Artistic Director of 500 Clown—a physical theater company that uses clown and humor to get the audience’s active attention—Adrian Danzig has performed at The Goodman theater, The Steppenwolf, The Second City, Berkeley Rep, and much more.
A New York City native, Adrian is an actor, director, teacher and alumnus of The School of the Art Institute Chicago, and also studied clown with world-famous physical theater performers like Philippe Gaulier and Dominique Jando. Through his work, Mr. Danzig aims to explore with the audience how the body can display and elaborate the full range of human emotions, from joy and happiness and particularly to fear and anger, with his company producing shows like 500 Clown MacBeth or 500 clown Frankenstein.
"There seems to be the idea in the world that if I'm beautiful, you are not. What's real is that beauty is infinite. There is infinite beauty in the world, and there's infinite talent."
— Adrian Danzig
Adrian Danzig (guest): There seems to be the idea in the world that if I'm beautiful you are not, that there's a zero-sum game in beauty or in talent or in anything which actually creates community. And what's real is that it's infinite, that there is infinite beauty in the world and there's infinite talent and this is the subject of great crying for me. I just think it's so touching especially with young girls, and with women like this idea that there's a limited number amount of beauty in the world or a limited way of being beautiful I think these are terrible ideas.
Simone Salis (guest): I am Simone Salis and this is The Hoomanist with today's guests Adrian Danzig. Artistic Director of the Physical Theater Company 500 clown using clown and humor to get the audience's active attention. Adrian Danzig has performed at the Goodman Theatre, the Steppenwolf, The Second City, Berkeley Rep and much more, a brutally native Adrian is an Actor, Director, Teacher, and alumnus of the school of the Art Institute in Chicago who also studied clown with world-famous physical theater performers like Philippe Gallia. Through his work, Mr. Danzig aims to explore with the audience how the body can display and elaborate the full range of human emotions from joy and happiness to fear and anger, with his company producing shows like 500 clown Macbeth or 500 clown Frankenstein.
A. Danzig: That's pretty good.
S. Salis: Pretty accurate.
A. Danzig: I'm not from Brooklyn but my Father was from Brooklyn.
S. Salis: Okay.
A. Danzig: I like Brooklyn I’m from Manhattan but you know.
S. Salis: You’re from Manhattan, sorry you're like the President, you're originally from…
*A. Danzig: Well, it is so funny that you say that because my New York friends like we're all like so we have a internal sense of guilt because we knew he existed and we didn't do anything about it. We knew he existed in the ’80s like he was you know before he was reality, he was already horrendous the first person and he existed in our city and we were kids, we didn't have anything to do about it.
S. Salis: Well, what could have you done?
A. Danzig: I don't know we just like make it clear that this is not acceptable I don't know I have no idea. Just to take New York away from him to like no; no he's part of like somewhere in between East River and this…
S. Salis: Right, he was born in the sea like a creature; you know you can just slip Manhattan under his feet like a tablecloth.
A. Danzig: Absolutely.
S. Salis: And the people stay there, okay so sorry you're from Manhattan but your father was from Brooklyn.
A. Danzig: Yeah
S. Salis: When did you move to Chicago?
A. Danzig: Originally I moved here in what was it? 88, right after I graduated college in 87, I came right here so it was 87 and 88, yeah…
S. Salis: What did you do at the time like where did you go? Well, you’re a physical performer so…
*A. Danzig: I mean at that time who knew that I was doing…
S. Salis: You didn't know?
A. Danzig: Yeah, I just I knew some things that about the physical but I didn't know that, I didn't I didn't know we'd be talking about this now. I wanted to be you know just a well-employed actor and I didn't want to go back to New York. Because…
S. Salis: Why?
A. Danzig: Well because I had all that dead home baggage in New York you know it was like I had this sense that like I can't make it there. I just can't do it, it's too hard, it's too big and then my good friends from you know from college who were from the Midwest were like I'm going to New York I'm going to kill it. And you know they did in their way for you know the amount of time they did it for, you know some of them were still going. I didn't know how to be me. essentially, I didn't know how to be the person I am now in New York in the kind of context of my family, and so I just I saw it as you know I couldn't.
