Creative Writing, Drama, English, Language, Literature

An afternoon with Maria Ferguson

by Mesha Pope, 3rd year student

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“I hide them in bowls under the bed. Packets of Marks and Spencer’s crisps, Kettle Chips… Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar, they’re the best ones.”

Uplifted. Nostalgic. Heartbroken.

Just three of the varied emotions I felt whilst watching the wonderful Maria Ferguson. Fat Girls Don’t Dance was both hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure. She describes herself as being a ‘chubby kid’ and so her work exposes her continued struggle with food and how this affected her as an up and coming performer.

Maria beautifully combines form and content. The raw emotions and authentic memories of her piece fused superbly with an amalgamation of theatre, storytelling, poetry and movement. What was remarkable was her ability to keep the audience entertained. We all sat in awe of her as she flitted from rapping an old school garage track into high kicks and leaps across the stage.

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Maria taught me that you can easily address a touchy subject, such as an eating disorder, whilst providing light relief through creative theatricality. The staging of her work meant that not one moment of the extracts she performed were dull monologues which was refreshing in comparison to the subject matter of her work.

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She juxtaposes images of Britney Spears ‘circa 2001’ and eating five mince pies at Christmas with the burning fire of longing to be approved.

Maria has infused comedy and raw emotion, and through doing so she has truly created a beautiful hybrid of performance.

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Most importantly was the moral of her story: ANY GIRL CAN DANCE!


 

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