Tuesday, May 10, 2005

GEL 2005 - Flying Karamazov Brothers

The Flying Karamazov Brothers, a well known performing group made the first presentation at the conference. Now, what does a group of jugglers have to do with this conference? You might reasonably ask this question. They use a set of juggling pins (or balls) as their primary source and let me tell you, they do create a good experience from this simple item. Paul Magid, one of the four (who by the way are not brothers, and do not fly (other than in planes like the rest of us)) was quoted in the Boston Globe:

"The thing about juggling," says Magid, "is it's the most honest theater. It's all out front; there are no wires, no mirrors. And juggling is dropping. It's defined by its failure. And we're OK with that. If there wasn't that tension, it wouldn't exist. To try to have the perfect thing is part of the problem in the world. There is no perfection; there never was. And that's the perfection."

Their current show is centered on “LIFE, A Guide for the Perplexed”. Each of their performances were scenes from their show. Without spilling too much of the beans here (you should go see them if they ever come to your area) I’ll recount one in particular. The theme for one performance was “Trust”. One of the brothers came out on stage and began juggling. As he did so, he started singing a nice song with a round in it. After a bit, a second brother comes on the stage playing a guitar and in obvious competition with the song of the first. Eventually, they synchronize the songs and also start juggling together. Yes, the one on the right (as you look at the stage) is juggling with his left hand. The one on the right is juggling with his right hand and playing along the neck of the guitar with his left hand. His partner has reached around him and is also playing the guitar near the sound box with his right hand. Note, the juggling pins never drop, nor does the song miss a beat. They walk off stage together playing/juggling and are replaced by the other two. One playing a French horn, the other a flute. They are playing the same song but also in competition with each other. The other two come back on stage and eventually all four figure out how to play each instrument together while the two outside hands (of the now four individuals) are still juggling.

Yes, the pins never drop.

Trust takes a little cooperation, coordination and communication.

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