S. Salis: I don't think I've ever had better words to describe life because that's… whenever I moved to Chicago or at least like you know Chicago now then who knows. But I also felt the same like to be myself I cannot be where I grew up as I was defined by also the environmental fact whatever, and that's I need fresh air, a fresh sight and so you moved to Chicago?
A. Danzig: Well actually I'm still sorry about that a little bit because you know having a clown we went back to New York we played PS 122 which was really fun home stomping ground. And some High School friends came and in high school like I couldn't I couldn't sing; I couldn't; I couldn't not that I didn't have you know I had a good year but I didn't; I didn't sing because I was too freaked out. Like it was too much to share in public. And so one of my best friends in high school comes and sees me do this show which I'm singing, and he's like, “hey man you did it”, and I was like, “ oh my god right you just found that out I've been doing this for you know a decade”.
S. Salis: Yeah, so you’re in the back of your head you forgot about it.
A. Danzig: I totally forgot.
S. Salis: But you were still that person to him?
A. Danzig: Absolutely and that's what I'd, like that controlling idea of who can we but… having said that, so I came here left about three years later I actually go back to New York because my Dad was dying. And then I stayed I thought I was going to stay in New York for a year and that took six years and then by the time I came back. I came back because I was like the pole to come back here was pretty strong because red moon was growing and I had remembered the ensemble feeling. The actual the kind of family feeling of it, the sense of like, “oh, let me become somebody images in becoming”. And this group is interested in seeing who that might be and I was working in New York but I wasn't finding that, and I was like I think I can do that, so I actually applied for a degree at the Art Institute and they gave me a full ride and I was like oh, oh.
S. Salis: I'm going, what did you study there?
A. Danzig: Performance
S. Salis: Oh, you have a Masters in Fine Arts?
A. Danzig: Yes in Performance
S. Salis: In performance.
A. Danzig: They didn't, they are both the exciting thing about that program and the crappy thing about that program is this, there's no rigor. The strength of that is that there wasn't defined so I could really focus on what is clown?
S. Salis: I'm going to say something silly that you probably have to deal with from time to time but when you say clown well you know the studio type that comes to mind you probably can picture it and floppy red shoes, whatever, the nose.
A. Danzig: Red nose.
S. Salis: Red nose the flower that in between physical and slapstick and mime and all of those things.
A. Danzig: Yes, and that clown is real, and that comes from the American three-ring circus.
S. Salis: Okay.
A. Danzig: So that where the clown is essentially denuded of any power because you can't hold, the intention of the three-ring circus is to have no focus. Is to be just hits every second although something over here…
S. Salis: It's like a [8: 03 inaudible] constantly like focus and bringing your attention to something different. You almost don't have time to focus because something is always happening at the same time somewhere, okay.
A. Danzig: So, this is where the idea of the circus as chaos comes from. Like, oh yeah when, somebody says oh that's a circus…
S. Salis: That’s a circus
A. Danzig: It's like its chaotic, it's like who knows but European one-ring circus is the birth of the actual clown.
S. Salis: We didn't have enough money you know just one ring.
A. Danzig: No, you had is you know 7 languages within 12 miles of each other.
S. Salis: Yeah.
A. Danzig: And so you then have to have clowns who speak all those languages and speak music and you know.
S. Salis: And speak body language.
A. Danzig: And speak physical, so if they're lacking in any of those they can know the physical that's the lingua franca.
S. Salis: That was about to say so it sounds like body language is almost the lingua franca of Europe especially with this kind of entertainment back in the pan we are talking about what it was in like 19th century.
A. Danzig: Yeah, anything before television.
S. Salis: Okay.
A. Danzig: Television is you know, yeah you show it on The Ed Sullivan Show and then your entire audience has seen it, as opposed to taking you know ten years in a Vaudeville circuit.
S. Salis: And this kind of shows that you mentioned not like The Ed Sullivan or other ones they still had some heritage from like the Vaudeville in America.
A. Danzig: Yeah.
S. Salis: Or the even minstrel shows at first kind of like moving shows around the country and that kind of entertainment like that, so that also had some physical performance, right? There was some slacks taken…
A. Danzig: Yeah, and also I mean just like these are yeah, I mean there's something really that history, the history of the Vaudeville and the history of all those itinerant performers. Like that's a real… that's a way of life, that's a training ground, right. And so you're actually in the context of always moving somewhere and having something to share but not being like unless you're the headliner like not being like the dude. You know, not having that context.
