Monday, June 27, 2011

What street theatre is essentially to me and why it's profound.

Look at this. Take the time and look at this or these, one will do, two is better. This whole post, if street theatre interests you, is worth the time to do properly.

NYC - Mindrelic Timelapse from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

Mindrelic - Manhattan in motion from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

Now this is New York. A tough city to perform in but it's possible. I wouldn't like to have to survive it long. It's immune system is one of the toughest. Street theatre is a hack and as such it needs rough surfaces to adhere to in terms of public spaces where eddies of public can be formed but New York is sandblasted smooth by the sheer pace of the place.

Looking at these films allows you to see the immensity of the inter-connective systems that dwarf the individual taking part in them.

While we all take trains and busses and do the things we do this huge, almost inconceivably complex system exists as a common cumulative invention that exists to facilitate itself and you could be forgiven in thinking that in a way it's using us as fuel as much as we'd like to think we are using it. When I say 'it' I mean that collective hive we have evolved to sustain us.

Because look here, I say "do the things we do", what is that? Choices are made within certain perimeters by each of us at some formative stage as we decide what it is we are going to be. Education, connections, aspirations, overheads and a multitude of factors are calculated at one point or other in our lives as we decide what role we are going to take in this machine that surrounds us.

And this is just one city. London, Tokyo, Sydney, Paris, the list is long.

Street theatre is it's own tiny system built on some primitive primate level that if done with skill can subvert the larger system and exist temporarily and successfully within these large and complex social machines and unlike any other occupation I can think of it is profoundly a celebration of almost and in some cases literally absurd individualism in the face of the otherwise overwhelming weight to conform to what these complex systems demand of us all in order to achieve our needs.

What other occupation sets as it's ambition to singlehandedly conquer the world?

To travel to NY, to Tokyo, to Paris, to any major city and collect a crowd and do that thing where you tap into what is universally comic and receive in gratitude the means to continue your global conquest.

It is a high risk game but the rewards are nothing smaller than your continued existence on your own terms in a world otherwise riddled with conformity, compromise and subservience.

I cannot think of a more self contained concept and I consider myself very privileged to have stumbled onto it at just that stage in my life where the questions had to be asked and the decisions had to be made. My very early twenties when I decided that yes I was going to, out of all the roles available, be a clown and , yes, I was going to specialise in Street theatre.

28 years pass..... I've changed, the world has changed and yet my makeup and costume sit beside my bed and I still fly off to look down on people as an 11 foot disgruntled pantomime because that is essentially the most powerful tool I've created to deal with the world.

I look at this film of New York as a humming hive of intimidating scale and recall outside the museum of modern art, just as Tokyo, Barcelona, Paris, and probably around a hundred others and marvel that a single person with imagination can interrupt these massive systems and exploit laughter.

I am a member of a select tribe and we are older than most modern civilizations and while one perspective could see our impending extinction we are nothing if not adaptive.

Perhaps the internet is the newest and largest boulevard to play on?

Those people rushing down footpaths looking at shop windows as they move from A to B

That's all you're doing reading this.

Unlike street theatre there's no beginning middle and end on the internet. But that's a topic for later.

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