Journey down a magical memory lane in Letter’s End. This time his memory is the one playing tricks

If your mind was a room and your life’s memories lost in a jumble of old boxes, what forgotten treasures might you find? In Letter’s End, a clownish man tosses lost packages and dead letters into a furnace until a torn parcel reveals an old brown teddy bear … and a memory is kindled. Written and performed by Wolfe Bowart who is a performer, teacher, writer and one half of physical  theatre company The Schneedles. Bowart is a modern- day physical comedian whose clowning work is reminiscent of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin both of whom he readily acknowledges as his inspirations in a recent interview with Australian Stage:
 
"I would watch Chaplin and Keaton films and re-enact their films set to Jackson Five and Beatles tunes. My father is a writer, a satirist, and my Grandfather, although professionally an abstract expressionist painter, could spin a great yarn. So I guess I inherited the story-telling gene from them."
 
Letter’s End weaves together circus & theatre, stage illusion, shadow puppetry, music, interactive film and physical comedy. It has been described as a dream-like exploration of a most magical memory lane. Bowart explains his inspiration for Letter’s End:
 
“I’ve always been interested in memory – how at times it tumbles out like Fibber McGee’s closet and other times seems elusive, stuffed away like an old package in the attic.”
 
Prior to Letter’s End Bowart had much success with his acclaimed one man show LaLaLunawhich also incorporated his special form of clowning. Bowart explains his take on non-verbal performance: 
 
"It’s not that words are over-rated, it’s more that I’m interested in exploring ways to paint pictures on stage with images, colour, light, physicality and comedy. It’s a way of offering a narrative to an audience without going down the more usual path. One night two ladies left at the end of the show saying “he doesn’t say anything, but you know exactly what he’s saying.” Also, on a practical level, the non-verbal nature of the shows means there are no language barriers, so we’ve been able to take them to a number of countries around the world."
 
Bowart is well respected in his field and has taught clowning all over the world including Australia at the National Institute of Circus Arts. He explains his process:
 
"Sometimes it comes first from movement – from studying how animals move, or from studying people in the street. Costuming can also inform a character. Charlie Chaplin was asked to improvise in front of the camera during a soap box derby race …  legend has it that he went into wardrobe, played around with some costumes and came out dressed as the Little Tramp, which informed the character he played for the rest of his life." 

Letter’s End is presented by Spoon Tree Productions, a theatre company devoted to providing world-class physical theatre productions that know no cultural or age barriers.
and comes to the Arts Centre’s Playhouse for 2 performances only on Saturday 30 October.

 

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