S. Salis: 10: 18: The focus.
A. Danzig: Like so you are over the course of that 10 years of playing that circuit your act is getting better and better.
S. Salis: It's almost perfected to the milliseconds.
A. Danzig: Yeah that's you’re…
S. Salis: You know when people are going to laugh; you know when people are going to cry.
A. Danzig: Interactive writing process right there, and in fact, you know the Marx Brothers, you know the Marx Brothers were inspirational in that way. You know there's Three Stooges and there's you know there's other trios as the Ritz brothers is an unknown trio but they… we're also kind of harkening back to the silent clowns, in general, the Keaton Lloyd Chaplin people because they are essentially doing right down the street.
S. Salis: Where a few, not even a half a mile, I think it's a block from the original Studios DSN from Chaplin's…
A. Danzig: Yeah, its really cool but those guys put themselves in the context to put themselves in the position of, you know essentially melodrama of being seeing the world as something which is a little larger than them. A little more powerful, little confusing and they weren't quite able to shift their way of being to work in the world but they persevered and had this you know sometimes we refer to his clown logic of like oh, let me I'll just do it my way. I'll solve this problem my way, the basic conflict in that is clown versus society, and so now you're seeing the clown as the individual. But there's all sorts of different takes you know and certainly in those three who the individual wants to be, who the individual sees themselves as. For me it has something to do with the character who pits himself against culture, insulted society and then it has to do with identifying the individual strengths within the character. In the past it's always been this classed thing where the character kind of knows where they fit, one of the things that we started to play within 500 Clown and I started to play within graduate school was this idea of seeing the clown in the culture which now exists. Which I think is a fluid status culture, you know I've been in an elevator with a billionaire but he's just like I am right now. And so you know like that isn't how a billionaire shows up in Chaplin, know why I'm going here but that's where my head is going. If you think of like formal portraiture, it's so held and posed and this is actually part of what we're inheriting as the idea of high status.
There's a composition to the painting, they're not just being painted, it isn't a photograph just you know doesn't have… it's actually an artist creation and then when we see images of lower-class in art are usually with their limbs bent or 19th century 2020. So, they're like they're totally in motion, and this sense of that of a character in motion has an effect on
S. Salis: Connotation…
A. Danzig: Yeah, on the viewer and so on some level on stage we're playing with like, oh who's in need. So, the bent limbs on some level are like, oh you're moving somewhere because you need something or I'm connecting this because of my…
S. Salis: Of course I asked you about the…
A. Danzig: Our history as an actor the language we came up within the type of the clown we need to suffer an experience, they need to have something happen to them and to receive it, and then to as a result of that become augmented, we can just trace that really physically.
S. Salis: 14: 35: For you, the listener of The Hoomanist audible is offering a free audio book download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service no strings attached. Since I started The Hoomanist I tend to read at least one new book every week, and that's quite a lot if you're busy. But I just used audible to read Kaylee Leonard's book Getting to Yes, and I read it on the train while I was working out and that's pretty great and their app is great it has a clip function to take notes and I use it to write questions. You know you can get Kelly's audiobook for free today really anything you want Be Hobbit, Harry Potter just go to audibletrial.com/The Hoomanist for your free audiobook.
I am Simone Salis and this is The Hoomanist with today’s guest Adrian Danzig founding member of 500 Clown. How was 500 Clown born?
A. Danzig: It was a show and the show became an experiment, and so then we started to see what else we could throw into the mix.
S. Salis: You start to reason about this mechanism and body language and social status and you wanted to.
A. Danzig: Yeah
S. Salis: You wanted to mix it up and see how you contempor, like in a contemporary way?
A. Danzig: Trying to see what else it could do like we would… like the first version of Klimek death which is their first show was radically different from what we did before. Well, not even you know even two years later there was started out three guys it was Paul Kalina and David Hangon, and myself. And David just had a much more fearful nature than Paul or I, so David’s fear was an excellent engine for what needed to be addressed, and then so that put Paul and I am in the role of pushing him towards things he could fear, and so we a little bit tormentors of him.
S. Salis: So, you talked about, in 500 Clown I'm realizing and just in physical performance there is so much in common with regular narration and writing.
