19 August 2011

On Topic: All the world loves a performer

On topic with my performerphilia post, take a look at this impressionist who does Clarence's dream from Richard III in the guises of a bunch of celebrities. His "Ron Howard" and "President Obama" aren't striking, but all of them are funny, most of them awesome.

Jimpressions: Impressionist Jim Meskimen Does Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices

Elsewhere in great performances: Performers who make a connection...

  • RSC's 2008 Hamlet with a helicopter, a wheeled office chair, CCTV, and a big broken mirror
    • Best scene: Gertrude's Chamber at 1:55:06; and at 2:00:15, Sir Patrick Stewart shows up all cool and ghostly.
  • PBS selections from last year's Sondheim! The Birthday Musical
    • For short attention spans that crave immediate audience-performer connection, jump straight to 12:30 and watch till 13:20.
    • If you have a heart in ya, stay for Mandy Patinkin right after.
    • Sweeney Todd(s) at 17:45
    • "I'm Still Here" underway at 26:00
    • Better yet, the entire show is available to Watch Instantly on Netflix, and it's immensely more meaningful unedited. Every single segment and performer impresses.
  • If you aren't touched by the Jamie and Aurelia story in Love Actually, have the EMT begin heart resuscitation right now; you're in need of defib.
  • Mine shaft gaps, floridation, and precious bodily fluids-- when the time comes, be prepared, but above all, preserve the secrecy of the Big Board. (Dr. Strangelove, included because Petter Sellers and, in the clip, George C. Scott still let us think, laugh, and express frustrations all at the same time)
  • Thinking of people who inspire and touch us through performance, I couldn't help but call up the two recent Medal of Honor recipients. Entertainment as opposed to heroic or daily performance was my initial focus, but I'm going with my heart on this one to include Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who have been sharing their stories, their and colleagues' valor, and their amazing senses of personal modesty and sacrifice. If you've not read their stories or seen either of them interview, fix that. You might be awed and humbled.

Have to cut the list off here, because with the last bullet point, I've opened a door to all sorts of "performers": friends, mentors, bold politicians, Captain Sully (resisting the temptation to link to Sully). Would love to hear about performers with whom you "connect".

In the end...

It is the performer who can, after being antic and bringing a room to laughter (a difficult enough task on its own), at will turn around and, with a look or a posture, a sound or decision, reach out to us, convince us to reach back, and form a bond we respect and care about.

How in the world do they do that?

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