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Old 05-01-10, 08:03 PM   #1
firemermaid
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Default Coat rack mime

So the act in which a clown dances with wis arms through a coat on a rack... you know the one right? There is a hat too, and it looks like he is got a person with him. I've seen it done a few different times and when done well it can be quite moving. I was just wondering if the act has a name, if someone is know for developing it, and anything else about this beautiful and creative act. Thanks!
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Old 05-02-10, 12:04 AM   #2
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I think it's a classic - didn't Chaplin do something like this? - that's as old as vaudeville, possibly as old as coat racks. Slava Polunin does a very nice version in Slava's Snowshow, and that act is also in Cirque du Soleil's Alegria.
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Old 05-03-10, 03:42 PM   #3
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So when you re-do a classic that is ok right? I will give the act the love and respect it deserves. Chaplin and -Cirque Du Sole are two things I love!! I gotta check out Slava's Snowshow...
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Old 05-03-10, 05:06 PM   #4
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If you re-do it and make it your own, yes Read "How To Steal Material Without Getting Caught" which I think is in the library here and is a great tutorial on re-thinking routines that inspire you.
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Old 05-04-10, 09:25 PM   #5
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Default It's yours for the taking.

Frazer Hooper does a cute version where its a 4 ft child inside the coat.
It's a standard but it's constantly being reinterpreted.
it is a 100 year old clown classic, any new variation is welcome.
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Old 05-10-10, 05:20 PM   #6
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I heard Gazzo came up with it, but I'd bet he stole it from Robert.

(Frazer's version is extra good)
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Old 05-10-10, 06:55 PM   #7
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The person best qualified to know would be Pat Cashen who heads the International Clown historical society.
Google him, [it may be 'an' or 'in' for his name.]
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Old 05-17-10, 01:31 AM   #8
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Kenny Raskin (former Ringling, Cirque du Soleil & Broadway clown) did a wonderful version of this that I saw in 1996 with a crutch instead of a hanger. Jason McPherson, BRILLIANT clown that I know from the cruises and was in the Neil Goldberg's Cirque does a great version with a coat hanger.

I saw the collection of vignettes Auraliea's Oratorio by Thieree Chaplin at the ART theatre in Cambridge last year (Brilliant, if you have never seen physical theatre or a puppet show before-- and one of the most boring, emotionless collection of rip-offs if you have. The critics loved it, and so did the audience. Face-palm, say no more) and some dancer did the most sterile and uninteresting version of this routine. I was actually offended by how BADLY he did it. The whole 70 minute show was a collection of physical theatre, puppetry, and illusion magic from the past 200 years so I didn't expect to be wowed by innovation but when the tickets where $70 (and I brought a date and dinner was $125 and parking was $20) you better sell that mother effing coat hanger routine!

----

So you can see I'm a little annoyed at the last one...


If you want to do this GIMMICK... then go for it. Make it your own, transform it and use it to touch people and inspire them. That's what the good one's do.

If you just try to take someone else's stuff and do it it will work the first few times. But then you'll get bored with it because it's not your own. And the more you do it the more bored you'll get and then the worse the routine becomes.

But when a routine is yours-- not necessarily the gimmick, but the routine-- you never get bored with it. You find new nuances and keep going and keep reinventing.

Maybe I'm just getting old. I'm starting to have "perspective."


etienne
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Old 06-20-10, 05:50 PM   #9
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Default the aforementioned...

So I am the aforementioned Kenny Raskin, new to this forum. I read with great interest these posts, and the topic is indeed a slippery slope. I'll give you a little background.

I created my piece (a version, filmed for Danish television, can be viewed on youtube) in 1981. Like any normal performer, I began putting it out there when I was gigging, but also at clown and mime festivals throughout the United States. So the great thing is, if it's a good piece, people notice you. You get some good press and you build your reputation in the business. You might even get hired by Cirque du Soleil, which is what happened to me. The bad thing is, people begin to copy you, and when you are new in your profession, sometimes your authorship gets called into question. That is hurtful...

It's been a long time, and most people that came up in the clown world with me know the true story. I may not have been the first person to do a routine like this, but I didn't see someone do one and then go out and create my own... My focus these days is more on teaching the craft, so my livelihood is not at issue here. But for those who I know saw my work and used it to create their own version -- Tina Lenert, Sasha, Gayle LaJoye, Peter Shub, Jason McPherson -- you are welcome...
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Old 06-20-10, 11:28 PM   #10
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So kenny, having done this piece for the length of time you have you would be qualified to know probably what it's origins are. Surely it predates 1981? Or not?
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Old 06-21-10, 07:39 PM   #11
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Not sure. I don't think the idea of splitting one's body is a new one. Surely it was done in vaudeville... I stumbled into it while attending a summer clown workshop in Maine, just by playing around with my coat hat and crutch that I brought with me. At the time I was just acting like I was dancing with it, but not with my arm through the sleeve. At this workshop, we would break up into small groups and help each other with the ideas we were creating, and through that, the image came to life and I began to build a piece around it. At first the piece was about twelve minutes long, but then I began to cut out the fat. When I got an offer to do it on BBC TV, they wanted only five minutes, so I trimmed it down to what it is
presently.
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Old 06-21-10, 07:44 PM   #12
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Thanks for that. This whole bit's got me curious. I'll get whatever historical vaudeville background I can off Pat Cashin and come back and share.
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Old 06-21-10, 08:05 PM   #13
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Give Pat my regards...
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