CLASSICAL CLOWN REVIEW
March 16-22, 2008
El Paso Inc., El Paso, Texas
THE MIME WANTS TO CONDUCT THE ORCHESTRA!
By Betty Ligon
Dan Kamin tours the country mixing comedy with classical music. In "The Classical Clown" he played the part of a goofy janitor who wandered onstage as Maestro Benjamin Loeb was conducting the first of a classical menu that included pieces by Stravinsky, Grieg, Strauss and others. When Kamin began hammering on the floor, Loeb could stand no more. He stopped the music and scolded the intruder.
From there the concert went to pieces, literally. Kamin divested himself of his overalls and a realistic flesh-colored mask, revealing himself to be the Classical Clown himself--a musical mime intent on capturing Loeb's baton and conducting the orchestra.
The fun immediately became physical, as Loeb and the mime wrestled over control of the baton. Between Loeb's frustrated attempts to regain control over the concert, he exchanged heated conversation with the mime--and did it perfectly. Loeb told me later that he had to learn 138 lines of script for the show.
Although the action seemed impromptu, the entire show was written by Kamin. He proved to be a fantastic mime and had the audience laughing all the way. He even performed the Michael Jackson moonwalk.
There were all sorts of clever antics, including hypnotizing each other and the mime dancing to a Strauss waltz with a realistic rag doll.
The El Paso Symphony musicians got into the act as well, occasionally rising on cue to shout their lines.
Light effects added to the show's magic, even going dark at one time, requiring musicians to play by the light on their music stands.
After the show Kamin broke his silence for a lively question and answer session with the audience, revealing himself to be a handsome young man with a great talent at showing children that classical music is fun to hear, even without the histrionics.
CLASSICAL CLOWN EDITORIAL
February 6, 2003
West Essex Tribune, Livingston, New Jersey
A WONDERFUL CONCERT
The Livingston Symphony Orchestra is an unsung gem. Under the leadership of Istvan Jaray, Sunday's Young People's Concert was as professional an event as anything you would see in New York, and far less expensive. It was thoroughly enjoyable for all ages, not just children. Comedian Dan Kamin is a marvelous mime--as skilled as the silent screen stars Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, on whose work Kamin bases his routines. And the chemistry between Kamin and the usually serious Istvan Jaray was wonderful. It certainly seemed as though Jaray was thoroughly enjoying himself. Even though his lines were scripted, he delivered them with just the right lilt to allow the audience to believe he was being spontaneous.
Kamin's timing was perfect and even a crying child in the audience didn't fluster him. He worked it right into his routine without missing a beat. He involved the audience and they seemed to love it. But even more importantly, his fluid movements all reflected the rhythm and liquid beauty of the music being played behind him. The audience never forgot that this was a concert by superbly talented musicians--not just a comedy routine. But while they were watching the comedian, the youngsters were also being exposed to music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Grieg, Rossini, Beethoven and Strauss, among others.
One young man proudly pointed out to his mother each instrument in the orchestra and the rapture on his face as the music floated out to the audience at Livingston High School was indescribable. He was entranced, amazed, and fascinated.
Livingston is fortunate to have this gem of an orchestra, a gift that we must not take for granted. Only days after this marvelous concert, NJ governor James McGreevey announced major cutbacks to the arts. We hope that the Livingston Symphony Orchestra finds a way to continue bringing beautiful music to our ears and to our children.