This year, the International Jugglers’ Association (IJA) invited me to officiate their regional competition in Mexico. The IJA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of the artform through stage competitions and a variety of other programs. I have a history with the organization, having served on their Board of Directors, producing their annual Video Tutorial Contest, and competing in a variety of their events for the past ten years. When we were on the Board together, Erin Stephens and I devised a way to export the stage competitions to circus events beyond the IJA’s main festival. Four years after the first IJA Regional Competition (IRC) was held, it was my turn to represent the IJA at the event.
This June, the third edition of the Periplo International Circus Festival took place in Guadalajara, Mexico. Run by the same organizational committee as its predecessor, the Barullo Circus Festival, the Periplo Festival hosted the fourth annual IJA Regional Competition in Mexico. Friends, Periplo is an absolute triumph.
The festival took place across two main venues – “El Foro;” a new training and thrust performance space owned by Periplo, and “Larva;” the Laboratorio de Arte Variedades, a giant theater space owned by the Mexican Government and their council for the arts. Periplo’s organizers fought to have the event’s first edition at Larva, and they were skeptically given permission by the Government. Juan Mendez Rosas (the festival producer) and his team must have impressed the coordinators at Larva, though, as he was called and asked to make it an annual production just after the event’s final gala show curtain closed. This year marks the third year of the festival, and the third year of their relationship with the Larva space.
Entrance tickets to this week-long festival was limited 100 jugglers, acrobats, hoopers, and aerialists. Juan explained to me that Periplo is working to differentiate itself from Cirkonvention, the annual circus festival just outside of Mexico City. Cirkonvention is an outdoor camping event on the same scale as the European Juggling Conevention, with attendance in the thousands. “Cirkonvention is great – it’s a big party,” Juan explained, “we want Periplo to be more about learning and workshops, though – it’s a festival where people train hard and focus.”
This ambition took fruition in the festival’s structure. Periplo is a week long event, with the first three days dedicated to special intensive workshops with invited guests. Cyrille Humen (contact juggling, Switzerland,) Marianna de Sanctis (hula hoops, Italy,) Jorge Reza (clown, Mexico,) and Jade Zeron (corde lisse, Mexico) were this year’s special workshop instructors. Other artists offered workshops throughout the rest of the week, with an extremely wide range of disciplines. The lineup included artists such as Chloe Walier (static trapeze, USA,) Leo Zevira (handbalance, Venezuela,) Nano (theatrical lighting, Mexico,) Rodrigo & Solene (hand to hand, Mexico,) and others – if you’re interested, you can see the full lineup here.
One of the festival’s main draws was the IJA’s Regional Competition (IRC), which was held on Thursday night. A field of eight entrants from Mexico, El Salvador, and Germany presented acts vyying for the gold medal (uh, gold embossed acrylic. Have you seen the IRC medals? They’re taking the IJA to the space-age.)
Although I was familiar with the IJA’s stage competition rules, this was my first time on this side of the judge’s podium. The IRC stage competitions are scored according to the 2014 IJA stage competition rules. There were some changes to this year’s World Chmapionships scorecard, apparently, due in some part to my mouthstick act being awarded a bronze medal in 2014.
The IJA competitions at the organization’s annual festival in the USA and Canada, have traditionally catered to the more “traditional” juggling formats of balls, clubs, rings, and diabolo – not to more esoteric forms of manipulation. The new scorecard includes points for “Representation of Juggling,” allowing judges to assert their own philosophies about what is or isn’t a juggling act – something that’s way more politically charged than folks outside of the juggling world might realize. I’ve got my own opinions, but I’ll leave that soapbox for another time!
Here’s the 2014 rubric, which is still used at the IJA’s Regional Competitions:
“Execution: Focuses on how well the competitor performs the routine from a technical standpoint. High marks should be awarded for completion of tricks without hesitation or difficulty. Competitor’s form and technique should be considered.
Entertainment Level: Overall appeal of the act.
Degree of Difficulty: Difficulty of tricks performed, as well as the inherent difficulty of the prop used. Degree of difficulty is determined by the type and number of objects juggled; the speed of the juggling; the types of throws, catches, balances, or other object manipulations; the complexity of combinations of juggling tricks; and the transitions between juggling tricks.
Theatrical Framing: May include but is not limited to overall routine, costume, music, speech, comedy, use of props, and staging. High marks will be awarded for successfully using theatrical elements to enhance an act. Low marks should be given if theatrical elements are detrimental or distracting to the act.
Creativity: New tricks, props, approaches to performing, and novel presentations that are performed well will receive high marks.
Element of Risk: The chance of a drop or mistake, and the difficulty of cleanly recovering from a drop or mistake.
Stage Presence: Ability to command an audience with confidence and an impressive style or manner.”
– From the 2014 IJA Stage Competition Handbook
Each one of the categories is given a score between 0 and 5 points, and is then multiplied according to a rubric (some categories are weighted more than others.) The figures are added up, and a final score out of 100 points is awarded. The scores end up being roughly 50 points for technical difficulty and execution and 50 points for appeal of the performance and showmanship. In the old days of the IJA (2015 marks the organization’s 68th birthday,) competitions were settled with judges arguing in a back room. Any attempt at scoring art “objectively” will have problems, but this model is more streamlined than the old one. The 2015 updates are another attempt at improving on this model.
Here’s a rundown of the event:
First up was Jafet Padawan, a 16-year old hotshot juggler from Toluca, in the outskirts of Mexico City. His act was technical and at times poetic, drawing heavily on inspiration from Jay Gilligan’s work. He ran cleanly through the act, finishing with a six club multiplex cascade.
Ana Morales, a Guadalajara native and coordinator of the local hoop festival, graced the stage next. She presented a modern hooping number full of delicate balances, contrasting fluid movement with sharp, twitching manipulations. She was a crowd favorite and a strong contender in the competition.
Balbino was the first import, coming to the festival all the way from El Salvador. Balbino is a seasoned traffic light juggler who blazed through an act showcasing his headbounce, balance, and unicycle skills. His finale was five clubs on a giraffe unicycle, he achieved it on his third try, much to the audience’s delight.
Ricardo Lopez presented an elegant club juggling number, demonstrating mastery of one, two, and three club contact juggling. His act set a tone similar to Florent Lestage’s number with a club and cane – eerie, beautiful, and full of gorgeous, uninterrupted sequences. For Ricardo’s final choroegraphy, he swung four clubs attached to a chandalier as pendulums, dancing the objects around himself and towards the audience. It was a lovely number.
Ivan, a 22 year old contact poi juggler was up next. He presented his act accompanied by dubstep and the adoring screams of a sign-waving faction of the audience. His act had some errors in execution, but had nice movement and character. Watching it, you could see he’d been taking notes at Cyrille Humen’s special workshop in the early days of the festival.
Frix Elting, an expatriated German ball juggler, performed a completely bizarre and riveting number after Ivan. Covered in bandages and an arm stained with blood, she created an act full of improvisation, contact rolls, and good humor. She was accompanied by a guitar player on stage right, and playfully blamed him for more than one of her errors at the beginning of the act. Frix encountered several wardrobe malfunctions throughout her act due to the nature of her bandages, but this master improvisor took her exposed breast as an offer, rather than a problem to address and ignore. With this number, Frix took the silver medal.
Next, came Braulio Lopez with an eccentric gentleman juggling act. He swaggered in from off stage in a lime green suit, juggling right away – deftly paddidling an attache case on his finger. A flurry of activity had him juggling from one to six hats, balancing them on umbrellas, and running like a madman across the stage. Braulio’s act had an incredibly personal feel – the kind of performance style he’s honed on cabaret stages across Puerto Vallara, a resort town a few hours to the West of Guadalajara. His number was awarded the gold medal at the IRC by a landslide.
The trick he’s doing in this photo was really spectacular. The hat spins on the umbrella, the umbrella spins on his head… after the image was set, he pulled the umbrella down towards the audience and folded it up in one smooth motion. The change in space was incredibly dramatic, especially considering how simple the effect was. (Talking about images – that’s a great example of a “postcard.”)
Closing the competition was Dennis Vertti, a juggler coming from a traditional circus family in the Mexican countryside. An easy crowd favorite, Dennis wore a tight, bright, sequined costume and performed an extremely technical routine that brought the audience to its feet. He was traditional circus personified. Highlights from his act included a three ball one-up front handspring, a five ring ultimate pulldown, a flash of seven clubs, a seven ring breakdown (a la Anthony Gatto, fanning himself with a ring in his hand,) and a nine ring flash — so breathlessly perfect that he stood and waited until the final ring was about to hit the floor before catching it. Dennis won the bronze medal at the competition and the GBallz prize, awarded to the audience’s favorite act incorporating balls.
The competitors all fought hard, and all of the entrants should feel proud of the work they presented. The IJA’s regional competition, like the competitions at the main IJA festival, is designed to help push jugglers to create new, interesting, and technically interesting work. Over the past three years, the IRC has helped spur the careers of its medalists. A quick glance at the career of Fer Sumano, the 2011 gold medal winner, can attest to the program’s success. After taking first place at the IRC held at the Barullo festival in Guadalajara, she was invited to perform at events all across Mexico and the surrounding countries in Latin America.
Besides the IJA’s event, there were more highlights than I can relay in this article, but I’ll do my best to paint a few quick images for you.
– Dozens played combat on a closed off street outside of the Periplo Foro. No clubs? No problem. Some of the players juggled their shoes, instead.
– Ahogado sandwiches at streetside cafes – these are “drowned” sandwiches, covered in tangy red salsa. A Guadalajara classic, and an absolute must-experience for anyone going to Periplo next year!
– Andres Aguilar, the host of the first gala show, devised a clever way to close Cyrille’s set in the program. Andres invented a number of silly contact poi moves and did a short routine with them. At the end of the routine, the poi slowly floated into space, away from the stage, as Andres watched it leave with absolute sincerity and sentimentality. Little did anyone know, Andres had attached the prop to a thread leading to the theater’s rigging, and a technician was slowly hoisting the prop to the ceiling. Cyrille’s poi were suspended several meters above the stage for the rest of the week, reminding everyone of the magic that took place that night.
– Geovanni Paredes, a juggler from Puebla, Mexico, was a last minute addition to the final gala show. He’s a technical juggler who has a few unique stunts in his repertoire. He does an incredible trick with a tall perch pole. The pole has small platforms circling its length, leading up to a basket at the top. He bounces a ball from platform to platform, all the way up to the top. He nailed this finale trick, and the audience went absolutely insane.
Geovanni and I met in Riga, Latvia at the international circus festival there this past January – his pole has gotten even taller since then! (You can read about the Riga Cirks festival here!)
– Jorge Rezas, clown and second gala emcee, ad libbing after his tray of glasses was dropped on their way to the stage. His trick, “the most beautiful balance trick you will see today,” involved balancing some two dozen red champagne flutes in a pyramid on his chin… but the stagehand slipped on the dark stairs and the glasses went flying across and under the stage’s risers. Jorge, a master improviser, managed to have the audience on the edge of their seats with the one flute that escaped without breaking.
– Duo Cardio, an acrobatic duet from Mexico by way of France and Uruguay closed the final gala show with an incredible perch pole number. Solene climbed three stories up a pole (yes, stories) balanced on Rodrigo’s forehead, and manipulated a hat with her feet while in a handstand at the top. If that’s hard to imagine from this description, I understand – it’s hard to believe in person, too.
– Crazy latin dance parties with ten piece bands breaking out at the Foro late at night – with everyone clamoring to dance. I’ve never seen more hips wiggling than at Periplo.
– Bravisimo, a local clown troupe, did an absolutely incredible routine about flying into outer space in the Open Stage show. These guys will be at the Kansas City Juggling Festival this year, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see them – they’re hysterical, compelling, and extremely polished.
– Chloe and I performed our paddleball act in the first gala show. As it turns out, paddleball isn’t something they’re familiar with. In the US, audiences respond immediately to their familiar children’s toy. In Mexico, the audience responds to the Americans playing with… whatever that is.
All in all, Periplo 2015 was an outstanding event. If you’re looking to take a trip next summer, I’d encourage you to visit Guadalajara, take in some shows, and cheer on the performers at the 2016 IJA Regional Competition in Mexico.
A version of this article first appeared on the IJA’s electronic magazine, eJuggle – http://ezine.juggle.org/2015/07/15/festival-review-periplo-2015/
Photos by Julio Lopez
This March, I was lucky enough to be called by the casting director of Radio City Music Hall’s latest production, the New York Spring Spectacular. They were looking to add some flair to the show, and one of the folks they wanted was a juggler. I fit their needs, so I put some projects on hold and moved to New York the next day. (If you’re reading this and considering relocating to New York City on 24 hour’s notice… just know that it’s a stressful thing to do!)
I’d never been to Radio City Music Hall before, and I was floored when I walked into the showroom.
For those of you who don’t know, Radio City is the largest indoor theater in the world. It was built in 1932 and seats 6,000 people. The stage and bandcar are actually a 10,000 square foot system of three separate elevators that have a range of several stories. The design of Radio City’s hydraulic lifts was quickly coopted for the very first aircraft carriers – that’s how unique and revolutionary the design was when it was first concieved. It was place on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ list of historic landmarks in 1971. When the theater was renovated in 1999, a crew of engineers looked at the system of original hydraulics and engineering and decided they were “…so sound, they didn’t have to change a thing.”
The lobby’s interior was designed by Donald Deskey, a guy who had experience designing the interiors of luxury cruise ships. The main lobby (or “Grand Foyer,” as their PR team calls it) is 60 feet tall and covered in gold-leafed wallpaper. Other parts of the building are lined with marble or covered in murals (including, apparently, an unfinished work by Georgia O’Keefe.)
Despite its opulance, it was slated to be demolished in 1978 due to dwindling audiences. A group of preservationists in New York saved it from becoming a parking lot (really!) Later that year, the theater’s lobby was added to New York’s registry of historic landmarks.
On my first day, during orientation, I asked about safety features. The “bridge” on the Cirque du Soleil show “Totem” had a number of laser curtains and pressure sensors that would stop the machine if it detected a performer’s hand or foot in a danger zone. The stage at Radio City has no such system in place (“It’ll shear your toes right off,” reported the stage manager who gave me my orientation tour.) During shows, the stage crew sets up cordons preventing performers from getting near the stage as its elevators raise and lower for set changes.
(There’s more about the lift system on ASME’s website.)
The areas surrounding the stage are incredible, too. And impossible to navigate when you’re new. The Spring Spectacular was staged in such a way that crossing the stage between cues wasn’t possible. If you left the stage on one side, but needed to go on from the other side for your next scene, you had to either run down to the basement and cross underneath the stage, or run up to the 9th floor and cross above. Radio City’s backstage is a series of drab corridors and staircases. Despite tons of signage, if you’re not familiar, you’ll probably get lost. (…which I did. And ended up trapped in a stairwell. In my underwear. With a bunch of Rockettes. But that’s a different story for a different day.)
The Spring Spectacular was the natural extension of the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular, an annual show running in the hall for some 80 years. The Spring Spectacular was 7 years and $120,000,000 in the making. It almost opened last year, but due to a series of issues it didn’t quite make it off the launchpad. The wait was worth it, though – the show was mindblowing. Don’t take my word for it, check out the trailer.
As you can see, the show incorporates a lot of elements – singing, dancing, Derek Hough, tap dancing in the rain, three-story-tall puppets of the Statue of Liberty, talking lions, smoke, lasers, and all sorts. Not shown in the video, though, are the t-shirt cannons, celebrity cameos, popcorn vendors running down the aisles, giant LED walls, fire-eating, or quick-changes. You’ll just have to search on YouTube for clips of the show to catch all of that.
The puppets were a big feature of the show, and an element that always got a great response – especially on the days we had school shows. The Statue of Liberty puppet was the only one controlled with remotes from off stage. The others were controlled from the inside, with a series of gears and pulleys and bicycle pumps, by teams of puppeteers.
When I was hired, the show was already in previews, so the clock for opening night was ticking loudly. The show’s directors decided to add some circus spectacle last minute and hired 10 additional cast members with specialty skills. I was one of these late hires, as was Angela Butch (circus performer & founder of the Muse NYC) and a number of tumblers and dancers. The male ensemble dressing room was already packed to the brim, so they put a handful of us in a converted conference room. That’s the first time the a Rockettes show has been so large that they’ve run out of dressing room space!
My track was added to the show too late in the creation stage to be included in any of the promotional videos, but I can describe it in two words and a short video: bagel juggling.
In the opening song of the show, the protagonist, Bernie, sings a love song about New York City. “I love New York!” he declares, “The noise, the crowds, the energy. But, the mornings always mean the most to me…” and goes on to talk about his love for New York bagels and coffee. At that moment, I juggle a stack of bagels, weaving through the set of Grand Central Station, and freezing as I catch a high throw, in time with the music.
I worked with Radio City’s props team on a hybrid bagel/beanbag juggling prop. The first several shows, I juggled the genuine artifact. Their inconsistencies in shape and weight, not to mention a light design that was created for- and by dancers who didn’t need to track objects in the air on stage, offered an interesting challenge. We settled on a flat beanbag, stitched in the center, and airbrushed to give the impression of extra depth and shine. All said and done, these weighed about half a pound each.
My other role in the show was juggling torches in the park as joggers and roller bladers and hotdog vendors carted by. I had to run like mad to get off stage at the end of the scene, as the sky opened up and rain started pouring all over the stage (and as thirty-six raincoat-clad tapdancing dancers rushed on stage!)
The main feature of the show was, of course, the world-famous Rockettes precision dance troupe. This team is composed of women from all across the United States. Auditions for the company are an open call, meaning that anyone can show up and try out for the team. This draws around one-thousand dancers each year, all vyying for a handful of open spots in the dance company. The audition lasts two days, and includes jazz, tap, modern, ballet, and ballroom combinations.
Dancers are measured when they audition for the company. If they’re not between 5’6″ and 5’10.5″, you’re not allowed to enter the rehearsal hall to audition. This is serious business, too – barefoot (not even socks) and a pencil through the hair to determine your true stature. — That’s a big range, though – Rockettes range 4.5″ in height! In the kicklines, though, they put the tallest girls in the middle and shorter ones on the outside. Since the girls all do their “personality kicks” (that’s what the group calls their trademark eye-level kicks,) it creates a nice optical illusion that makes it look like the dancers stand at the same height and kick to a uniform line. True as that may be, it sure looks laser-perfect!
Another bit of stage magic is their hair – the Rockettes are a team with matching, back-length ponytails, and have been that way for a long time… but only some of the dancers actually have long hair. The dancers are assigned half-wigs are matched to their natural hair color exactly, and meticulously maintained by a crew of hair technicians (yep, that’s a thing!) at hair stations across backstage areas. Even if you’ve already got long hair, it’s tied in a bun with a prosthetic ponytail attached.
The show is run by a giant crew – one that outnumbers the massive 70+ artistic team. Throughout my time there, I interacted with the stage managers, props team, stagehands, elevator operators, fire marshals, dressers, and all kinds of other technicians. One of the most labor intensive transitions in the show was for the transition from the “Singing in the Rain” scene into the “Times Square” scene. Here, the splashback from thousands of gallons of water had to be mopped from the stage (most went into a splashpan, but the stage was still wet!), twenty-something cast members had to get into elaborate costumes quickly (including some giant, body-swallowing mascot outfits,) all of the elevators went down, and a number of props had to be set.
One of my castmates shot and uploaded a backstage video of the transition, which you can see below. (The video included the following text: “Disclaimer: This was shot on an iPhone 4 from inside a Paddington Bear suit. Also, no Penguins were hurt in the making of this video.”)
All said and done, this contract I…
– Performed in 73 shows and 9 previews (a total of 82 productions, or about 7,380 minutes of show!)
– Changed clothes 656 times backstage (not counting changing into suits and tuxedos for after parties!)
– Climbed 48 flights of stairs daily (my calves have never looked so good!)
– Logged some 120 hours of juggling practice (if you want to see some training videos, head on over to my Instagram account!)
All in all, it was a lot of work, but a terrific contract. I really hope to work at Radio City again next year… We’ll see what the plans are for the 2016 Spring Spectacular!
This week, I met with Philadelphia juggler, Andrew Scharff, to help him polish some acts. We retooled his cigar box and diabolo acts in anticipation for his upcoming contract on Celebrity Cruise’s ship Solstice, where he’s working for the first part of 2015.
We worked mostly on pushing and pulling the acts – making them more dynamic in their pacing, blocking on stage, and emotional appeal. Towards the end of our first workshop, we started talking about act creation methods. I put the work of the day in terms of The Postcard Method, The Storybook Method, and Fritz Grobe’s ABC/”Little Pieces of Shit” method (more on that later!) He asked me if I’d heard about the Pixar Method. I hadn’t! Here’s what he was talking about:
In 2011, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats published a list of “story basics” – a series of writing guidelines she’d picked up from senior writers in her department. Andrew was most excited about principle #4, a basic fill-in-the-blank writing prompt that allows for a strong narrative arc:
Principle #4 – “Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.”
