As I type this my first year theatre class is watching Rowan Atkinson, as Mr. Bean, attempt to dress himself in a Speedo without removing his pants (long story). I often use this, or other of the classic Bean episodes, as examples of pantomime. Though it is not truly a mime –he will occasionally croak a line or two of dialogue– his over the top characterization, ludicrous mannerisms, and facial mastery combine to tell a visual story with skill rivaled only by Marceau.
The simplicity of his story is often the beauty. Currently, he is attempting to stay awake during a boring church service. Of course, there will be a magic three attempts and three hilarious results. (right now he is holding his eyes open with four fingers, directly after a head-in-lap incident with a straight-faced neighbor)
Watching a master of expression and movement such as Mr. Atkinson my mind wanders to other types of movement based storytelling. My wife is an avid So You Think You Can Dance fan so I’ve seen a lot more of it than I would have otherwise. A few seasons ago (okay, maybe a lot of seasons ago… I’m older than I want to admit… I still consider the 90’s “ten years ago”), there was a hip-hop performance by Ashleigh & Jakob that, in my mind, stole that and every subsequent show. That is, until I saw Christopher Scott choreograph a hip-hop/animation performance for the finale a year or two ago. Both of these performance do an amazing job of pulling the audience into the story. It is not just movement. It is poetry. This is a well-known, relevant art form utilizing the oldest art known to human kind.
John Keats once said, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
Method Man once said, “the poetry’s in motion coast to coast ‘n’ rub it on your skin like lotion.”
I say there is poetry all around us in every day people, places, and things. I say we don’t often appreciate the story of our own lives. The story of reality. Real reality. Humanity. Truth.
Today I want you think about, to focus on, the beauty that is around you, the beauty that surrounds you, the poetry in motion in your every day life. And I want you to share it with me –with us.
I recently watched a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe* theatre and the overwhelming presence of place and purpose moved me to tears. Literally. I was watching a comedy. But that moment in my life was so beautiful I felt my middle school self, my collegiate pseudo-scholar, the teacher and director, the collector of Shakespeare, my present and future self all culminating with the suggested history of that place and the feeling of beauty and rightness was overwhelming. I was simultaneously in Mr. Dwyer’s Drama class and sharing the words of The Bard with my own (future) children. This was not something that could be reproduced, replicated, duplicated, or imitated. This was and is reality. This was poetry in life. Poetry in motion.
QOTD – There is poetry all around us in the day to day world, what moments have struck you recently? What is your moment of Life as Poetry or Poetry in Motion? What have you seen, heard, or done recently that has struck you as poetic (beautiful)?
* – I often make the typo Shakespeare’s Glove Theatre… which could be interesting as John Shakespeare was, in fact, a glover.