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Old 03-05-10, 06:46 PM   #1
martin ewen
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Default My Friend, The Dung-Beetle.

I first met my friend the Dung-beetle in Edmonton Canada, at the annual Edmonton International Street Performance Festival.
I could go on at length about Shelley, it's director and the ear to the ground casting that see's ten days of set piece and roving and amalgams of each, pepper a huge downtown outdoor plaza artfully and I could also go on about it's creator Dick Finkle and the culture he created wherein lonely performance eccentrics were showered with respect and coddled in a language they understood and luxury they were not used to, [although everyone pretended it was normal] wherein they were flown, put up at the Sheraton and scheduled in front of active curious Canadians, to ply their studied performance affectations for donations.

Because I'm all about the Dung-beetle, those other things can wait.

Sometimes, very rare, you find someone who's applied whimsy is a form of magic.

The dung-beetle was a character who existed for 10 days, he dressed as a bug. He had antena and looked like a featherweight bumblebee. For ten days he pushed his ball, a 5 foot ball covered in layers of post-it notes. The notes read, 'rent due' 'my husband doesn't love me, 'My milk went off' "I'm socially awkward'.

He would have post-it note pads, stuck to the front of his costume and for ten days introduce himself.
"Hi, I'm a dung beetle, I collect [sotto] shit."
"Here's a pen, heres a post-it, write down the shit in your life and I'll add it to my ball."

So it went for ten days, the ball got bigger and bigger, cumulative 'shit'
That was the Dung-beetles role..
It was an all weather role, if it rained and most of the other performers deferred the Dung-beetle would be one of the few pushing his ball and stopping people wearing raincoats to explain himself.
It rained a little more, mud pools formed, the Dung-beetle was in his element.

"I'm a dung-beetle!", he would exclaim before belly-flopping muddily. through puddles triumphantly.
He had found a unique place in the performance eco-system.
resilient, reflective, whimsical and deep, he existed to collect shit and celebrate that.
Truly a mastermind.

We talked, the next year he took my idea of pedestrian crossing theatre as we had first practiced it in NZ and had created, 'Moses, the crossing guard'.
But that's another story.
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