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Best Performance Advice I’ve Ever Gotten


Mario Brufau & Me in "Music Box" 1998

I got some sad news this evening. Paul J. Curtis, founder of The American Mime Theater, of which I was a member for several years, died yesterday. I’m truly sad to hear it because, while Paul was the most candid and brutally honest director I have ever had (I cried at least once a rehearsal), he gave me some of the most valueable instruction of my career. Quite a bit isn’t sharable here, just the ins and outs of physical performance in the moment, but here is one thing I can pass on to you, and I hope you find as useful as I have.

Posit – to put something somewhere firmly.

EVERYTHING you do on the stage must be “posited”; you have to look like you meant to do it. Every movement. Every gesture. Everything is deliberate. That means that there is no such thing as a transition – the transition IS the move. Raise an arm to grab the rope? Posited. Wrap the silks around your leg? POSITED. Whack your head on the wheel? Yup – totally meant to do that. There is no movement wasted, no indulgent “noodling” around – you must move like you mean it.

In Paul’s memory, I challenge you to take one phrase of choreography, or an entire piece if you’re feeling ambitious, and make every single solitary moment deliberate and conscious, even if it should look casual. How far can you get? It takes practice, but you’ll know it when you do it, and you’ll recognize it when you see it – it looks like magic. RIP Paul, your work lives on in countless luscious, full, posited moments. Love always, Laura

Mario Brufrau, Paul J. Curtis, Dale Fuller


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3 comments on “Best Performance Advice I’ve Ever Gotten”

  1. Jeanie Reply

    I just found out about Paul Curtis’ death. Does anyone know what happened or where he’s buried?? Or any memorials? He was my instructor at AADA
    Thank you.

    • Lewitwer Reply

      Jeanie – try facebook messaging Jean Barbour, she has all the information and I’m sure would be delighted to hear from you!

    • Jean Callovini Barbour Reply

      I too was a grad of AADA in 1960, where I first had a class with Paul and then later to the studio to study with him and then on to be a Company Member to perform with The American Mime Theatre.
      Please do be a friend on Facebook with me; I often put up things about Paul and if you are still in NYC come to the studio and see a class.

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