Monday, August 3, 2009

Open Air Circus in the Boston Globe

The Boston Globe sent photographer Erik Jacobs to cover this past weekend's performances of the Open Air Circus, the Somerville, MA based youth circus where I have been teaching mime and commedia dell'arte for the last four-and-a-half years. Somehow, the The Globe chose to feature two photographs of me in the gallery:

Photo by Erik Jacobs for The Boston Globe click here for full size.

Jacobs caught me back in clown alley before the show, warming up while also making sure my commedia players were in costume and mask. As this year's theme at the circus was "Broadway musicals," we seized upon the standard plot of "let's put on a show" for the scenario. Circumstances allowed me to try my hand at playing Il Capitano for the first time which amounted to barging in about halfway through the skit, bullying my way into being the star of the show. My guitar chops were rusty, but by the final show of the weekend, I had developed a lazzo of singing the bloody Captain's lines from Macbeth to the tune of "La Bamba" as well as swinging the Capitano's sword around erratically and warning audience and fellow troupe members to be "careful of Capitano's sword, it is very dangerous." The kids did a good job of making up their own lazzi or creating their own variants based on my suggestions. I shall be experimenting more with this character in the future.

Photo by Erik Jacobs for The Boston Globe click here for full size.

Jacobs later caught another one of my personae during the intermission, palm spinning out in Nunziato field. This year's mime piece was based on "Seventy-Six Trombones" from Meredith Wilson's The Music Man so again the theme was "let's put on a show." The choreography mostly involved teaching the kids how to mime the musical instruments from the song along with whatever I could remember about marching from when I was in Safety Patrol in elementary school. I am not sure if the choreography we performed on stage was what I taught in rehearsals though!

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