A. Danzig: Yes.
S. Salis: Because you mentioned a character's want and desire, it might be love, it might be money, it might be personal information whatever it might be a pen doesn't matter but…
A. Danzig: That's in clown right now you're getting to clown…
S. Salis: I'm getting to learning something silly…
A. Danzig: No, it's like the clown can want love or want the pen as much as somebody else wants love.
S. Salis: Okay, and that's also the contrast that an audience memory can enjoy and see among…
A. Danzig: Absolutely.
S. Salis: The other things you have that and you also have different roles in situations because usually you the character wants something. Then there is an obstacle in getting it; it might be a hero, it might be a anti-hero, whatever. But there is also like that obstacle, and then there are different factors that in a comedic situation they might push you towards that goal and you fall and die almost. And then maybe you get it for a second then then you lose it again, and then you get it again but that's it. So, those characters dynamics or character dynamics are also in the trio, somebody's more grounded and goes and explains words for the audience to work and navigate a bigger, a greater narration and then there is someone else…
A. Danzig: Pushing.
S. Salis: Pushing and like…
A. Danzig: Yeah and like being an idiot just like jumping into like, oh there's a hole let me jump into it. Oh, no; no stop; stop don't jump in the hole, oh that's crazy, okay I'm not going to jump but what about that hole oh great you know.
S. Salis: So, how do you… well this parts I can kind of understand how you can write and improve and you say that much of the process of physical it's also an iteration. It's an evolution, you correct it and rightfully so I believe because even more than the word you need to verify something physically if it works. And then adjust it or not but how do you write for physics?
A. Danzig: I mean this is the thing that's on some level that; that's what I think the answer is it takes a long time.
S. Salis: Okay.
A. Danzig: The answer is, so that's the fourth member of the group, that's my wife Leslie who is the person who was watching and says, “oh that's the story do that again”. No; no when you did that you had to start together and then move apart.
S. Salis: So, she works as an objective eye, like not just the audience but also well in between the Writer, the Director…
A. Danzig: She’s the writer, exactly she is saying like this is what's happening, and then you know we as a group, as an ensemble we were able to say, okay look that's really off theme let's go back to the theme.
S. Salis: Does it help you to record yourself?
A. Danzig: We, it probably does but especially in the beginning, we said if we wasn’t good enough to remember it, then it doesn't exist.
S. Salis: That's very improvisation, that’s very much like improvisational theater.
A. Danzig: Yeah.
S. Salis: Do you improvise on stage physically?
A. Danzig: Yeah
S. Salis: Okay
A. Danzig: So, in the beginning…
S. Salis: Can that be dangerous?
A. Danzig: I'm sure it can be dangerous
S. Salis: I mean you're still here, so far…
A. Danzig: Yeah, you know the only times I got hurt in that work was in rehearsal; one time I was doing a rope swing and I just missed time you know I had done it 10, 15 times and I was fine. And I just missed time the dismount and I had dropped like seven or eight feet onto my hip onto a cement floor, and I landed and everybody thought it was quite funny. And I couldn't speak I was like a blindingly white-hot pain and they you know and they were like, okay. And I was there, Adrian on the floor and well they just keep on going, and they sort of kept on going with their rehearsal and they're like, hey come on get up. I was like…
S. Salis: What happened to your hips was it just pain?
A. Danzig: I mean it was just pain…
S. Salis: Well I mean just [20: 56 cross talking]…
A. Danzig: It was just a good amount of pain. And then I broke a rib in another rehearsal where it was in Frankenstein, and I was standing on the table in a stupid way. And Paul was kicking the bottom of it and I fell and you know I broke my rib. But we actually had a little audience for that one, and that was hysterical people thought that was hysterical.
S. Salis: Of course they did little they knew.
A. Danzig: Yeah, and little I know, I thought it was funny too I just look and I just like you know part of the funny was like I can't get up, I’m in pain..
S. Salis: My ribs are inside my lungs…
A. Danzig: Yeah
S. Salis: Oh, God not on purpose but I think I did some slapstick a few years ago, it was me in the bathroom I slipped on a rug and I happened to fall with my ass exactly on the valve of the radiator and well I cracked my tailbone. I cracked my tailbone and I was just without… the toilet was in front of me I just literally like was for a minute but they had no audience. It was just me painful with the tailbone, so that's why I will never try anything physically and barely dance.
