"The World Of Chibi Cherry" by India Salvor Menuez explores the psychology of a young entertainer by incarnating her fears and hopes into various characters. Model Home, designed by Monica Mirabile and Sigrid Lauren, provides unique rooms to house each aspect. Chibi Cherry silently explores the sensations in each of these opinions.
Anon, played by Alexandra Marzella, spews criticism online in the anonymous confines of the bathroom. She sits sourly on a towering pile of shit. Cherry Mama, played by Claire Christerson, offers hollow concern for Chibi Cherry in the shape of self-obsessed advice from behind her martini glass. These voices are both jealous, but either menacing or pseudo-protective. They ask Chibi Cherry to change who she is and align with societal expectations. Chibi Cherry dolefully listens to them while chewing on her banana phone.
Venturing outside, Chibi Cherry joins Vola, played by Hayden Dunham, and practices Recon, a meditative exercise to “reconnect, reconsider, and recondition”. The etherial practice coaxes Chibi Cherry into a frenzied dance. The excitement of unifying mind and body leads her to new creative discoveries but they are locked in the frame of the therapeutic session. Vola is a creative crutch for Chibi Cherry’s inspiration, offering both the possibility for new discovery and barriers on how far it can be taken.
When Vola calls the end of the session Chibi Cherry wanders off to meet Twin Self, played by Susannah Cutler. Twin Self is the idealized projection of who Chibi Cherry wants to be. They sit together swinging and smiling, locked into each other’s eyes, and Horse the Horse, played by Logan Jackson, waxes philosophical on the joys of nature.
Ironically Horse the Horse becomes the conduit which returns Chibi Cherry from the blissful outdoors back into the domestic realm. He is the trusty steed of Gibby the Cowboy, played by Michael Bailey-Gates. Gibby is Chibi Cherry’s shallow-minded brother who offers more innuendo than assistance. His invitation causes Chibi Cherry to be cheerfully ill. She hides her wrenching behind a smile. As she and Twin Sister join Gibbi on Horse the Horse a bomb explodes on screens behind them, showing the clash between fantasy and reality.
The play-thing ends with Angelica, played by Olimpia Dior, murmuring profanities from the second story of Model Home. Angelica’s cries mimic an artist’s frustrations with their work. Her character appears to be in spiritual transcendence throughout the play but reveals her dirty mind in the finale. In the attic next to Angelica an unnamed character played by Beyo offers an apathetic view on the happenings below. He plays MineCraft while the events of the play unfold.
“The World of Chibi Cherry” presents a fanciful parable for the creative process. Although Chibi Cherry never speaks, she is the only character with true agency. The other characters remain static in their roles while Chibi Cherry travels between them. They represent the struggles of jealousy, second-guessing, misunderstanding, false hopes and idols, or lack of acknowledgment which might deter an artist from their calling. Chibi Cherry embraces each of the characters and stays true to her unusual self.
Text and Photo Elise Gallant