Monday, 8 April 2013

Strange Encounters at the Smart ARTS Launch Party

Thus far we have told you about some of the fun and fascinating aspects of the Smart ARTS Launch Party, but what we have yet to discuss is the freaky!

Wearing skeleton tights and a sinister expression is the Ringmaster, waving around a stick as she summons the crowd to take a look inside the Umbrella Theatre tent with her lyrical French accent. Slightly undead and slightly gypsy, the Ringmaster arouses curiosity, and the circular red tent becomes a beckoning place of intrigue.

Lining up to enter is suspenseful as noises from inside only escape as high pitched hums. As the group before us slowly exited, some with expressions of bemusement and others smiling, the Ringmaster opened the tent with her stick, airing out what she claimed to be "The smell of death."

One by one a group of nine of us were ushered into the tent, shoulder to shoulder, full of nerves and excitement. Quiet.

A spotlight reveals a small puppet of a man that has a potato-looking head and is tied up with ropes. We hear about his predicament. It seems to be a bit of an anti-smoking campaign full of first-time parent angst. Despite being a puppet show, the themes were mature, funny at times and just a little bit raunchy. The puppet spoke to us directly, picking out people to converse with during the monologue. At the end, as the puppet's doom is in question, all nine of us panicked and did not save the poor guy. We can't say that we are entirely sure if it would have been possible to save him either!

Also at the Launch Party was a roving performer in a disguising mask carrying around what looked like a skinned monkey doll. The performer enters your conversation, not with words, but by handing the doll to you. Then he watches you hold it, staring at you with an intense gaze through holes in the mask.

After feeling uneasy about the whole situation and wondering what your reaction is supposed to be, handing it back seems like the best option. Once back in his arms, he takes a hand covered in the same coating covering the doll, and strokes your face - taking this experience to a whole new weird place...

These unique experiences were anything but ordinary! Despite feeling all kinds of strange, they made the night that bit more memorable!

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