Thursday, November 25, 2004

MotionFest, the Finale - Personal Report

My view of the MotionFest was coloured by taking two hours to get out of New York City, in a car with Martin Ewen and Robert Nelson, the Butterfly Man, after visiting Master Lee, on our way to Baltimore , with Robert expounding on the historic nature of the occasion.

We arrived in Baltimore at two in the morning, and I had time for 4 hours sleep, and a yoga practice, before diving into the the four days of morning and afternoon classes, with evening performance sessions.

Over 100 performers at all levels of their career's attended MotionFest in Baltimore earlier this month. Many said it was the best of the 7 festivals held to date, and even though it was billed as the last in the series, there were rumors of something, sometime, to follow on from this.

The public show on Saturday, which played to a sold out theatre, demonstrated the range and caliber of the teachers present. I kicked the event off with an experimental and slightly provocative number on the seven clown commandments, as decreed by the World Clown Association, which seemed to go down well.

And I was followed by a range of clown and physical theatre numbers from Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley, directors of the New York Goofs, a classic clown number from Steve Smith, a past Ringling Clown School Director, mime from Karen Hurll Montanaro, who performed one of the much loved numbers from her late husband Tony Montanaro and a couple of her own pieces, and this was complimented by an equally classic Commedia piece from Geoff Hoyle, and finished with some wonderful new clown numbers from festival organizer, Micheal Rosman.

The organisation of the event by Michael, Todd, and Phill was impeccable, and I was overwhelmed by the thanks and hugs from students after the classes. Kirk Marsh stole the show in the critic sessions with a new clown-dance piece which took a standing ovation, and Drew the Dramatic Fool took the award for having attended all seven MotionFests, and taught at two.

I presented my new Angels can Fly book to a couple of panels of clowns, including some of the best in the business, and received some valuable feedback, and some commitments to put anecdotes in the book. Some 15 clowns - including teachers from DellArte, San Francisco Clown Conservatorium, Ringling Clown school, and Fantastic Space in Vancouver, plus many well known clowns from Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand - are now putting anecdotes in the book, and it is still possible to put your story in this book on Modern Clown, simply e-mail me at:

The icing on the cake for me was the sauna on the ground floor of the hotel and conference centre, and I had one every day. I discovered on the last day, that Michael Rosman loves saunas, but in all the MotionFests that he has run at the BestWestern Hotel, he didn't even know there was a sauna in the place... Go figure.

Photos of Alan Clay by Cynthia Aviance,


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