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Friday, December 31, 2010

Rob Torres Makes Mirth Seem Easy

By Tom Penketh
DECEMBER 29, 2010
Big Apple Circus clown Rob Torres knows the value of simple play.
Wearing an ill-fitting powder-blue suit, shocking red tie and white buck shoes, Torres walks alone to the center ring. The audience applauds. He cracks open a small wooden box he holds in his hands, gesturing that their applause is being collected inside. The audience grasps immediately. He opens the box a little, they applaud. He closes it, they stop.
The game goes back and forth. It is simple, but it works for all ages.
The bit is part of an approach that Torres describes on his website as "finding the absurdity in everyday tasks." But as every performer knows, developing a unique yet simple action that engages an audience isn't easy.
Torres believes that performing works best when the artist is "working with an audience as opposed to doing something for them." He learned that from singer Livingston Taylor, who believes that "any live performance between artist and audience is a conversation."
The New York native has been having such conversations since 1991. He's performed in 44 countries—"I'm pretty much a gypsy," he says—everything from busking in New York to circus festivals in Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, and Canada, including tours of his one-man show "Room to Play" and even corporate work for clients like AT&T, DuPont, NASCAR, Volkswagen, and Bristol Meyers Squibb.
Now, the self-described "International Man of Mirth" is part of the Big Apple Circus in "Dance On!", the new show performing at Damrosch Park in New York City's Lincoln Center through January 9, 2011. READ MORE AT:http://www.backstage.com/bso/content_display/news-and-features/e3iaab5654aa0d93ba96229dfbd7cdeaaad

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