Brad Weston’s Stagecraft: Mime

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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case, I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

Mime: the most hated variety art-form in America. It’s also the least understood and, at this point, one of the rarest. Billy the Mime [http://billythemime.net/] is pushing the boundaries and delivering a solidly entertaining and thought-provoking show. The creator’s name is Steven Banks. I got him on the phone and we spent close to an hour talking about creativity and what it takes to be successful.

When I first contacted Banks to do this interview, all I knew about him was that he was a mime. What I didn't know was that he’s also a musician, an actor, and a writer for television and books. He had his own sitcom on PBS, wrote a New York Times bestselling book, and as head writer for SpongeBob Squarepants, he was nominated for an Emmy.

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Varieté Redux

My wife explained to me at length that our neighborhood variety theater has a “brunch show” each Sunday starting at 12 noon. When I asked, incredulously, how performers can expect to stay awake through the night to do a  show in the middle of the day, she explained to me that they “go to bed early” on Saturday and “wake up …

Varieté in Germany

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to see the latest offering at Varieté et cetera in Bochum, Germany. The current show features world-class acrobats, contortionists and a guy with a cube, but for my money, two performers stood out among the rest. One of them, happily, is the bounce juggler Abbdi. At first glance Abbdi seems to share a background …

Perfect Catch: A Throwmantic Comedy

It takes ambition as well as wit to name a juggling show “Perfect Catch,” and Michael Karas and Jen Slaw Napolitano are just the duo to pull off this wacky combination of character work and skill. The show has played to rave reviews and many sold-out houses since opening last fall (it has also toured other east coast locations). I …

The Other Side of the Juggler – Charles Peachock

Drumming About Charles: Charles started juggling at the age of 13 and has been performing for almost 20 years. He became a professional juggler right out of high school. Along with his brother, he won an IJA gold medal in the 1997 teams competition. As a competitor on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ he appeared on the show more than any other …

The Other Side of the Juggler – Owen Morse

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If Abbott & Costello Were Jugglers: Smirk!

Smirk 3 clubs

    Smirk is the award-winning (IJA Team Silver Medal 2011 & 2009) juggling team of Reid Belstock and Warren Hammond.  http://www.smirkshow.com.  Warren and Reid live in Colorado and recently did this interview via Skype with Ted Baumhauer in December 2011.  If you haven’t seen them here is a link to their promo video:  (Smirk Promo Video:  http://juggling.tv/3545) Ted: How did …

Philippe Petite’s ‘Wireless!’

Philippe Petite performed his new and developing stage show, ‘Wireless!’ for three sold out performances in New York’s historic Abrons theater. An added show and standing ovations has provided the encouragement the artist needed to continue the performance, promotion, and perfection of this show. A street performing juggler and tight/slack rope walker since 1965, Petite gained world renown when he …