Thursday, April 3, 2014

Having arrived.

I've been pondering this week and I'm pleased to say I have something to show for it.

I watched a couple of times the video of the 66 year old who gave up his old life and now skates along beach paths on one leg at a time celebrating his equilibrium blissing out as a form of meditation as he's done for 15 years now.

At first people thought he was just strange but after time his consistency eroded their critical opinions and now he's a fixture and the public celebrates him with smiles and high fives.

I think it's because on a very deep level that alludes most but they can still recognise he's arrived.


Clown structure typically involves creating problems that are approached with a childish innocence and overcome in unique, non typical, unorthodox ways.

When they get to that solution you could say they have 'arrived' and that arrival is what the audience celebrates.

A clown show like Rob Torres's, because it's a show, uses innovation and narrative and is structured in a linear wave form with multi-layered subtext, call-backs, fail fail succeed gambits etc but it occurs to me that the peaks of his waveform structure are 'arrivals'.

As performers we structure moments where we arrive at bliss because sharing that is our jobs.

Beyond that, behind that, under that, not always but sometimes, we ourselves, despite the structures, despite the disciplines we pseudo-casually exhibit, during our shows, we ourselves 'arrive'.

You cannot take it for granted and it's a personal thing but it's strong enough to carry us through times where our shows are more or less acts of generosity. We don't always make it, we don't always arrive ourselves but our shows are designed to make sure that hopefully the audience does.

Because arriving ourselves is quite simply the best feeling there is. I know because I've experimented over 50 years with people, chemicals, commercial success, philosophies, affiliations, solitude, pride, self pity and applause among other things and can tell you that from my experiments that there is no terrestrial sensation larger than a feeling of having arrived.

Another living narrative I was reminded of after watching the ex-doctor skating along blissfully in his twilight years was Dublins Diceman, who died in 95 but started out as a sitting statue who would wink in response to donations, then stood, then grew crowds so large he'd get moved on so adapted to walking in ultra-slow motion the length of Grafton st.

He admitted that fear made him reduce himself down to stillness and then to moving very slowly. It wasn't easy, he would be attacked sometimes, other times, at least once, part of his costume was set on fire as he moved slowly down the pedestrian street. But he never broke character, on the occasion he was set alight others nearby put him out, he kept plodding forward.

He kept plodding forward because he wasn't going anywhere, he kept plodding forward because he'd already 'arrived' and that stuff is deep and somehow resonates between us on some level. He became legendary among the Dublin public. They loved him and when he died they celebrated him by carrying a coffin down Grafton street slowly, many hundreds of them, as a tribute I feel to both him and the sense of arrival he shared.


I say this because for the last year or so I've simply been waiting to die.
That might sound dramatic but I can assure you it's not. It's quite hollow and tedious.
I had rent paid for over a year in advance, enough left over for food, the sun shone every day, I had a therapist who shadowed me and I spent most of my time waiting in isolation for either a revelation or cancer.

Which in itself is unusual, an uncommon indulgence, I had lived my life, I'd had my stories, for reasons I can only speculate over I had become inert, without even the momentum to feed myself at worst. I can relate that I am indeed one hardy fucker because externally I am again fit and healthy.

I want something.
I want to arrive. I'm going to walk into my local council tomorrow and I can't do anything about my funny accent but I can try to communicate in simple terms that I want to select a public place where I can put my clown character and simply 'be' for a couple of hours a couple of times a week.

Because I know that will allow me to again arrive, and no-one likes a quitter.

No comments: