Mr. YooWho on tour, from the small town of Aatnang (A) to the small town of La Algaba (Es). From the mountains to the plains.
bringing humor to the people, in the land of onion shaped church steeples, Austria.
right near the beauty of the low mountain lake at Gemung
teaching a workshop in the basement of the Aatnang church
we go to eat in the local Italian restaurant, a converted traditional restaurant
The second day of the workshop is May 1st, which in most parts of the world is labor day, hence a holiday. Why is it that the US chooses a different day to celebrate as labor day? A question that has crossed my mind a few times. Meanwhile, it turns out that May 1st is also the day for pilgrimages to the Aatnang church. I am surprised by this procession of men, only men, walking down the main stream, an audible sound of prayer in the air. One hundred or so men, many chanting along, some holding their hands in specific pose. One holds a mast up high. I figure some type of icon, but it turns out to be two little speakers and a wireless antenna. Evidently modern technology is in action too, broadcasting the priest’s prayer to the faithful as they walk along.
I decide to start the afternoon in the beautiful garden full of little flowers, trees, smells and a pleasant breeze.
A perfect atmosphere to look for the lighter poetic side of clown. Everyone is having a marvelous time, until the priest in black robes and white pompom accoutrements passes by above. One glance at us, and he demands we cease and desist. No room for play here today, at least not in the sweet spring garden. We create one inside instead.
A few plane flights the next day and i find myself in a quite different environment. La Algaba, Spain.
The poorest town neighboring Sevilla, some 6 kilometers away from the splendour and touristed city. I think it would be safe to say that no tourist has strayed into this little town. The town though had the great idea three years ago to start a music and theater festival, hence my presence here. In town the day before I play, I go into the little town to enjoy the evenings offerings. Los Gingers, a great comedy circus show is performing.
They mix high level acrobatics, juggling, teeter totter and other circus skills with a great sense of humor. There is extensive slapstick as Ramiro,
oh the posed macho, continually runs into poles, slips and falls that has the audience falling out of their seats laughing.
Their show is in a public housing complex where it would seem not much else takes place.
I am told that it is not the best of neighborhoods, some 160 forced detentions (arrests) the past two years. Considering that the project is home to around 500 people, this is quite high for Spain. There are bars on second and third floor windows
There are also a lot of green flags hanging out windows, draped off of balconies everywhere. No not nationalism, or election time. Football (soccer) fans, or perhaps fanatics. There are two teams in Sevilla, one has green flags, the other green and white striped. They are arch rivals i am told, although some balconies have both flags hanging side by side. A few buildings have exclusively one flag or the other. No doubt there are some good stories to be told. Today the focus is on Los Gingers, whose techinical virtuosity and great humor is delighting this jaded I’ve seen everything clown.
needless to say, I am not the only one.
Onwards into the evening, and to another neighborhood of La Algaba, a relatively normal neighborhood, where a small park has been transformed into a performance space for Portugal’s Circolanda, which offers a nighttime show around a circle of prepared earth. The neighborhood is out and waiting, and finally as darkness unfolds the show begins, a group of men on bicycles playing brass instruments arrive on the scene after a video projection of them exploring the countryside ends. they have somewhat dirty faces, and frumpy clothes. The music sounds rather slavic, and is something of a conversation between them. the show is quite visual with beautiful images but the clown in me is wishing for more interaction between them and humor.
May 3rd. the organization of the festival brings me to the spot where i am going to play, a small square in yet another part of town. There has never been a show in this spot, and as I am taking a look around the several of the neighbors come out. I am going to block a garage door in a corner, and a person appears at the doorway, so i go to introduce myself. i explain that his door will be blocked off during the show. He is fine with that, and invites me in to visit his workshop behind the door.
That would be the man in the middle of the photo. He works with metal he tells me, silver and gold. I ask him how long he has been there-18 years. Earlier I had asked his neighbor the same question, 35 years he answered, and explained that he had built the house himself, with his own hands, as if he were being paid to do it he adds.
I am surprised by what I find behind the metal garage door. the walls are full of dusty posters, and designs for various items he has built.
It would seem that most of what he makes are religious icons for the semana santa-easter-processions.
Later on during the show, I have a great time starting from behind the narrow door that is part of the garage door, banging into it ‘by mistake’ numerous times. The audience loves it, and it becomes a theme of the show everytime i need to go back inside to get a few more props running into the door and slapping my flat hand hard against the side of the opening as i jerk my head back as if i had hit it. The metallurgist’s father shows up wanting to get inside but has to walk right through my stage to get to the door, so of course I play with him. We have a good moment, and so does the audience.
next up. Sevilla to Salzburg