Sunday, April 21, 2013

3 of 40 Sunday April 21 - 2013. Dublin. Had great day meeting with olde acquaintance and friend Dave Spathaky. Just recieved fakebook msg from long lost childhood friend. I am sure he could have a long list of my (and his) youthful clown antics. For sure, by the time I was five, I was known as a clown.
I was asked today if there is any relation between my "Core Mechanics" and "Biomechanics" of Meyerhold. Certainly with certainty. When I was at Dell'arte - a startup school - at that time - I discovered the joy of used bookstores. I began to pour through a large variety of books on theatre, yoga, metaphysics, health, philosophy, psychology, and occasional novels such as those of Herman Hesse.
I read the ... hold on.... fakebook msg from Dave...
So I read Meyerhold On Theatre by Edward Braun. I whisked through it. But I was inspired by that (and many influences in my life and private study) and thought I can't study Biomechanics as I was studying at Dell'arte and also at that time the Soviet empire was still at its prime and Biomechanics had not left the Soviet realms. So, I had already started to analysise the mechanics of movement my own way each morning before school. I was in the studio on my own from 7am to 9am. I was piecing together the basic mechanics of human movement techniques. The most simple analysis such as: should the knee/leg be straight or bent for a particular action such as a dive roll; should the elbow be straight or bent for a front handspring. I went to the HSU library and found three obscure books on 'acrobatics'. They had not been borrowed in at least a decade. One was likely from the 1920s on handstands, one was a book on tumbling and had hundreds of stick-figure drawings, and the third was newer and was on gymnastics. So with those books I begin a moderate yet earnest study and training on my own. After six months Carlo asked me to be the physical trainer for the professional summer repetory theatre of two groups of actors with each group rehearsing 2 plays. I also looked at one of the photos in the Braun book of one actor standing on the thigh of another. I had a different view of that and also analysised their posture by using The Alexander Technique information that our teacher Joan Schirle taught. So I found a way of doing the same trick less as a performance aesthetic and more mechanically neutral. As per Alexander's principles, 'better use', 'no effort' and less muscular engagement. Eventually I made the complete ten most basic core movements into a clear logical progressive series choreographed using hundreds of counts and dozens of details.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2 of 40. Saturday April 20 2013. Belfast to Dublin. Last day this trip training Ponydance. I love working with them. This week we missed Duane and Carl. With us were the Director/Choreographer Leonie McDonagh and her team of Paula, Jenny, Oona, Sara, Neil, Ryan. All great folks!! Here is Oona's own site Leonie and I met at my first workshop in Belfast arranged by Maryke del Castillo of The Tutti Fruiti. I had mentored Maryke for several years and when she relocated to Belfast she felt it would be good for the folks there to experience my methods. We did a 9-day workshop for a number of the main circus performers then in Belfast. Leonie and Ken have a young son and then he was only a tiny tot. So Leonie could only come in the very last part of the last session. Will of BCC met with me and invited me to come back for a month. I taught daily with a breakdown of a few subjects over the four weeks Irabatics, Clown, Choreography. That was 2008. Again most of the circus community attended. Some sporadically as they had teaching and gigs. Amongst those who attended were Hugh, Anita, Kelsey, Flora, Hillas, The Migilligans (a then trio now duet - amongst my favorite clowns in the world - albeit highly skilled and well choreographed juggling clowns), Ken and Tiny of Tumble Circus, Leonie and several others. One the final day Leonie asked me if I would come back and work just with her dancers. I returned to work 3-weeks with Ponydance. In that week I created a new exercise for them that is now a part of my regular The Four Articulations. That is the "Ponydance Circle". The Belfast mob incl the circus folks are wonderfully talented, skilled, disciplined and CERTAINLY have a genuine sense of humor!!!! FINE clowns!!!!

Reflection on possibly case of Clown Myopia - how astray is much clown 'teaching'? Astray in the sense of denial, in the way of Machiavellian 'divide and conquor'. By seperating 'clown' from other performing arts there seems to be an obvious schism in how a clown could benefit EMMENSELY from actual professional practices such as daily training in movement, dance, acrobatics, mime, voice, singing, acting. For example, musicals, many many many have so many of the greatest clown roles and certainly in most cases the most talented 'clowns' are in those musicals and playing such comic roles. Yet how many clowns, clowns students, clown teachers EVER go to see a musical? 2 days ago I was given a ticket to see Spelling Bee (i.e. The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee). It IS a GREAT clown show!!!!!!!!!! Full stop. This particular production is generally a (nearly) completely Irish team. Brilliant on every level. The show itself originates from Broadway, NYC. ... gotta run. Write to me if you like bye for the mo' Ira

Friday, April 19, 2013

This morning I saw a cloud that was to me like a clown's face. I will attempt over the next 40 days to write a daily blog. Short or long. This celebrates the omen I saw in the cloud or the cloud that I chose to read as if it was an omen. Yesterday my colleague Caspar Schjelbred encouraged me (again) to write my book of clown. I saw a fabulous 'clown' show last night. So I am celebrating clown, the 'omen', the push by a colleague, the show.
At the moment, I am on the last week of my annual teaching/directing/performing tour in Europa. Since 2006 I have come about twice a year to Europa (including UK).
I am presently, this week, teaching one of the companies that I mentor. This one is in Ireland, Ponydance. They are their own form of 'clown troupe'. They will perform soon in The American Dance Festival.
I am also preparing for several projects. One is directing Antony & Cleopatra in Sydney with a performing season June 4-15. During that season I will be performing in Slava's Snow Show for its Sydney season June 11-16.
more anon