Over the course of the last three months I have developed a public stage show that I felt integrated my more ambitious ideas. It’s one thing to create a compilation of fun jokes and rad tricks, but I’d been sensing my need to create a premise that points to ideas beyond my show itself.
The concept behind Pieces of Mind centres on my approach to solving life’s little puzzles. Having had a background in studying psychology, working with children with autism and speaking on the science of magic, the show demonstrates my journey that entails collecting pieces to the puzzle of the human mind. How well can we read other people? What can I know about how people think? What are some of the subtle parts of human interaction that shape how we perceive each other? These questions and many others form the content and feats featured in my show.
However, it took a lot of development to reach this final premise. So I’d like to share some of the process with you here.
Being all about the mind, it was necessary that audience participation became a core element of the show. However, I had to draw on all the performance resources I could to ensure I learned how to provide a non-confrontational yet engaging experience. In addition to that, I needed to learn how to communicate my ideas without making it feel like a lecture. I needed narrative, comedy, magic and a true portrayal of my earnestness.
It started with consultations with prodigy playwright, Matt Ziccone. After seeing his theatre productions, and the accolades that followed them, I was fortunate enough to become friends with him, which as a bonus gave me his insight into story formation and scripting.
From there I continued to do my regular stand-up comedy spots around the Melbourne circuit, trying edgier and longer-form material. A few preview shows and some invaluable feedback from more accomplished friends (I’m so tempted to name drop, but I’d rather uphold my own), the show felt much clearer and nearly ready for a full season.
Even with the material I had becoming stronger and more refined, I felt somewhat lacking in spontaneity on stage. Out of pure coincidence, I discovered an improvisation workshop that has turned out to be the regular highlight of my week. Learning to be more receptive to the ideas other people offer me has changed the way I engage my audience.
There came a point, as my knowledge from these different worlds amalgamated, where I decided to delete my initial stage show script and start over under the new title and premise: Pieces of Mind.
Now ready to share this cocktail of a show with the world, I booked a season at one of Melbourne’s top cabaret venues, The Butterfly Club. A five night season there starting next week has rendered me inspired to build the show for major touring next year.
I hit the Adelaide Fringe in Feb-March 2011 at the Science Exchange building, curated by RiAus.
To the future of engaging entertainment 😀