> school’s talent show (in March) We were hoping to ride our unis and
> juggle. But neither of us can ride and juggle really, much less idle and
> juggle or pass juggle (killer)
Definitely work on the skills, as described in the many helpful posts. If
you aim for passing and it’s not ready by show time, you can still do
something a little more solid, like juggling while riding.
Passing on unicycles will take a good bit of practice to get solid enough
for a one-time show. You want it to work. Because you’re on unicycles,
it’s harder to pick up your props if you drop them (unless it’s part of
your act, see below). You really want it to work. For this to be true, you
should be able to do whatever your main “big” skill is, at least three
times in a row, flawlessly. For a professional act that number would be
ten, but three is okay for this type of situation. Less than three? You’re
going to mess up in the show.
Doing your skills without mistakes is a lot to hope for because of two
things, the timeframe between now and the show, and the fact that (I’m
assuming) you’re not used to being in front of an audience. Before I was
used to being onstage, my adrenaline level in shows would be much higher,
to the point where I had less control over my fine motor skills. Lots of
power, but less control. Considering that and other factors, assume that
you will be “under duress” in the actual show and keep that in mind.
So unless you can do your passing routine three times out of three, I
would leave it out. Unless the audience is on your side. If they’re
having fun watching you ride and juggle, including drops and dismounts
(laughing with you but not at you), You can get away with anything. But
this can be hard to achieve, especially in a school show with your own
fellow students. For many people, watching a juggler is like watching auto
racing. You’re not necessarily there to see a crash, but somewhere in the
back of your mind you know it would be interesting to watch. A
non-sympathetic audience member watching a juggling act is waiting for you
to drop. So you have to either be perfect, or get past the drops.
In the shows I used to do with the National Circus Project, some or all
members of our audience were going to be learning to juggle later, so this
was built into the show. We would often start off by showing somebody
trying to juggle for the first time, thinking nobody was watching. Lots of
drops and “wrong” patterns, and laughs. The idea being to tell our
audiences that it’s okay to drop, and getting them used to the idea. Much
of our performing was based on a concept that ‘In life we try to do
amazing things, but they don’t work every time,’ echoing what happens
every day to kids in school. You try and you sometimes fail, but you have
to keep on trying.
As for me, I only did the “main” juggling in a show if I was the
only one in
it. I consider my juggling to be at a bare “survival level” for
performing. But somehow I would often fool my audiences by starting
off with the basics and working my way up.
For you in your show, consider comedy. People like to see unicyclists
falling off, or jugglers dropping. But do it when you want, not when
they want. Build it into the act and you can have a lot of fun. Have some
interaction between the two of you where you don’t necessarily agree on
what you’re supposed to be doing, which can lead to props into the side of
the head, etc.
One thing we often did in shows was what we called the “Flying Zucchini
Brothers” act. Two performers are introduced as amazing unicyclists.
Fast-paced music starts up. The two performers enter, from opposite sides
of the stage (a backstage area is required for this). They either circle
around once, or preferably, ride straight toward each other, with one hand
reaching out like they’re going to grab on and spin around. Remember most
people don’t understand how you can ride a unicycle, let alone turn one.
So they expect you to grab hands and go around. But you miss. As you pass
each other, look astonished and surprised. Your one hand is still sticking
out in front of you. Look back, forward, back, and ride thru the curtain
off the side of the stage. Back there, you have a bunch of folding chairs
or other noisy objects, that you knock down or crash into each other,
making as much noise as possible.
Greg Milstein did this act in our shows in Singapore, riding off into a
tiny curtained area at each end of our outdoor stage and dropping big
cookpots full of broken pieces of china. Loud crashes! We actually did
this at two points in the show (worse noises the second time), until we
finally linked up the third time, which turned into a little two-man
intro to my unicycle act. Easy and fun. You can combine stuff like this
with your skills, which will make the audience more amazed that you can
Above I mentioned drops from the unicycle. If you can pick up your
props while riding, you should definitely include it because it amazes
audiences. Again, the drops can be built into the act, with a
discusion about why it’s on the floor and, if you were passing, who’s
fault it was, etc.
Have fun, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone firstname.lastname@example.org
“455 newsgroup messages in a year is only 1.24 per day…” - John Foss,
trying to explain to his wife