IRA SEIDENSTEIN – EXPERIMENTAL CLOWN THEATRE SOLO – ABSURD MOODS – 1985.
ABSURD MOODS – Clowning with the idea of being a dancer, but not being a dancer. Clowning with the idea of being a Clown juggling. Clowning with the idea of a Clown in a theatre with his array of ABSURD MOODS.
Reminder: it is experimental theatre! I was experimenting. Experimenting with the lights in that I wanted to play with the Clown being in pre-show lighting and in shadows and in sombre moods at times. Several sections I played/experimented with ‘what happens if the Clown loses track of time…. so some things are ‘too’ long, or ‘too’ repetitive, or ‘too’ soft etc. That is what really goes on in an experiment in theatre.
Other aspects of the experiment had to do with my artistic interest in the inner/outer life of a Clown. I had done strange experiments on myself when I was 24 and had only been involved in the performing arts for 2 years. I had an idea to go into pubs and ask to perform when the band took a break. I had a Shakespeare monologue with which I would do a 20 minutes improvisation clowning, speaking, moving. No microphone. I was never announced. So I had to grab the audience’s attention. When I finished I took a bow and passed the hat and recieved plenty of donations. I did that every Friday and Saturday night for a few months. But even the first night, I certainly did not feel like doing a performance and did not feel like taking such a risk. Plus I had to hitchhike from the small town to one of the nearby small cities where there were more intersting and busy pubs. So I thought I will have a nap and if I wake up in time, I’ll hitchhike, and if I get a ride, I’ll ask at some pub, and if the manager and band say okay, then I’ll do a show. Always woke up on time and with firing energy and always got a good ride and all went well. I was experimenting …. did my subconscious want me to perform or not. At that period of my life it did. So I did. But if you asked me I would never say I “felt like” doing a performance. After every performance I always felt ‘better’ like I had just climbed a dangerous mountain.
ABSURD MOODS was several years of further experiments. Previous solo shows were “A Clown’s Show” at the Eureka Theater of San Francisco about 1977? Then in 1980 I made a solo, a proper show that I could tour – “A Clown’s House”. Non-verbal, and no music. Then a few years of shows with a partner including only one that is on youtube “Passing Time”…. it starts with a very long slow solo of mine. Around 1983. Then as follow on experiments from A Clown’s Show; and A Clown’s House; was another inner/outer life of a clown experiment “Let Me Entertain You” 1984 which led to ABSURD MOODS. Absurd Moods evolved to “The Battler” which has 2 versions on youtube. One is me telling the story as I thought the only video was ‘gone’. Later the video showed up from a friend’s storage. However that videoed performance was only the first try-out in front of an audience.
In ABSURD MOODS amongst the various things I was experimenting, toying with was to show the onstage offstage sense of the Clown. Streaming in and out of those realities. Additionally as mentioned I wanted ‘mood’ lighting as if I was caught on an empty stage with just a working light on. That did happen to me once. I also wanted my energy ‘low-key’ at least part of the time, as if I had just wandered onto stage. And I was toying with ‘dancing’ and toying with ‘juggling’ and toying with ‘clowning’, etc.