absorbed. His white shoes are the only indication of a hidden personality.
  • The Mother: Conveys an air of absence and alienation. Inside her lie fear, frustration, and desire.
  • Quidam: The Quidam may have stepped out of a surrealist painting or been conjured up out of Zoé’s imagination. He is anonymous; he is everyone, and, at the same time, he is no one.
  • John: Part game-show host and part substitute teacher with his own renegade lesson plan, a ringmaster of sorts; an eerie but charming guide through the world of Quidam.
  • The Target (La Cible): Originally known as Karl or Fritz (based on the actors’ real names), a living, human bullseye (possibly the personification of the carpet on the family’s floor, which has the same design), fired at by everyone, left vulnerable perhaps by a gentle nature and kindness, ironically remaining light-hearted and happy–answering to everything with a smile. “A sweet, but frantic romantic” who can “fly with ease from the highest trapeze.” (Asexual; has been played by male and female actors.)
  • Les Chiennes Blanches: The silent chorus, the nameless and the faceless; the dehumanized, mechanical crowd, simultaneously leading and following.
  • Boum-Boum: Aggressive and physically fit, yet lifeless, struggling, as though the body lives on only because the soul refuses to leave it. From the darker side of human relationships–an evil seduction. Enjoys screaming at the audience and walking away proudly like a bully on the playground, but if an audience member screams back, will run away like a frightened child! (Asexual; has been played by male and female actors; a.k.a. La Mort.)
  • Rabbit (originally Funny Bunny): Female looking for love all the time! Plays, and likes to tease. Never knows if the one she has is the good one, so she goes to someone else. Chases and gets chased by other characters. “A genius in ecology, lovey-dovey, and astrology.” Has no tail, and each ear is twice the length of her head! Referred to as Donkey Ears by fans. The character’s original French name on sketches was Peau d’Ane, which translates roughly as ass/donkey skin.
  • The Aviator: Has skeletal wings, but doesn’t look quite ready to take off. Perhaps he doesn’t know he has wings. Perhaps he knows, but can’t fly. Perhaps, like Icarus, he has tried and failed. Or perhaps he simply wants to escape this world and its problems.
  • Les Égarés: Lost individuals who gather together in the streets and abandoned buildings of Quidam. They sublimate their suffering, transforming it into something magical and inspiring.

I have always been quite bored with traditional circuses (unless they have old steam machinery and vintage carousels!) but Cirque du Soleil introduces a unique element to the performances in differentiating themselves through the themes, storylines and brilliant special effects. I was quite amazed that the creator of the circus was a man who had started out as a stilt-walker, who couldn’t afford a license or to utilize animals! There is a Russian romance and magic to the performance which really distinguishes them from other traditional circus performances. Perhaps I will visit the next time they come to Singapore.

I recently found a seller who designs Marie Antoinette inspired shoes! I adore her shoes and ordered two pairs right away…I love her little silk and ribbon heels – sky blue, lavender, and a memory of four-tiered cream cakes in the ‘I Want Candy’ scene in the show. And of course, Marie Antoinette is one of my all time favourite movies- I love Sofia Coppola’s direction in that movie. Thus, how can I resist!

The two pairs I ordered are sky blue and lavender oxford like shoe designs…inspired by Mahnolo Blahnik (who makes the most heavenly shoes that Carrie Bradshaw and I both desire!) [Below, the shoes (and the movie scenes which they are inspired by]

Je t’adore beaucoup!! Aren’t they absolutely divine?

 I can now hide away with my pretty shoes and imagine that I am a lady in a Fragonard painting…

Its Wednesday, and already I am craving for some sleep and the weekend! But I’ll be presenting at a department meeting tomorrow, and am a bundle of nerves about it. I will probably stay up tonight to prepare…I think I prefer a debate or moot infinitely, a presentation is a very different activity altogether!

I miss you Beansprouts, just as Lucy would…


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