Sunday, November 6, 2011

Comic Telepathic Ventriloquism and it's implications.

It was a revelation to me to discover that a significant part of any performance takes place not on stage but in the heads of an audience. Self evident on reflection but startling nevertheless.

'Hoopal', one of the most innovative and intrinsically comic stage and street performers I've called friends came up with a show that used as props two hand held noise making toys, [one each].

They had smiley faces [the toys], a handle and two small noise making attachments on either side of the face that made an 'eee' 'eee' noise when you moved your wrist and rocked them to and fro.

They were brought out and used in a dialogue. The performers mouthed the words silently and the toys were used to denote each syllable of the words used.

Here is the dialogue.

“No You're Stu-pid”
“No You're Stu-pid”
“No you are”
“No you are”
“No you are”
“No you are”
“No you are, Mo-ther-fuck-er”

I saw this show a number of times because I was astonished and delighted by this new effect I had been made aware of.
The toys made a uniform sound, BUT YOU HEARD THE WORDS IN YOUR HEAD!

That was what was so funny. Given the stimulus of the words mimed you actually heard these little squeaky toys articulate a dialogue. They were simple happy squeaky things and the performers were being angry at each other and like most of what Hoopal did it was inspired and multileveled almost instinctive sub-texturally comic. But I returned again and again to make sure and yes, you actually heard the words in your head.

OK, stay with me,

One of many defined differences between a Liberal and a Radical is that Liberals think the basis of all politics is the individual whereas Radicals have as their political reality, groups. Power blocs striving to achieve collective gains.
For purposes of illustration consider, “Bankers” “Landowners” “Merchants” “The disenfranchised” etc. as groups Radicals would define as politically active or inactive primary objects in life’s chess-game of acquisition of quality of life whereas Liberals believe that education of the individual is primary, allowing the individual to make choices that allow for informed and mature progression of society. [ I know, I know, mindbendingly ostritchly headhidingly idealistic and naive in the face of the entire history of human society, a kind of tie-died thought experiment but there you go.]

Just in case you are drawn to conclude that I am suffering from age onset conservatism as my mind gets brittle let me reveal that I think Conservatism at it's bedrock is a social retardant, a reaction by the moneyed classes that were horrified and nauseated by the outcome of the French revolution and set out from that point to ensure that nothing as gauche as an uprising that disempowered them would ever happen again. Conservatives, when stripped of their befuddled magpie'd self serving principles are all embittered cartoon Mary Antionettes being led up the guillotine steps.

So to conclude this one particular thought my barely controlled, overpowered and dangerously overclocked cement mixer of a brain is trying to articulate.

That statistically rare group of performers, who create their own material designed to create laughter in their audiences may believe they are Liberals, individuals favored with the opportunity to express their little thought experiments in real time. To a degree this is so.
However there might be some, myself included, that see ourselves as Radicals, people who serve groups primarily so we can be part of them in our own, quite responsible ways and that the power via the tools we apply, [in the service of laughter] are quite secondary in the power our audiences have to use us to create for themselves the best of worlds. Without us, the laughter wouldn't exist but just as importantly, without them the laughter wouldn't exist and while we as performers might trigger reality in darkened rooms full of people facing us. Those people in large part create it.

No this isn't badly masked Marxism, I only really liked the one of the three that didn't speak. He was funny.

[Post script]

How Hoopal got out of their articulating toys piece....

...The argument esculates, the two performers are glowering and enraged, their toys are flinging profanities, unseen by the audience one of the toys is switched with a broken one, one that does not go 'eee'- 'eee' but 'eee'-'clonk'

The owner of the broken toy is heartbroken, each inspected “eee'- “clonk” compounding his sorrow.

His partner beckons to have the defunct toy handed to him sympathetically.

The broken toy changes hands and the partner leaves the stage. A moment passes then a gunshot is heard. The partner returns still carrying his own toy and also the other, now the smiley face is replaced by this + + The unit is dead. He hands it back then, using his own toy begins to speak again.

His toy goes “eee'- “clonk”

He shot the wrong toy, his own. Sudden status reversal = comedy.

Those Hoopal guys, [Chris Gibbs and Peter Mielniczek ]  were brilliant.

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