Fifteen minutes before Kooza starts several members of our company mingle, provoke, spill popcorn on, greet and gambol with the expectant audience during a segment we call Animation.
Animation is clowning at its most naked and unadorned. And a lot of it is one on one, interpersonal encounters.
Clown vs. Man.
And it’s one of my favorite parts of doing Kooza and the show hasn’t even started yet.
The word Animation comes from the Latin root animatio, which literally means “a bestowing of life.”
Animation is a lot like pushing the roller coaster up the steep part of the track so the audience can spend the next two and a half hours going “Whee!”
Animation is the time we use to infect the audience with the antic spirit. In which we preload a camaraderie of silliness one person at a time.
Animation is when we inoculate the patrons from the drudgery of their daily lives, awaken their inner child and nudge their funny bones.
And while we do this we are working.
While we mine for comic ore in plain site with no fanfare we are sussing the sensibilities and shopping.
Shopping for future victims.
(Often just touching a shoulder or shaking a hand gives you all the information you need to make a selection for later on.)
Fitzharris, me, Slonina and Gatto prepare to Animate.There is little hoopla in Animation. We just go out there under the glare of the houselights. Well, maybe a little help from our friends up on the “masts” manning the follow spots doesn’t hurt.
We take with us a few props.
A jack hammer,
An air blower,
A bull horn,
And a constantly malfunctioning remote control.
These are enlisted not only to warm the audience up but to gauge their temperature as well.
Our Trickster Mike Tyus uses their reaction to my opening announcement in Animation as a barometer of what this particular audience is going to be like. And most nights how Animation goes is a good indication of the unique character of that particular audience. And every audience, like every individual out there, is different.
Next: Victim Work