Every Sunday afternoons the Centre Georges Pompidou is a mecca for interesting activities. There are always street performers, artists, jugglers, pickpockets, and police swarming around. I was on the side embankment taking photos of the square when a street performer took charge of a piece of the square and started setting up for his show. Wanting to get a little closer for his show, I moved to the lower level. As I stood there taking photos, the performer motioned to me to come sit in the front (he had previously placed a rope on the ground to indicate the edge of his stage). I sat down and watched as he set up his presentation. The performer soon started looking out on the growing audience apparently looking for participants in his show. I had no idea what his show was about as he came up and motioned me to stand and join him on his “stage.” He only spoke French so he communicated to me in sign language. I joined three other audience members from Korea, France, and Italy.
His performance was an improvisational comedy skit that involved a loose story line about making a movie of a young girl finding her love after having to escape from the evil Asian kidnapper. I was the goofy American movie producer. You get the picture – stereotypes, double entendre, slapstick, ethnic jokes, general public taunting, and a hilarious fun for all. The show lasted for about 30 minutes and the crowd eventually numbered a couple of thousand. The comic had each of us do stupid stunts so we would make fools out of ourselves. The four of us didn’t care and did everything he wanted us to do. The comic had the Korean guy do karate tricks, the pretty French girl be the sexy love interest, the Italian guy was the lover, and I was the silly American movie producer.
The comic set the stage for each scene of the movie and when he called my name I had to “prance” across the square and snap the movie board and yell “action” to start the scene.
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Crazy comic setting up his “stage,” note the rope.
Getting my first public acting lesson – note silly directors hat.
Scene 1, ACTION!
The cast of characters taking a group bow.
Taking my separate bow as the silly movie director.
I know you are going to do a trick on me.
Personal thanks from the host.