Friend Melissa contacted me recently about contributing to something she's putting together for Six Figures' Artists of Tomorrow (AOT) festival. Specifically, she asked if my silent-film clown, Lloyd Schlemiel, could be a part of it. I mulled it over for a bit before responding. It's pretty late notice (performing November 21 and 23), and I'm just dipping my toes back into the waters of performance after some time away. Add to that my last experience performing solo Lloyd, back in May, which can best be described as a learning sort of experience, and I felt justified in having some hesitation. I gave it a day, and when I came back to it today the thing I realized was that in spite of all the rational reasons not to take it on I wanted to take it on. So I am.
I don't know what I'll do yet, exactly, though I do know I want to book some time to work on Lloyd shtick in a rehearsal room, preferably with an outside eye lending me insight. Melissa told me right off that video projection was a possibility, so I have thoughts about utilizing some of my amateur video, if I can get it together in time. The first thing I did, though, was to write Melissa back, accept her offer and ask her a little about what she was looking for. It turns out she wants to theme her work around her most recent dance exhibition for Estrogenius, which is collectively entitled Blueprint. Though I've been reading her 'blog in reference to this work, I didn't see it, so I asked for a description. She writes:
"Blueprint was a wide open assignment -
just taking the word and riffing with a piece of some sort -"
Okey-dokey. In addition to this, I knew Melissa had utilized (a) large blue hat(s) and lipstick in her choreography. So there's that. Lloyd most frequently has used a large, round orange hat in his act, so that's a funny coincidence/contradiction/complement. Finally, though, Melissa writes what I find to be interesting observations about my noseless clown:
"I think anything Lloyd is a blueprint piece - he is so curious and exploratory that he is always wondering what something is made of and his relationship to it - which in my mind is also wondering what he is made of -"
This would make the second time that my clown has been described as a guy who needs to figure things out, though it's difficult to remember whether or not Mel and I have talked about the similar observation that Mark McKenna made. I find her observation, either way, quite accurate and insightful. I never looked at it before as Lloyd trying to figure himself out through his relationship with objects. (Lloyd is of course, me, and I hope you'll understand the ease of referring to him in the third person) It's a fascinating angle from which to approach new work with him. Not literally, of course. The first decision I would have to make in a rehearsal room would be whether he is even aware of that kind of introspection. At present, I'm inclined to say it is all subconscious. That seems funnier in concept, but until I play around with the idea, who knows?
It would be nice if this performance could advance my other work with Lloyd in its process, specifically my interests in making a silent film or two. I have a collection of amateur clown-ish shorts -- raw footage, really -- that is all haphazard and unedited and generally useless at the moment. This could be an interesting opportunity to get it organized, at least, and maybe use something of it for the performance. I've seen and done a lot of work under the auspices of the AOT festival, the last being As Far As We Know, way back when it was still called The Torture Project. During that time, Six Figures was using the high domed ceiling of the converted nave space for its projections, and if the same is true this time around it could create some very interesting moments of focal shift. In addition, exploring my clown from the point of view of his own introspection (or lack thereof) is a cool way to begin my experimentation of playing Romeo in a clown style.
Whatever happens, I'm certainly destined to be pretty busy for the next couple of weeks.