A. Danzig: First getting hurt is terrible, and then after a while getting hurt it's like yeah I got hurt, okay.
S. Salis: And then he becomes a pleasure.
A. Danzig: Yeah, something; something in there but it's like you know it’s exactly analogous to athletics like it's exactly.
S. Salis: You end up having a Honorary Degree in Physics.
A. Danzig: Yes right, no you're right you're talking about just dispersal of energy here, look how do I…how does this energy like there is this we're going from this great potential energy to nothing, and how do you zero that out without taking that into your bones.
S. Salis: Right exactly the point I was about to say because if you make that explode in the wrong spot on your body that's when things break.
A. Danzig: Yeah.
S. Salis: And they just need to discharge it, well I'm making it sound like if it's simple like yeah I take the energy I make it discharge there…
A. Danzig: No; no it is but it is a little bit I mean if you think of it in exactly that way I mean, so that's I mean and that's the way that's on some level the way we think about these things. It's like there's a way of staying in the awkward which builds energy in the body, so that, and this is actually this has to do with the physical and the verbal in culture in the real world. We dispel the energy that's created from awkwardness or from uncomfortableness or all sorts of things through talking, and so for a piece like clown Frankenstein, that's interesting. Like how does you know, how do you create a monster?
Like what is the tension pattern of a monster? Well, the answer in the show for the original 500 clown version of that with Molly and Paul and I was that the Bruce my character punishes Shank, Paul's character by punching him in the arm. Like don't do that, it turns out Paul can receive an enormous amount and he’s gritting his teeth and he's so angry at the audience for letting this happen. And the way he's going to get back at them is he's going to take it again, he's going to take it again, he's going to take it again. And he's going to watch them suffer but his [24: 34 inaudible] it's a terrible moment. What we're doing there is Paul is allowing the audience to experience hey, hey you didn't stand up for me earlier, and where we go to the audience and actually in our first audience we had a four-year-old boy who stood up for him there… S. Salis: That’s awesome.
A. Danzig*: Really easily. Stop that! Stop that! Stop!
S. Salis: Oh that's beautiful.
A. Danzig: And then you know Bruce had to negotiate this you know for this four-year-old boy ha, ha, ha, ha he turns out he's totally right he's totally unmasked. He’s totally…
S. Salis: Yeah, that’s just a pure reaction.
A. Danzig*: Yeah, he’s got a sense of fairness and he doesn't have a sense that the theater that you should shut up, and let the actors do what the actors do. And this on some level this is the deepest politic of the work, it's always about for us that the liveness of the interaction between the audience and the people onstage it's always about like know you're here, l you exist. And we feel you and what you do is in the show, and the show can't exist without you, that's always happening everybody. Now my definition of clown is clown includes comedy but isn't restricted to one of the things we say is normal people who live in a scale from 1 to 10 and clown lives from 5 to 15.
S. Salis: I am Simone Salis and this is The Hoomanist, every Thursday there is a new free app that is ready for you to download on your favorite podcast app with a full transcript available on The Hoomanist.org. But not just that I'm often looking for book recommendations and I started asking to each guest to share the books that made them introspect the most, something that they wanted to share with the listeners. And now you can download their book recommendations every Tuesday in a new conversation shorter than 10 minutes and you can also find the list from each guest on books.The Hoomanist.org. Today's guest is Adrian Danzig founder of the theatre company 500 clown.
Body is one fifth is fundamental to the kind of art that you work on but body also has its own course it starts… it gets into a middle and then way I was told that there is a specific end for everyone.
A. Danzig: Yes, it turns out.
S. Salis: But it turns out so I was told but have you considered the fact that being a physical performer growing up your abilities would change?
A. Danzig*: Absolutely
S. Salis: And what was your idea when you were younger? What is it now? Let me say this you are I guess in your 50’s you're in an amazing shape you are fasting today we'll see why… but…
A. Danzig: Yeah I mean we had a I remember conversations with Paul you know being like, oh my god what if we're doing this in our 60 ’s, wouldn't that be awesome? Like what the hell was he doing, like I would be taking the 10-foot fall in my 60 ’s. I have no idea, and so there was a fascination about it but it does hurt, like you…
S. Salis: It just hurts more.
A. Danzig: It hurts the body is I mean like today I'm not in pain. I slept 12 hours on Friday and that does wonders.
S. Salis: Okay
A. Danzig: For my pain but I usually can't.
S. Salis: Like Dr. House, you take [28: 20 inaudible].
A. Danzig: I wish, I wish I could prescribe what I need. What I need is that stuff, like there's this cannabis cream that you can buy in Colorado and California now but you can't get it here without a prescription and I evidently have the wrong Doctor.