Storywriting 101, right? You’ve got a main character, some exposition, an interrupting action that drives the plot, and a resolution. It’s a bit formulaic (uh, because it’s a formula!), but it’s an interesting lens to look through. Applying this technique to variety acts with this rubric would get you out of “juggler brain,” where you focus on doing hard stuff for the sake of doing hard stuff, and instead focus on doing tricks that are meaningful in some way. This formula applies mostly to character-based, narrative acts, but could be used for more straight-variety pieces, too.
Let’s take this partner acrobatics act by my friends Lauren Breunig and Ryan Freeze as an example:
Once upon a time there was an old man and a nurse.
Every day, she would look after him.
One day, he stumbled around during his exercises.
Because of that, he and the nurse accidentally did some amazing tricks.
Because of that, he got too excited and needed his medication.
Because of that, he remembered what it was like to be young again.
Until finally it was time to go home.”
I know what you’re thinking! “…great, Thom. That’s a nice way to look at an existing act, forcing it to fit this Pixar thing. That’s not useful, though – how can we create something using this idea?”
Here’s one way of reverse-engineering an act, using this formula as a starting point:
Take a stunt you want to turn into part of the act. This could be a big meaty trick, a “Postcard Moment,” or any other thing that has some narrative or dramatic importance to it. We’ll put this moment in one of the blanks in the “because of that” section. For our purposes, let’s use the idea of juggling a slippery bar of soap. (Everyone’s got a couple of soap tricks, right? Old hat.) Plugging that into the formula, we get this:
Once upon a time, there was a ____. Every day, he would ____. One day, he _____. Because of that, he ____. Because of that, the soap slipped out of his hands into the air. He tried to catch it, but couldn’t. Because of that, he _____. Until finally, _____.
The next step is putting that in context. What could lead to soap flying through the air? In this soap case, maybe our character is washing dishes. Why is he washing dishes? Maybe he was out of clean dishes, and wanted to put some supper on the plate.
Once upon a time, there was a man. Every day, he would eat lunch. One day, he was out of clean dishes. Because of that, he needed to wash his dirty dishes. Because of that, the soap slipped out of his hands into the air. He tried to catch it, but couldn’t. Because of that, he _____. Until finally, _____.
What’s the payoff here? Can we find a relationship between the lunch and the soap? Instead of having an extra, contrived prop in the act, wouldn’t it be nice if it all tied in together? What if we had the character accidentally eat the bar of soap? The character would have to be pretty absent-minded or distracted for him to accidentally make a soap sandwich. How could we make that happen?
Once upon a time, there was a man who loved sandwiches and watching sports on TV. Every day, he would eat lunch when the game was on. One day, he was out of clean dishes. Because of that, he needed to wash his dirty dishes. Because of his love for televised sports, he didn’t pay attention to what he was doing. Because of that, the soap slipped out of his hands into the air, landing in his sandwich. Eyes on the TV, he fished around in the sink for the bar of soap. Because of that, he didn’t realize it wasn’t the soap he picked up. Until finally, he closed his sandwich, put it on the dirty plate, and took a big bite of soap.
Is it perfect? Nope! Did we create the bones of an act that has a beginning, middle, and end that has a juggling stunt placed in context? Absolutely. One of the nice things about acts with a narrative structure is that there are lots of ways to add virtuosic skills, as well as clever ways to incorporate pretty “Postcard Moment“-style images. Here are a few ideas off the top of my head that could be used to flesh this hypothetical “soap and sandwich” piece out.
– Soap juggling – frantic, arms reaching upwards
– Bubbles coming out of the sink
– Blind tricks / cutting a sandwich blind / almost cutting a finger off
– Plate manipulation
– Stacking dishes very tall, not knocking them over – pretty images of towers of cups leaning over the sink
– Making a mess in the sink – water splashing over the countertop
– Bubbles coming out of the mouth after biting into the sandwich before the final blackout
Add some of these ideas, and pow! you’ve got a nice act that’s interesting to watch and easy to follow.
When thinking up ideas to flesh an act out, don’t censor yourself at first. The important thing is generating lots of ideas to go over later. After the thoughts are on paper, you can start picking through them to find related threads and see where the strongest ideas are.
Do you have any acts that follow this narrative arc? How might this particular thought process help you with a project you’re working on? I’d love to hear in the comments!