A performer/artist with a bag of vaudeville tricks and the help of his trusty piano player must prove to a critic that there is still a way to present New Theatre without relying on devices... See full summary »

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Michael O'Connor ...
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Doug Skinner ...
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A performer/artist with a bag of vaudeville tricks and the help of his trusty piano player must prove to a critic that there is still a way to present New Theatre without relying on devices. Like trampolines. Written by Kathy Li

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vaudeville | dance | mime | acrobat | clown | See All (8) »

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Comedy

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17 February 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Clown Bagatelles  »

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Amazing physical performance
6 April 2005 | by (Northern California, USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this stage show when it was broadcast on PBS in 1983. I was involved in local theatre at the time and had seen some pretty incredible stuff out of the Dell Arte Players, but Bill Irwin floored me.

I was most impressed at how a man of his size (he's quite tall and beefy) could fold himself up into a small box without so much as a pause for adjustment and move across the stage at a dead run without even a whisper of sound from his feet if he chose not to make any noise.

Most amazing for me, though, in this performance, was the way he rose to his feet during the jack-in-the-box / marionette piece. Those who saw this show will recall that when he climbed from the box and collapsed to the floor with his body limp and limbs akimbo, he "pulled" himself up by the top of his head as if by a string, and rose not just to his feet, but to a full ballet point—and did it in one fluid, seemingly effortless motion. Just consider the strength, grace, balance and focus such a series of movements must take in order to accomplish them the way he did! Add to his physical prowess his strong and believable characterization skills, and there lies a consummate actor / performer. My jaw dropped at the movement and my heart broke at the portrayal of a puppet who is determined to be more than just a lifeless thing in a box.

As to the unfortunate (yes—"tragic" would be a better word) unavailability of this piece in home media form, I have noticed that much of PBS' works are not available on tape or DVD. Sometimes, PBS shows will be available for direct purchase from them for a limited time immediately following a broadcast, but they seldom stay on the market for long. There are exceptions, of course, but these are mainly the science and history documentaries; rarely does an arts piece remain in print for long—assuming it ever made it into VHS / DVD to begin with. I don't know why this should be so; certainly, PBS could use the income from home media marketing of their shows, but they don't take advantage of it much. This is a shame. There are many things I've watched on PBS that I wish to own, but pieces such as "The Regard of Flight" are, I'm afraid, a one-shot, once in a lifetime treat, never to be repeated on PBS again and never to be available for home media purchase. That really sucks. I'm lucky to have caught it when I did.

Oh, yeah—our local library did get a copy of "The Regard of Flight." And yes—it was stolen.


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