The program for the 2017 Perth International Arts Festival – the second of four to be headed by Art Director Wendy Martin – was put together through a long, often anguished process of separating out those acts that understood the concept of ‘acceptable whimsy’, and those that did not. The following is a list of just six out of 183 acts that were not selected to showcase their creativity to Perth audiences this season.
Company: This and More Mustard
Description: A radical anarchic vegan twist on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Actors draped in kale squelch about floors of rotting meat, agonising over “outrageous sausages” and the moral iniquities of the globalised meat farming industry. Burdened with the death of his father due to heart disease, protagonist Cutlet is further torn by the death of the young sow Offalia, who flees her compound only to drown in the surrounding marshes.
Show: Exit Shoot
Description: A raw, visceral interpretation of Florida governor, family member and would-be U.S. President Jeb Bush. In a one-man debut performance by David William “Hughsey” Hughes, the pride and pathos of Jeb is embodied with consummate meta-amateurism, compelling the audience to engage with ideas of legacy, delusion, bad acting, a mother who says “we’ve had enough Bushes” on the Today Show, college socialism ties, and whether it was really necessary for all these ideas to be conveyed by a middle-aged dude stamping his foot in a scalding casserole for 90 minutes.
Show: Hullo! It’s Stephen Fry
Company: Just Little Old Stephie
Description: Stephen Fry talks about himself again. Organisers thought it was a bit overdone.
Show: Goon Girl
Type: Visual Art/Family
Description: A ginormous, girl-shaped goon bag will over three extraordinary days be rolled through the streets of Perth, on a pilgrimage from the CBD to the coast. Here, the majesty and ceremony of the passage will find nauseating end and brutal subversion – her fluids drained into a small artificial lagoon encircled by a moat of spew. Hidden speakers blare out low quality banter and sounds of bad sex in a dizzying 3D sound experience. The shrivelled, shiny husk of goon girl is erected as a reminder of the costs of using alcohol to fuel a long journey, and the risks of dehydration.
Show: Życie, Wciąż (Life, Still)
Description: Across a jagged, mobile floor depicting Poland’s shifting frontiers and re-fracturing territories over and between the wars, a lumpy-legged ciocia dances the triple-time mazurka, inching slowly western across the stage. With each renegotiation of land, one of fifty stocking layers is removed, filled with grain from the mouth of an enormous animatronic Stalin head, and taken up as an ornamental girdle of one of fifty corresponding masked dancers.
Show: Sex Attic
Company: Faithful Come
Description: A progressive sectarian Catholic troupe flips the ‘sex dungeon’ site and concept on its head, translating the historically sordid practice into a sacred ritual, whereby pleasure is pure, and through which one can attain a closer relationship with God. Clothed in full body white lycra – with only their junk visible – performers leap and crash into each other on a majestic flesh-coloured bouncy castle, while joyous, Drake-arranged Gregorian hymns swell their ecstasy, sung live by legendary Catholic hunk Bruce Springsteen. With every bounce, a rubber baby resembling Springsteen erupts from one of the castle’s chimneys.
Compiled by Kate Prendergast