(Wonky title, eh what? Refer to 9/24/10 for context.)
I'm revisiting my first aerial silks piece because this weekend Wife Megan and I will be participating in Streb's Valentine's Day benefit, 2Good 2B Bad. The above is the video I had to submit to get into the Halloween show, the below is the final product. For the next show, I'm raising the stakes a little bit by trying for a more serious piece. Humor's great, but it makes excuses for lack of form, too.
Not that it was the only reason I had for this piece, and choosing to make it clown-like. I thought of the choice more as playing to my strengths, and it rather does. Although I must admit that maintaining a sense of your audience's response from thirty feet up (and upside down) is something of a skill that requires experience. Nevertheless, I ended up feeling pretty good about this product. It wasn't as frenetic - or flashy really - as the initial draft, but it couldn't be - one of the trickiest bits of circus is pulling it off with control, making it look easy such that it puts the audience's mind at ease. That is, until you want to startle or amaze them.
It's interesting to me that I'm not aiming to startle or amaze my audiences with the act I've devised for this weekend. Maybe it's just all the effort I've put into making it more formal, less frenetic, but I'm content to let it be what it is. What it is, is, I hope, a more lyrical piece that hints at a character's story rather than basing it in his immediate struggle for a concrete goal. This too is a departure for me. Even in the circus-theatre shows I've developed and performed in, I've always been the one pushing for an accessible story, something that meets the audience halfway in their task of interpreting the presentation.
I suppose it's my study of silks these past couple of years that has changed my perspective on this somewhat, and made me see the personal possibilities in creating a performance for which the audience fills in their own meaning(s). Audiences do this to some degree anyway, but often with plays and the like it's not as invited as in more "abstract" mediums such as music or dance. These usually don't make a lot of effort to spell out plot details, much less provide them in a chronological or otherwise linear-structured format, even when they are based on a story of some kind.
I'm not exactly comfortable with that. Just like I'm not exactly comfortable with trying to perform a piece that's purely skill-based physical without aiming for laughs. Undertaking this personal challenge is probably a most telling moment about me, and the fact that I am in at least some small part just a frustrated dancer. So I have no training in that field, I get apocalyptically frustrated with dance choreography, and I can't point my toes worth a damn, but . . . here we go, any dang way.