What?! Why is this happening? What are you doing? Why are you doing it?!?!? You might be asking. I certainly have been asking that myself! Here's what I got.
Fizgig is a studio for the physical comedy arts: Clown, Commedia, Bouffon (for starters - Tréteaux to come soon!). Here we provide an opportunity both to train in these approaches and also to perform them. I'm thinking of it like an Improv school - with levels and student companies (in deference to my friend Scott who would yell at me and throw things, I will refrain from calling them "teams") as well as professional companies (I'm working to get you paid - eventually and probably not that much, but still!). Except instead of Improv, it's the physical comedy arts.
Check out the individual class pages for more info about what each form is about. The intro levels provide foundation so if you are a-skeered to go upon the stage or you want primarily to get at the vulnerability, actor-controlled invention, and physical connection provided by the approaches then level one is still for you! Or start at level one and arrive 3 levels later as an open, hilarious, beautiful creature of the stage! In addition we'll have a few special classes. These are short-term, shot-glass sized classes that focus on a certain skill like Physical Comedy Mechanics, The Pantomime Game or Acrobatics. And some more drop-ins: throw-you-in-the-pool affairs designed to whet your appetite for the possibilities and fun of the forms!
So why are both elements, the training (preparation and discovery) and the performing (doing it and more discovery), important? Let's take the second one first.
My ambition at Fizgig is to have companies (maybe some trios, duos, solos - a sextet!), and lots of them (listen up, ye gods of the 2020's!). I want this in order to bring the work to the world and also to provide students the opportunity to learn the performing part. If you learn how to do a thing, like perform Commedia for instance, then for one thing, now you can do it and it's wicked fun. And for another, when you learn the performing part you get all the benefits of the classroom preparation and discovery as well as the benefits of the experience of performing. Performing these approaches is the best training to be a performer, even when you will turn to tackling performing in a totally different style like a musical or the circus or public speaking or Shakespeare if you must (and I know so many of you must). It's the best because it teaches you to really collaborate with the audience, to craft the moment, to avoid the flop or truly play inside it.
Now for the first part second. Of course, before you can perform the thing you gotta learn how to do the thing. That's where the training part comes in. I've been knocking around a while and I've figured a few things out about how the forms work. Each has a set of discoveries and skills that you need to wrap your whole self around to truly make the gizmo whirl. Check out the classes page for more info on what the training looks like.
So this scheme is kinda audacious, I know. It would be a lot easier and more financially sensical for me to just throw down a workshop here and there and scamper away. And I've been nibbling that nut, believe you me.
But here's the thing. I am an EVANGELIST for the forms. A good Clown, Commedia or Bouffon show is the most thrilling, profound and hilarious fun to be found in the theatre. But at the moment, you won't find it enough. Too many times I have had the following experience. Students, excited and ignited by the work they've done and seen in class, catch me in the hallway and clandestinely, earnestly whisper, “Is there somewhere I can, like, go and see this, you know… performed??!” Sadly, I rarely have good news and I want to change that. "More good news!" say I.
Also, I don't see this work as only training to make actors better so they can score TV gigs or regional theatre roles (although it can definitely help you do those things). I see this work as the theatre I want to see - every night! - events that are alive, imaginative, moving, hilarious and in the moment, where the audience is included and the performers transport us into an astonishing, theatrical world. Events where the actors are primary - where the actor is the rock star. I want to continue the work I began at the Funny School of Good Acting building a community, making a place for physical comedians to meet and celebrate the work. The Commedia Company is up and running and we're planning to rock your world every 3 months or so with a brand new show! I've laid down a plan for training in the next year with hopes to get more companies off the ground by the end of it. No permanent space for starters but we're shining our laser beams on building toward a location where there can be classes in the day, shows at night and succor for the soul. I want to raise the profile of these forms and build an audience for them so that more and more people can get in on the fun that only Clown, Commedia and Bouffon can deliver and then I will look the next hopeful student in the eye and say, “Hell, yes! And you better hold onto your socks, sister!”
So, this is an audacious plan! Here we go go go!