Who: Tomas Kubinek
When: Saturday, April 1, 7 p.m.
Where: MY Millennium Place
The 16 th Century had medieval court fools. The 18 th Century had commedia Del’Arte. The 20 th Century had vaudeville. And for the 21 st Century there’s the Master of the Impossible Tomas Kubinek, who combines a bit of each into his circus-like, comedy-infused, craziness.
"The art form of someone being funny for the people has very deep roots in most cultures and is ever present throughout time," said the entertainer who enjoyed a sold-out run on Broadway.
"Because we humans have the sort of brains we do, we need laughter and absurdity to let us see things in a different way and to constantly gain new freedom and open eyes and open heart. Vaudeville, commedia Del’Arte, medieval court fools, and today’s clowns and comedians of all stripes are all part of this deep important societal function."
The former Prague native, who was smuggled out of the country to escape the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, witnessed his first circus in Canada at the age of five.
"I liked the bright lights and animals and the fact that people were doing amazing, wonderful things and were making other people laugh and clap, and that this was a possible way to live a life," he recounted.
Four years later, he was performing magic and silliness at birthday parties and old folks homes. He moved on to street performances and nightclubs and finally circuses and now theatres, accumulating more than 31 years under his balancing wine glass routine.
Sometimes he is literally flying around the stage with wings, reminiscent of what the Wright brothers may have concocted, while other times he is balancing a wine glass on his forehead while playing the ukulele and then back arching down to the ground and flipping himself over backwards. Visit www.kubinek.com to see snippets of his show.
Craziness leads the way and a wake of accolades follows.
The New York Times praised his work as "Absolutely expert!"
The Irish Times stated: "His very appearance has the audience giggling uncontrollably before he even opens his mouth. Mr. Kubinek is a charmer – sweet and funny – and the combination left us all silly-putty in his hands. Catch him when he returns, as surely he must!"
From New York’s Broadway to London’s Royal Festival Hall, Kubinek has doubled audiences over in laughter with slapstick humor and bizarre physical feats dubbing him a certified lunatic.
"I am always thinking of new things and usually get ad-libbed during a performance or I go off on some fun riff," he said of his creative process. "Other stuff I see as a visual idea and then develop it, like for instance the six shoes contraption was first drawn on a beer coaster in Belgium and was then developed and built over several months."
When Kubinek isn’t performing solo, he has involved himself in numerous other projects, including television specials with Czech National Television, guerilla-style absurdist theatre sketches at the HBO Workspace in Los Angeles, theatre such as Time Out Magazine’s #1 Critic’s Choice production of Moose, and he has also performed with the U.S. Circus Flora – where he masterminded an elephant kidnapping and plummeted 40 feet into the ring after fencing off with Tino Wallenda on the high-wire.
"My performances are straight from the well of my own humour and spirit and so my human growth parallels the development of my work," he said. "I’m more concerned about what can be done about much of the violence and stupidity on our planet and so my humour and craziness act as a medicine for my own soul and hopefully the seeds of that are passed on to audiences and have a butterfly effect in the jungle."
The evening is fun suitable for the whole family.
Tickets for the Performance Series show are $20 for adults, $17 for students and seniors, and $10 for children. Note the early 7 p.m. show time. Call 604-935-8410 for tickets.