The Tent Of Miracles Presents: Studio 69 – Splendour In The Arts 2011

[Splendour In The Arts 2011] The Tent Of Miracles Presents: Studio 69

As any regular Splendour-goer knows, The Tent Of Miracles is the festival’s annual home for sideshow silliness and freakshow fun – presided over since 2004 by Andy Forbes. As a director, performance and installation artist, video maker and musician, Forbes has been creating performance installations for festivals like Woodford and Adelaide Fringe since the early ‘90s, including his cult-hit clown show Wacko & Blotto.

This year, Forbes is giving audiences the chance to don a nude bodysuit, get down and dirty on a giant revolving bed, and make their own iPorn with a mock crew – courtesy of Studio 69. “Each year we look for something the audience will enjoy and laugh with,” he tells me. “Pornography is such a hilarious thing that is so saturated throughout the community. It will be funny to parody it and make it public.”

Forbes is no stranger to lewd humour, with a body of work in which boundaries are pushed and satire is used to parody popular culture. Last year’s TOM show, Fraudeville, was termed as a “diabolical degustation” and featured cross-dressing midgets, Muslims dancing the ‘Bus Stop’, contortionists, sadomasochistic altar boys, jump-roping devil girls, and Hitler singing Adel Vice. In 2008 Forbes and his frequent collaborator John Lord presented a carnival of militant religious freaks dubbed The Church of Two Hands and a Chicken, performing a host of rituals including exorcisms, faith healings, Mexican wrestling, contortionists, whippings and confessions….

Whatever Forbes is doing, audiences can’t seem to get enough – and the feeling is mutual. He describes the Splendour crowd as open, fun, and up for anything – with about one percent of people finding the shows inappropriate or disturbing.

“Once we had one of the characters talking about pornography and a woman in the audience thought it was disgusting, so she ran onto stage with mud she picked up off the ground, and tried to push it down his mouth,” he says, laughing. “Our work is love or hate, but at least people don’t walk by without noticing it. We definitely get a reaction – although, it’s getting harder to shock people. The more cheeky, abusive and outrageous I am, the more people like it.”

Forbes will also shoot a Studio 69 making-of documentary that will go on YouTube – which means for those too tame to be a part of the frivolities, there’s still the chance to be voyeurs from the comfort of the living room.

Published in The Brag in print and online on July 4, 2011


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