Sunday, July 15, 2012
Seeing Portobello Road Through the Beady Eyes of Monkey Puppets and Their Puppeteers
Starting the trek from the busy underground to the Disneyland-like crowded Portobello Road, the smells of the various food tents hit like a brick wall. The sweet and savory crepe stands appeared to be every few tents and looked like more of an art form than a cooking technique. Returning back to trying to find the Monkey Biz show after the food distraction was a daunting task, but finally accomplished and there in a quaint park stood a painted jungle backdrop of trees about four feet tall waiting next to a chair surrounded by musical instruments. Finally, the music began and it immediately gave me the creeps. For as long as I can remember I have been terrified of every type of masked person, clowns, and any person with a painted face, and the music just reminded me of a circus and everything having to do with one. Surrounded by young children, I stood as the show went on and watched as two puppeteers dressed in all black made these monkeys perform tricks such as juggling, walking a tight rope, and doing somersaults. The beady eyes on the puppets made me uncomfortable, so instead I watched the technique of the puppeteers and was shocked by how gracefully their hands swayed inch by inch while the puppets performed an entire circus show. After the show, I rewarded myself for staying through the entire performance with a sweet crepe filled with lemon and sugar and my fears disappeared. Walking through Portobello Road was a new, amazing experience of seeing new foods and trinkets of every type available for purchase- including old leather footballs and boxing gloves. Even though the weather was brisk and rainy, the day concluded to be a culturally eye opening journey through a new London I had not experienced before.