Fest pest's unofficial awards

Fest pest's unofficial awards

1 Loveliest leading man award

While Ms FP had a fabulous time feasting her eyes on the festival's visual effects, we must admit that eye candy comes in many shapes and forms. The best types of shows, of course, are those that also boast luscious leading men.

It's a three-way tie between the gorgeously precise Mansai Nomura (Sambaso), the lithe and limber Sabin Tambrea (Peter Pan), and the swooningly macho Hae Soo Park (The Chorus; Oedipus). All of them practically had us eating out of their hands as they sang, pranced and, ahem, flexed their performing chops. Now, if only they would all accept the award from me in person...

2 Magnetic leading lady award

Why to me, of course! But Ms FP acknowledges she was outdone in the charisma sweepstakes by Kate Valk (Cry, Trojans!) and Julia Hausermann (Disabled Theater). The slim, sinewy Valk - who has been with influential New York performance company The Wooster Group since its founding in the mid-1970s - gave the "heroine" Cressida a sexual rapaciousness and moral ambiguity, traits which send a thrill down Ms FP's little spine. Hausermann was all bodacious attitude with her pelvic thrusts a la Michael Jackson.

3 The "garang" audience member award

I would never go camping - glamping is much more my style.

And so this award would have to go to the shockingly dedicated couple who stayed overnight - complete with futon, blanket and pillows - at performance artist Nikhil Chopra's 50-hour Give Me Your Blood And I Will Give You Freedom.

I'll give you some of my time, but never all of it, and certainly not my beauty sleep. My gift to this couple is my eternal admiration. Ms FP isn't easily impressed, so treasure this award before I take it away from you.

4 Most anxiety-inducing show award

It is not often that a show leaves me all fretful, but Iranian playwright Amir Reza Koohestani and the Mehr Theater Group managed to frazzle my feelers with Amid The Clouds.

When the lights came on, Ms FP saw the actors fully submerged in clear tanks of water. Just watching them made me hold my breath too, and when they finally burst through the surface of the water, I let out a huge sigh of relief.

Mid-way through the show, leading man Hassan Madjooni had me all abuzz again when he lathered up and shakily took a straight razor to his barely there beard. Sitting in the front row, Ms FP could hear every scrape and snick as the blade ran over his skin. My poor nerves cannot take much more!

5 Most awkward bouquet reception award

I looooove flowers. They nourish my proboscis - I know, I know, it's an odd protuberance, but it's how I get my nectar fix. Some performers didn't seem to like flowers all that much, though, or were horrified by them, as if this post-show bouquet- dispersing procession were some sort of awful appendage to an otherwise brilliant production.

This seemed to be the case when the fanatically disciplined Wooster Group were taking their curtain call for Cry, Trojans! While they were loping off the stage, lithely and blithely, festival director Ong Keng Sen loped onto the stage with armfuls of fresh blooms, air kissing all the Trojan warriors present, who looked like they would much rather sink into the floor instead. Next time, just give me a buzz and I'll collect all your bouquets for you, free of charge. I'll even air kiss Keng Sen 20 times. That's how much I love flowers.


This article was first published on Sept 23, 2014.
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