S. Salis: Okay I'm really proud of the question that I asked you because the answer there was like yeah the body grows and it hurts.
A. Danzig: It does; it does. It's really interesting, and so it gives you a different sense. I mean so right now I'm in a space where I am like, I don't know that if I can sign a contract to be able to do something for 12 weeks. Sometimes you can't some, and days you absolutely can.
S. Salis: Okay.
A. Danzig: And you're just like, oh my God look at that. I used to actually want to endure the pain of it and it was in the service of the of the audience you know in my mind and I for many reasons maybe the pain is more, maybe I'm more sensitive. I'm certainly more sensitive like you know I can cry at anything now but I…
S. Salis: I started like that when I was like 18, so now I just cry a lot.
A. Danzig: Yeah, well it's a decade I mean that's something that's happening to me more and more now, and I'm really loving that. I mean so much of it is sweetness, so much of it is just watching things happen between people, especially my kids, especially you know just like it's like, oh my god. It's just overwhelmingly beautiful and this is another discovery that has to do very much with this there seems to be the idea in the world that if I'm beautiful you are not. That there's a zero-sum game in beauty or in talent or in anything which actually creates community and what's real is that it's infinite, that there is infinite beauty in the world. And there's infinite talent and this is the subject of great crying for me. I just think it's so touching I've been especially with young girls and with women like this idea that there's a limited number amount of beauty in the world as a limited way of being beautiful, these are terrible ideas.
S. Salis: Do you attach these beliefs to any kind of inner growth, spiritual growth that you have been personally pursuing in your life?
A. Danzig: Yeah, I mean I do actually I think that, and again I mean so I can talk about 500 Clown as a spiritual path, these elements that there are elements of our lives which are not zero-sum. There is an unlimited amount of beauty, there's an unlimited amount of joy, there's an unlimited amount of sorrow that's interesting and I wouldn't know that necessarily if I hadn't really been focusing on that on where does it come from. And in kind of an improvisational and this is the genius of improvisation on some level is I don't have to decide how that's coming. I have to decide for instance a physical experience of if I light off 200 firecrackers on my crotch. I have to decide not to inhale when the smoke is thickest around my face because I won't get enough height because I did that and I didn't get enough oxygen and I fell down. But I don't have to decide if it's going to make me feel like I'm in despair or excited or angry or anything I can look out into the audience, and I can whoever I catch just deal with them. And that is going to give me the next moment like that's where that's the genesis of like, it's endless. If I'm co-creating it actually with the audience that I'm actually in the moment and that; that's endless, and it's not only endless but it also makes the audience essential and now there's a partnership and this feels like you know Greek theater but that's like one of the for me spiritual aspects of it.
S. Salis: Before we say goodbye I need to ask you one thing…
A. Danzig: Yeah.
S. Salis: Why are you fasting today?
A. Danzig: Oh, I started this many, many years ago
S. Salis: Once per week?
A. Danzig: Once per week was the idea.
S. Salis: I did it for a while…
A. Danzig: Yeah.
S. Salis: Anyways, go on, sorry.
A. Danzig: So, it started as just like and again I'm very physical just like it was a reset of my guts, and then I was like, oh this is interesting this is marking a week for me, a week is such a strange, slightly arbitrary thing, a month has a moon…
S. Salis: Right.
A. Danzig: A day has a sun, but a week is like what the…
S. Salis: That's true I never thought about in that sense you know I just learned that Japanese people have well the kanji for the moon is the month. Because it was for donor month so when you write that it's actually that and I literally just learned this and the day is the Kanji, the…
A. Danzig: For the Sun.
S. Salis: For the Sun, yes so, that makes it better but I don't know and that's probably because I'm ignorant about the meaning of a Kanji for a week if any…
