May 3, 2010

“Opposable Thumbs” – link to violence?

And now for something completely different…

This is a mime piece I performed at the Laughing Goat Coffee House on Pearl Street in Boulder, CO.  The performance was at a “C.R.A.B.” event – a feeder for the Boulder International Fringe Festival.  I originally wrote the sketch in the summer of 1994.   I recruited the multi-talented Jose-Maria Ramas to be my partner in the  duet.  Unfortunately, people’s heads block some of the action in this video.   In those moments, I’m either looking at my thumb or discovering ways to use it (the first being self-pleasuring).  Also, the people in the audience “jumped the gun” and clapped too early.

The piece is a sort of morality play and parable intended to explore some of the roots of human violence.  Our capacity to inflict harm on each other is greatly enhanced by our having evolved opposable thumbs.  With that development in our hands, we have the increased ability to use and manipulate tools – and tragically, weapons were apparently among the first tools that humans created.

I’m curious what you all think about the role of opposable thumbs in human violence, potential links between male sexuality and violence, and/or the role of mimesis (“monkey see, monkey do”) in teaching violence.

Note: While I received 3 weeks of training at the Goldston School of Mime in the summer of 1994, I’m not a professional mime or performance artist by any means.

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