Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mime at SomerVaudeVille

Shelly MacAskill posted this video of my performance of "The Marmalope" at SomerVaudeVille to YouTube, with master of ceremonies, Rob Noyes giving introductions:

It's sometimes hard to translate the three-dimensional experience of a live performance into the two-dimensional experience of video, but it worked well. "The Marmalope" has been part of my repertoire for years but the experience of rehearsing the piece for SomerVaudeville over a couple of months allowed me to further refine it from its most basic idea. "The Marmalope" received its name sometime in the early months of 2005, when Jonathan Samson, while playing Il Dottore at the Svengali Cabaret was asked to identify my species, where upon he said "that is a marmalope." By the following week, an audience member had identified the creature played by my right hand as "a baby marmalope." My right hand has grown up since then.

One thing that made this performance special, is that I realized I had acheived a certain level of mastery in that in at a particular moment, the audience's sympathies were not projected on me personally, or on a character I was playing, but on a character played by my right hand even as the rest of my body was playing a character not particularly deserving of sympathy. No amount of technique can create that.

Ironically, the night following the performance in which I had achieved this small degree of mastery, I was in rehearsals for Chhandika's annual student concert and I was again a novice, albeit a sleep deprived novice. Though the similarities to mime are what attracted me to kathak, kathak is not mime.

Rif, a pianist with a very impressive display of facial hair, was kind enough to take these photographs of the "The Marmalope" from a somewhat different vantage point than that shown in the video.

As a bonus, Kitty Fox of Can Can Revolution and I staged a very brief skit to accompany Uncle Shoe's rendition of "Mistah Moonshine", a hit from 1912 by Charles S. Burnham and Adam Breede:

The moon was Shoe's idea-- I drew my inspiration from Jean-Louis Barrault's Jean-Gaspard "Baptiste" Deburau in Les Enfants du Paradis.

There are also photos of me hanging out backstage with the lovely Can Can Revolutionaries.

After the show, outside Johnny D's, my make-up not quite off yet:

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