An interview with...
The Mighty Caesar
A creation from the mind of Caesar a Melbourne producer and physical theatre performer.
Where did your interest in performance begin?
My interest in performing was a gradual one. I have always been a visual artist, working with paints and other drawing mediums, as well as being interested in film and story telling.
In 2006 I made the leap and slowly started to work in film and TV. Using my body through performing to tell stories. It was a fun transition to bring my skills of telling stories on a canvas and adapting them to start working with my body as the medium.
That was also the time I started working in the circus, exploring the different ways the body can move and express, it's sucked me deep down this rabbit hole of movement that i have no plans on leaving.
All of this I feel comes out in my work, I like to start from the visual aspect of the body on stage and how all the interactions and movements create a story that the audience interprets and engages with.
Whats been a highlight of your performance career to date?
I have a pretty amazing highlight reel - Too many to count. Performing in an arena with 15,000 people cheering, doing a solo show in an intimate room with 3 people, having audiences burst into applause and feeling their energy after doing some of my acts.
A good one was performing in japan doing butoh with the amazing company Dairakudakan. We were dancing under a full moon with
the hakuba hills in the background; I was covered in gold body paint and there was a slight mist in the air. I remember pretty vividly at one point in the show realising where I was and what was happening and feeling like “is this real?”.
That was a magical moment.
You’ve got a pretty strenuous workout routine - What’s your tips for building the body for performing and partner based acrobatics?
I guess the first thing that comes to mind is make sure that whatever you do it must bring you joy; you have to enjoy it so you can stick with it.
I do a number of things that interest me and that make me happy to do on a day to day basis, and that is constantly shifting and changing. As I explore new movements or my goals change, and so I adapt my training to fit all of that; and because I enjoy it I get that added emotional and mental boost, whenever i do it, this is key.
The second which everyone should do, especially when building a body for stage and performance, is to work on their awareness and clarity of what they are doing at all times. We as performers need to know and understand, which then leads to our ability to manipulate our bodies. This starts in our awareness. How much attention do I give to what I am doing? Do i know where all the tension in my body is? Can I release it at will? Can I contort and move my body into any shape I wish? Can I breathe in those positions?
The lifetime journey is to have all the answers become yes because now we have options on stage - if I am unaware of tension in my shoulders, for example, then every character i play will always have closed small shoulders and hard movements with my arms. But if i become aware of that and learn to control it then I can decide as the performer whether this character has tight shoulders. Whether in
this moment if my arm movements should be soft or hard, etc.
If you could train any animal to do acrobatics with you (with their enthusiastic consent) what animal would it be?
Some type of bear - Like a big sun bear. I would climb all over it and we would be doing circus, acrobatics, moving together, flips, rolling and handstands. Ill pick it up and it can stand on my shoulders - then at night we can sleep and they can keep me warm.
It will be great.
Does your art draw inspiration from any particular styles or historical periods?
There is no one style or period I draw from. I am constantly inspired by everything i take in - books, films, history, art and music. There is so much to experience which is why I allow at the start of any project time to explore and work through different mediums. Get inspiration, learn about other artists and get my creative juices flowing. There are so many amazing people out there doing their work telling their stories, it's an honor for me to use them as launching pads for my own work to go further and deeper into unknown territories. I am where I am today only because of all the amazing people who have come before me, who laid the groundwork so that I can be here.
If you could clone yourself multiple times what kind of shenanigans would you get up to?
If I could clone myself, I would be unstoppable. I would do everything and chase all my ideas just to see where they end up. I will do a show of just me doing all types of crazy stunts, partner acrobatics and circus.
The productivity I would be capable of would be astounding. I will change the world to suit my clone image. Hahaha.
There are a number of things that we do for others that we can never truly experience for ourselves - So I would give myself a massage to know what its like to receive one from me.
What fascinates you the most about partner based adagio?
I love the collaboration of working with another person or group of people. They always surprise you with their ideas and contributions. It is so amazing what people can come up with when they bounce their creativity together. Different people bring out different energies and feelings which lead down different roads. It is so much fun to explore that and to see what comes. We might start off with an idea or a destination but the journey will take so many twists and where we end up can be totally unrecognizable. This then becomes amplified ten fold when you have an audience watching, they bring their own stories and ideas which gets filtered to what they are experiencing on stage making the original performers moving become magical - Other worldly.
The Mighty Caesars acts seem to be getting wilder and weirder - What do you see as the future of the work you’ll be creating?
Thank you. I have no idea what the future will bring.
I do know we are on the cusp of a major shift across the arts sector especially with whats happening globally and I see major changes happening, but where they lead and what road I go down is anybody's guess. All I can say is I am looking forward to lots of fun new collaborations with awesome artists. Fun new shows touring and maybe at some point a physical theatre family; a group of people who all want to be together, creating, sharing stories and performing together.
Would The Mighty Caesar be more suited to 400 years in the past or 400 years in the future?
I would probably have to go with the future, cause lets be honest if i was around 400 years ago I would probably have been burned at the stake hahaha.
But the future, coming into the space age and exploring the universe! It will be the best of both worlds - visiting new species and places while getting to learn and see all these new technologies and information. Our culture will become a mix blend of everything, a global culture, it will be awesome to see how we change and grow, and be able to share that in new artistic forms - Dance in front of nebulas, have whole star systems for a back drop of a space opera and float in the void. Emptiness and the darkness surrounds as we scream into the chasm... ahhhh the possibilities.
Why is art important?
Art is important cause it is our creative need and right of expression. We are all born to create and express our lives and art is a manifestation of that. The moment we told our tribes people that "I saw a thing in the grass and it made my heart thump" - art was created. When we step away from purely functional and make something a little more interesting and to give our stamp, art is there. Nature is beautiful, artistic and creative - It is our duty to emulate that and be just as creative. Its what gives us music, Entertainment, clothing, food and our stories that we tell each other.
Art is important because it is the basis of our humanity reaching across space and trying to share our experience with one another.
Art is the little things we do on a day to basis to make our world better.