Theatre: Chris Williams

🕔Mar 09, 2018

The annual Valentino Cabaret, put on by the Tidal Elements Whole School Society, is Haida Gwaii’s yearly showcase of local talent, comedy, and performance. This year’s show, the 16th annual, ended with a seven-act play called Size Doesn’t Matter.

The story follows Watermelon, a microscopic woman, and her lover Clipper Tanktop, a man cursed with a microscopic penis as a result of an encounter with an alien shrink ray. The play centres on the idea of finding love in impossible situations, and is characterized by a Monty Python-esque style of comedy tagged by creator Chris Williams as “theatre of the bizarre.”

“Let’s create a situation that’s impossible, and then try to act as normally towards it as possible,” he says. “There’s a natural comedy that flows out of that.”

Only about 25 minutes long, the performance featured a small local cast including two voice actors, one as the microscopic Watermelon and a narrator.

Despite Watermelon being the only character we couldn’t actually see, she was easily the most normal of the crew. Those performing on stage embodied  the absurd, furthering the play’s place in the realm of the bizarre.

The story interlaced numerous Haida Gwaii references and jokes throughout, keeping the comedy targeted to its local audience. To further create a tangible connection, the play incorporated moments of breaking the fourth wall. A passionate make-out session by two members of the audience is acknowledged by the cast; Plasticine, the son of Watermelon and Clipper, sends text messages from the stage to friends in the crowd.

There is no second showing of Size Doesn’t Matter in the works, but Williams sees this as a bonus. The play exists as a one-off and exclusively as part of the 16th Valentino Cabaret. It is immortalized through the collective memory of those who were in attendance, and is merely a thing of wonder for those who could not be there to see it firsthand.

— Pete Moore