And you thought Pagliacci had issues?
This is not your father's mime. Come to think of it -- this ain't no mime. A clown? Well, this clown probably NEVER showed up at your birthday party. Lucky you.
Oh, sorry, we got ahead of ourselves. We're talking about Satori Circus, the inventive, funny, sad, haunting, and ... occasionally disturbing stage persona that Russell Taylor created roughly 20 years ago and then honed and polished until it became the fallen god in grease-paint it is today.
never done us any personal harm, but as a public service and as a tribute to
his talent we decided to subject him to a few questions before he takes
For the benefit of someone new to your
"world", what do you strive to do on stage and what can the innocent
On stage, just about anything can happen. I combine elements of a lot of art disciplines that I enjoy …and then some -- even moments of the 3 Stooges, to Monty Python to Captain Kangaroo. Folks will actually see a hybrid art form of sorts -- music, lyrics, poems, film, movement, theatre, pantomime, vaudeville, cabaret, hijinks, humor (black and white).
What they can expect? Well, probably to be overwhelmed at first. Someone a long time ago described it as 'Live MTV'...there's something for everyone - sometimes not right and sometimes not wrong. I want folks to think about stuff...
This is not mime then?
No it’s not mime. There are certain elements of mime but not in the traditional sense. Like clowning, like slapstick -- just borrowing bits and pieces and calling it my own.
Who have been your chief influences?
Influences range from the folks I mentioned above to folks like Bowie, Bertolt Brecht, Robert Wilson, Buster Keaton, Family and Friends...Tom Waits, even the Bauhaus movement, along with the Dada-ist and Surrealist...maybe even the Fluxus for spice.
Most memorable moment thus far in
your professional life?
Wow. One of them would have to be when I was awarded “Best Live Performance” from the Detroit Music Awards. Another [was] getting a scholarship to
How dark is this show?
“Funy as Hell” is dark, but riddled with humor and some very cool props. There are elements of all that I have mentioned above plus some blaxploitation stuff mixed in; some cartoons...and yes, it’s a re-working of the same performance my friends Brian and Dave Dambacher and myself put on last year at MeadowBrook. We actually took our material and re-worked it...same music and story but different staging, props and personnel.
Ever been told (perhaps in the
middle of a performance?), "No, this simply won't do! I thought you worked
kiddie parties or something!
Funny you should ask that: When I first started folks were bringing their kids thinking just that and leaving during intermission (laughs). I didn't take it as a dig and, oddly enough, some actually stayed. I had a young man and woman recently tell me that their folks brought them to a performance and I changed their life on viewing the world around them. Go figure, me! A guy from
You may now have the final word.
Man, my art is a mash up of all the things I enjoy and have enjoyed in my life -- brought up on, stumbled upon...taught. If I were to label it, I would tell folks to go back many, many years to Vaudeville, Cabaret, German Theatre, Cafe Voltaire, Alfred Jarry, Theater of the Absurd, Antonin Artuad and then throw in some pop music with a twist...and observations on life which is where I usually come from. I write about the things that effect me or the world around me and make fun of it. Sometimes not to the liking of the audience, but hey, were all uptight a bit – ha-ha-ha.
Circus will perform "Funy as Hell" June 20 and 21 at 210 Campbell (Suite D) in