If someone were to ask you ‘what is Stukafest really about?’, you would find it very hard to come up with a well-thought, coherent description. Stukafest has music, dramatic play-acting and showcases of pure talent, but the way it’s all packaged and presented to you is truly unique. Part of the reason is that Stukafest doesn’t have a single stage – in one night you will have three rounds in three different student rooms scattered around Rotterdam.
Part of the thrill from Stukafest comes from randomly walking into someone’s room and having no clue as to what you are about to see. Everyone attending looks equally confused as you are while you are anxiously waiting for the show to commence.
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‘Drug deal gone wrong’
The night started with a showcase of queer poetry and spoken word. Inside the night’s coziest ‘venue’, three different queer writers stood in front of a microphone and evocatively strung words together with great effect. The themes surrounding the poetry ranged between their thoughts on queerness and coming out, as well as the social burden that comes tied with it.
The act was followed with ‘Wilde Theater’, a feisty and fully improvised play from the Erasmus University theater association. In it, four actors had to skillfully come up with a spontaneous plot fueled by words that the crowd would simply spurt out. They were also assisted throughout the play by randomly chosen support actors that would be picked from the audience. From one moment to the other, the actors had to suddenly improvise the casualness of a ‘public park drug deal gone wrong’ as well as sudden love-driven ‘Bitcoin investment in hopes to support one’s marriage in Jamaica’.
The final touch of the night was also the oddest. Upon walking into the stage of ‘The Pig’ by Maya Castellini and Alessandro Manfredi, you are greeted with a pig-masked man depressively laying inside a trash bin. All of a sudden, a maniacal circus-lady is orchestrating people from the crowd to grab trash bags and throw them in the bin where the ‘pig’ is. In a moment of sanity, the circus-lady sort of redeems herself and guides people to grab wet sponges and clean the ‘pig’ until he becomes a man. A true oddity where you are left with more questions than answers.
Without a doubt, Stukafest once again delivered in its thirteenth Rotterdam edition. Few events can make quirkiness seem as normal as Stukafest does.