Young guests at the on-going 14th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) have been soaking up every opportunity to be able to click themselves and shake hands with the festival’s newest feature – walking androids.
“I guess it’s the sense of intrigue that we have been able to create with our looks and movements that’s getting everyone curious,” says British circus performer Jason Maverick, who’s been strutting his all-blue humanoid costume at the 12-day festival as part of a never-seen-before act that’s complete with associated mechanised movements of hands and faces.
“It’s certainly never been done by anyone here in the Middle East although we have performed this a few times back home. So that’s a first for anybody here,” adds Maverick, who is in Sharjah for the first time along with his partner Laura Davis, also a circus performer and a trained dancer.
“I have been blown over by the experience so far. The people, their hospitality and the vibes of this festival,” says Davis, who arrived at the SCRF after a three-month stint in the Far East. “I perform at all kinds of events but to be able to do something different at an event involving children, for the children, is amazing,” adds.
For Maverick, their actions are popular because they transcend all barriers. “Another reason why everyone connects with us everywhere we go is because we do not speak. Our actions speak for us and everybody understands our language,” says the man from Brighton and Hove who started out as a mime artist ‘decades ago’. But talking about age, Maverick quips: “Androids don’t age. They are timeless.”
The two have been roaming the exhibition areas of the festival – being held at the Sharjah Expo Centre until May 14 – meeting and greeting every curious onlooker, and even posing for photos with them.