Monday’s blog, Day 12, was written before the day was finito.
Knowing I was intending on leaving before dawn yesterday morning (day 13), I packed up as much as I could before my friend Tom and I went off to Cambridge (not too far away) to meet our other friend, Dan. More hellos, hugs and good chatter (and amazing GF tomato/basil pasta), another goodbye (or, rather, “see you on the return”) and back to the goats (but they were asleep).
I just reviewed my previous posts and realized I was very mixed up in my day numbers. They’ve been adjusted and all is correct now. I’m losing track of the time! And… where I am now? 🙂
Yesterday, day eleven was a special day as I was booked for a Buffoonery Workshop in Hamilton. Five awesome women showed up (the perfect bouffon gang size) and we went on a wacky, profound journey. My friend Tom stayed for the duration. Between laughing and shaking his head in wonder, he filmed and photographed some special moments.
I’m being silly. But, isn’t that what this is about? Sometimes, anyway. Actually, as most of you know, a road trip provides much time for thinking, contemplation (same thing), assessing, life evaluation, goals, dreams, and where the next gas up and pee stop is, and should I get bad coffee or hang in for a designer coffee.
It’s Fringe time in Vancouver! Lucky moi am seeing a few shows and writing about a few. NOT critiquing per se, just creating conversation! The below post will also be found on Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance shortly.
#VanFringe: “You Killed Hamlet”
CRASSTASTIC! After watching You Killed Hamlet for my second time (first at Edmonton Fringe), I leaned over and asked the laughing couple sitting beside me which word would express what they just witnessed. She said, “crasstastic” and he, “original”. “May I quote you?” I asked. “YES!”
“You Killed Hamlet” by the Naked Empire Bouffon Company from San Francisco boldly, blatantly, boisterously (all the b’s to honour the B in Bouffon) mirror our cracked attitudes toward death, dying and aging. It is not for the faint of heart.
I have a newsletter. It’s been neglected lately, but I’m excited to be back on track. And, probably contrary to most business suggestions, I do not publish to the grand public because I figure, if you are subscribed, you are there for the special juicy bits that only YOU get to see!
Maybe later on down the road I might share “old” newsletters to the general public. As of yet, that has not happened.
That being said… if you would like to join, I’d be happy if you came on board for our secret “Buffoon Culture” club.
Here’s a wee taste what was in the second last newsletter!
Creativity tips… (original from yours truly!)
1. On a warm day, check your favourite view from your home, and re-check the window. Probably needs a scrub! Get out there and make your view sparkle. Renew the view!
2. Have you got any hidden hobbies that you have let slip lately? These days we spend so much time on the computer that we forget that we used to draw, paint, sew, or whatever it is you “used to” do. Take an hour or so, schedule it in, and do something…. and tell me about it!
You will also get to read an interview each month with a real life bouffon! (their human reveals all)
On April 1st, 2011 downtown Vancouver, a big black limo stopped outside the Vancouver Library. Out came some very mysterious characters called bouffons. They roamed curiously, and discovered the area, and the humans present.
They were quiet for awhile, and then..
…they danced. And, then they invited the humans to dance, too.
On that drizzly day in Vancouver there was a big bright spot of colour, and some very big grins. My goal as the leader of this wacky project was to bring unexpected, un-distracted joy to anyone near. Life can be challenging and sometimes we just need to let go, be our bouffons, and dance.
The result ended up on a wonderful video by Michael Julian Berz, and many more grins were made because of it. For that I’m grateful.
One of the video viewers wrote this poem. Actor, Energy Practioner, (and bouffon), Tom Tassé permitted me to share it with you.
To the Buffoonery Queen of Hearts – Princes and Princesses
Genius of heart
enlighten the world
with waves of laughter
your souls speak with
the tickle horn hidden
In your back pocket
engaging, releasing precious
hearts of the unsuspected
the wand of magic from each of
yours eyes, blessed thieves
of darkness stolen
tonight we sleep with
Thank you, Tom…. my objective is met. If you haven’t enjoyed the video yet….. have a peek and dare to NOT smile!
Obviously, we still need our head but lately, the body seems to be a neglected tool in the practice of acting as was made evident during the workshop. Actor after actor was ordered by Larry Moss to commit more to the script and physicalize their process.
“Stamp your feet, and say your lines, stamp harder!”
“Do push-ups, feel your feet on the floor, ground your breath, pretend you’re a dog (isn’t your character dog-like?).
“Deliver your lines like a hyena.” “Sing your text!”
“Show me five ways you could sit in that chair.”
It was exciting and rewarding when actors dared to respond and venture into unfamiliar territory and frustrating if they resisted. You could see bodies awaken as they risked leaving their comfort zone (I call it the “safe zone”) and into brave action. Stories, scripts came to life.
“It’s not about you! It’s about the story.” A simple gesture can illustrate an important story point. “It’s hot, really hot. Wipe your neck. Hike up your dress. Do something!” When the actor released her control and dove into the temperature of the play, more surprising moments naturally followed.
Larry Moss certainly affirmed the importance of connecting to the physical. “Watch Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, Dustin Hoffman without sound and watch how they tell a story through the physical.” “Find the physical that tells the story that the verbal doesn’t.”
My goal when I teach my buffoonery acting workshops is to get the actor way out of their physical comfort zone and get them to know themselves. My Porsche analogy explains it well. Let’s say you drive a Porsche but you drive it only downtown. You know it can go really fast but you don’t really know what it feels like. One day you go to the desert where it is safe and you put “pedal to the metal”. You sit up straight, hold onto the wheel like never before and you grasp the power of your car. You return to the city and continue to drive your Porsche, but now, you are different. You are at one with your machine. You have an alternate, connected energy about you.
This is exactly what happens once you find your bouffon. You go to an extreme in play, and in text, and then return to your normal self, and “normal” acting. The great by-product of this process is discovering unexpected sub-text in the monologue/scene exercises, leaving the actor with a terrific audition or rehearsal tool.
Chapter ten in Larry Moss’s book “The Intent to Live” goes into more depth on the subject of the physical life. He gives us specific examples of the story taken to another level because of an actor’s physical choice. “When your body’s lost, look for a choice…this is your talent.”
Once again I thank Larry Moss for getting things moving, and re-confirming the work I do with actors. When I excitedly chatted with him about his work and my relationship to it via “Le Bouffon” his eyes lit up and he said, “Bless you for doing this work.”