On Halloween — appropriately enough — my paper, ‘(Re)Discovering the Body in Mentalism’ was published under my former stage name Edward James Dean, in the University of Huddersfield’s Journal of Performance Magic. Regarding his paper, the editor of this edition, Madelon Hoedt, writes:
‘In “(Re)Discovering the Body in Mentalism” by Edward James Dean, the author discusses the role of the body in the performance of mentalism, or rather, the perceived lack thereof. As Dean argues, the performance of mentalism, in particular, is seen as an activity of the mind, first and foremost, foregoing any notion or interpretation of the physical. In his essay, Dean is opening a discussion as to how the body of the mentalist needs to be reassessed in order to create a different, and perhaps more effective, type of performance.’
To read ‘(Re)Discovering the Body in Mentalism’ click here
When I was doing my MFA in physical theatre in Italy, I studied the Roy Hart voice technique under the legendary Kevin Crawford. I chose to do a project on the traditional Punch and Judy puppet show. Punch’s voice was done with the secret technique with a traditional “swazzle.” The others all spoke some form of gibberish/grammelot. I made the puppets and built the fit-up with materials and tools at hand. The puppets were worked in the old school “over the head” style.
An interpretation of the classic plot “Honey” as first performed in Paris (circa 1920) by the legendary clown duo Dario and Bario. With Chloe Whiting Stevenson and Mickey Lonsdale, advised by the Dimitiri School’s Joe Fenner at the Accademia dell’Arte in Tuscany.
MAGIC RE-SOULED. Today, the classical style of stage magic is virtually extinct as a form of popular theater and entertainment. Over-edited street magic flourishes on television and over-produced illusion acts rule Las Vegas. It is time, then, for 21st century magic to be re-souled. Howard Thurston, America’s Master Magician in the early 1900s, said, “You can fool the eyes and minds of the audience, but you cannot fool their hearts.”
With this piece, I attempt to deconstruct the fast, flashy, loud, and soulless Las Vegas style; while dodging the comic cliché of the ‘bumbling magician’ (a parody which outlives the parodied). Act One, by functioning like clockwork, provides a silent set up to an act of even greater deconstruction, as magic gives way to clown and the clockwork is torn apart gear by gear.
In my mid twenties, I was studying and teaching at the School of
Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle and I began developing
a doubles trapeze act. Creating an original partner act on the trapeze
is difficult to begin with, but it was uniquely difficult for me because
I didn’t have a partner. I began training with a Cabbage Patch Doll,
in the process creating an original act which blended trapeze technique
with clown and object manipulation.
I have performed this act around the world, including in Cairo with the
Egyptian National Circus, where the Egyptian Star (the Egypt Affiliate
of the International Herald Tribune) described the act as, “An epic
one-man collision of funniness and foolishness, of tragedy and triumph.”
Here is a video of the act from when we were young. Ah, yesterday!