A. Danzig: Yeah, I don’t know.
S. Salis: Anyways.
A. Danzig: And so, it starts to function a little like a Sabbath for me, like because one of the big things about eating is I often do it with people. So, when I'm being social you say, oh let's get together for lunch, let’s drink coffee…
S. Salis: That's right.
A. Danzig: So, we do these things around food, and for me, this is you know really important because especially if you come to my house or if we're having food together. And we're having the same food and we're really physically becoming…we're going to make ourselves out of the same stuff, right. We are going to actually…
S. Salis: Right, you are going to rebuild your body out of the same blocks.
A. Danzig: The actual things, right. So, we've become more, little like each other you know which is a beautiful thing to be doing as a friend, I think. And so absenting myself from that it was a little problematic for me, and so I had to think about why I would be doing that you know. Was this too selfish? It was a little way of cycling into what became kind of a little meditative space, a little like, oh let me… a lot of time I spend in this of exterior world and this is more interior day. Just so, that was actually how it began, and then it went on, and on, and on and I did four years and then when my kids were little too old and I couldn't take the day of not eating I couldn't.
S. Salis: Yes.
A. Danzig: I couldn't not have that in diet that comfort because it turns out like so I'm back in it now, and it's hard for me still between like noon and 3: 00 especially if I'm around food. And I do a lot of food preparation in my house and so I'm preparing food for other people, and I'm not eating it and that's the whole discipline.
S. Salis: Are you working on any new shows now?
A. Danzig: I'm directing now.
S. Salis: What are you directing?
A. Danzig: I'm directing what was written as a two-person Robin Hood, an adventure stage which is a theater for young audiences contract, so I'm messing with it of course. What's interesting about this British legend to a bunch of inner-city kids you know what do they know about any kind of 500 clown way you know the question is like, oh what do they know about Robin Hood? Do they rob from the rich and give to the poor? Does that mean anything? Is it true? Is it from a position of power? Is it a white guy's idea? Is it a British guys idea? Like in this show as written it's important because it's written for two actors and there's 18 characters, so the accents are going to be important, and so as written there are all different parts of Britain. We start rehearsal, and it starts October 20th and goes through Thanksgiving and I'm messing with it. I I'm making it into two, so it's written as it as two characters and it's written as two guys, two blokes as they say in England. And I'm adding a third actor because I think I'm interested in how the play can interact with and kind of add to the conversation about the gender binary being challenged. And when you have two; two is such an exciting and great number for theatre because it's you know, it's like great conflict…
S. Salis: In your great conflict duality.
A. Danzig: But I've got this but these dualities are for the most part created, they're fake. You know there isn't black and white only, there are colors and gray, right, like there's and so I'm interested so I actually thought of like male and female for me was a pretty hearty duality was lasting for a long time and it's…
S. Salis: Now you changed your perspective?
A. Danzig: It's in decline.
S. Salis: It's in decline in your brain…
A. Danzig: It’s in decline; it’s running away, it's different. I mean, you know part of it for me is you know I have a lot of friends who have kids who are or dazed you know. I'm interested to see how that plays out for them because like I think it might just be that I think it might be that there's a 10-year period where the…
S. Salis: Events take place…
A. Danzig: Of course we're like I don't want to be any of these things I'd like to be all of these things, and then maybe there's a time when and for other people you know I'm yeah, this is me or that's me or like I'm dumb. I'm not in this but I'm wrong in this body you know all these things exist, and I'm really excited about that. And there's something communal and kind of spiritually communal about at the base of Robin Hood, you know at the base of Robin Hood it's the state which is a zero-sum game. And there's hunger and then there is this band of people who come together who are all a little off balance, and who are trading something which is like when they give something they get more. I think that's the bridge from the original Robin Hood to the audience now…
S. Salis: To the version [39: 10 inaudible].
A. Danzig: Yeah.
S. Salis: So, known dualistic, known monastic, gender spectrum fluid revision of Robin Hood with marginalized communities next October by Adrian Danzig.
A. Danzig: Nice; nice. All right.
S. Salis: Thank you so much for being here and having a conversation with me. Thank you so much for being here today.
A. Danzig: Thank you.
S. Salis: Adrian Danzig makes the audience think through physical work and body movement he founded a theatre company called 500 Clown producing shows at the Goodman Theatre, The Steppenwolf, The Second City, Berkeley Rep and much more. You can find the next days of his performances visiting the website 500clown.com