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Old 10-25-11, 08:47 PM   #1
martin ewen
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Lurk She Smiled

I may labor the illumination metaphor however I do so because my one immutable nugget is this...
I want to bring light into the world.
Iíve seen it individually and in audiences, the light. Itís very strong but soft. My Clown is kindling and my structures and form are small puffs applied to the spark that is my ambition to create and amplify the light that is the momentary celebration of lifeís random goodness.

You have to do one thing well. You also need to identify and remember that one thing rather than presuming that anything will do.
Because audiences are your own kind and they resonate. They simply will not invest more than you do in your show. A common mistake is to see them as objects to be moved about with simple slights of mind, to lose sight of yourself as prey in the sense that any audience condescends it's attention.

You can do the smallest thing and if it means the world to you thatís enough.

There was a woman, a street performer who had synthesized her nugget down to the bone and it was, and is to me the perfect example of street theatre as profound poetry.

She was a minimalist pantomime of despair and joy. She did one thing well and her show was a setup for that one thing.
She would stand on a small black box with her name on it in white, she wore an Edwardian mens suit and had a top hat at her feet for donations, she wore whiteface.

She was not happy. She had a wonderful palette of unhappiness, each color individually crafted and immediately recognizable. Winsome and wistfully, regretfully, defiantly, sullenly, achingly, stoically, disappointingly, fearfully.
She would build an audience by looking down at the ground and forming a particular sadness before raising her gaze and directing it at one individual, sometimes scanning the crowd until she selected that person. She would focus on them until she had established some resonance then she would look down again. She remembered each sadness as it applied to each individual. After creating these relationships and creating also a rhythm of discovery for her audience who were mesmerized and delighted by each new nuance of unhappiness she would bring forth she would move onto the next level in which, like a juggler, she would keep all her unhappinesses in the air by shifting her gaze, with brilliant comic timing, from each audience member she had previously bequeathed some particular unhappy relationship.
It was sad and funny and beautiful and masterful and the setup.

Because the appreciation of her art would reach a point where unbidden one of her audience would respond to her and walk forward and drop money into the hat at her feet. As they broke from the crowd and approached she would amplify whichever sadness pertained to them until they had put whatever token into her hat, she would break her gaze, peek down at the hat then look up.

...And them.

They would walk away or back to the audience and she would follow them with her smile, her smile created light. It was as honed and genuine and pure as each of her unhappinesses. It was a form of love. It illuminated her audience, they smiled and laughed each time. Then it would fade and sadness would return. The particular sadness the audience member who had contributed a donation, that sadness would go to the bottom of the pile, the others would be refueled as they were kept in play and this small but profound game was this woman s career.

I feel privileged to have spent so much time prospecting the world for eccentric public interpretations of the human condition in which laughter is the goal, in which individuals or groups put themselves at risk to gift others with some collective joyful vantage and having made that risk been redeemed in laughter, gratitude and coin.

This one thing, the act of going from sadness to joy, is fiendishly difficult to do. I know because after coming across this act I tried myself as an exercise, repeatedly, in front of a mirror.

It is very easy to go down, to lower your mood. Lower moods are always there, always available, as genuine as any sadness you've ever felt for the purposes of reproduction. I found the reverse, and still find the reverse, one of lifeís great challenges. To truly morph from sadness to joy is a discipline and a gift.

It was her one thing she did exceedingly well and it bears repeating.
You can do the smallest thing and if it means the world to you thatís enough.

Last edited by martin ewen; 03-25-18 at 04:58 AM. Reason: none, look..over there...sparkley!
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Old 10-26-11, 02:18 PM   #2
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Yipes! Nice writing, but gee, I perform because I like to play music and I like to make people happy. I also like to get gigs that pay well, too. Maybe I'm too simple...
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Old 10-27-11, 12:11 AM   #3
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It made me happy to be an endlessly lingering member of this community,
reading that.

"This one thing, the act of going from sadness to joy, is fiendishly difficult to do."

Loved it. Thanks.
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Old 11-07-11, 12:52 AM   #4
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Beautiful job of breaking it down to the essentials. Thanks Martin.
Still with all original members!
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Old 12-08-15, 04:12 AM   #5
martin ewen
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I'm into poetry rather than pocketmoney. You're not simple you're simply looking at yourself which is normal while some people look at the form. But Gee, what's in it for you?
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