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  • rileysoloner

Look Me In My Stupid Face

I love the hybrid feeling of letdown and intrigue when you discover, duh, that’s not their real name. And I love performance that blurs the line between audience and performer.

  • Street performance

  • Audience participation

  • The Cats are dancing IN THE AISLES!!!

  • Back when we couldn’t be seen in the same car because they really thought we hated each other’s guts.

I’ve felt most alive as an artist when I’m combining these two loves.

  • Humanitarian clown trip to remote villages

  • Fictional character performing a one-man show

  • Cult milk religion

  • Refusing to break character after the cameras stop rolling

I feel a kind of "extra credit" when I can surprise audiences with a deep level of commitment to a dumb bit, bring the unexpected to a liminal space, break the fourth wall by venturing out (or inviting in), or hold direct eye contact with one audience member at a time.

It’s difficult to get excited about doing it again because I’m paranoid about COVID. Not a great time to create opportunity for people to get up in my face. I have a street clowning idea I’ve been sitting on for two years. I did it once and it went well. Anyway.

This is my genre. It’s flexible enough to make it work in a theatre, the street, a TV studio. It's enriched by the other mediums I dabble in. It rhymes with my creative heroes’ work. There are things I’ve done in character that I never would have found the courage to do “as me.” There is a "no going back" quality to embodying a character. Knowing that the only acceptable move is to remain committed and creative, rather than to pop the balloon and drop the bit. “We’re live, pal!”

When I’m playing, the persona has rules. It’s easier to make a game move in the character’s shoes. As Riley, presented the same situation, I can trip myself up. I don’t know how to react. Which version of Riley do I need to be? What would that even mean?

Persona : Riley’s voice :: Amplifier and effects pedals : Guitar.

Sense of humor, imagination and point of view are modified and projected further through a character. I take in encouragement from others who rhyme in my genre. I love watching regular people performing larger than life feats, exuding supreme confidence while looking or behaving like a buffoon. Rolling with the punches and remaining consistent when something unplanned occurs. The magic trick of making people believe in your persona transforms doubt and derision into awe.

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