Aaron Landsman – Practices of Belonging

Ron Vawter

Here are some of my favorite words about performing, by the late Ron Vawter, in conversation with the current Tim Etchells:

Tim Etchells: What’s the pleasure of performing for you?

Ron Vawter: I think it’s the concentration of…people on stage – like I’m suspended in this very powerful force-field and I’m sort of riding it like a rodeo. It’s exhilarating.

Wait. I know what it’s like. It’s exactly like surfboarding and you’ve got this board which is your character or the play that you’re doing and you’re riding these waves coming at you from the audience and from the play itself. Of course when you surfboard you’re extraordinarily sensitive ot the motion of those waves and of course you know I’m a show off, I’m an actor, so, I try to do little tricks – zip into the water, go across the wave and move up on the board, move down on the board. As far as the energy feels that’s exactly what it’s like. And I’ve learned how to ride the waves. I’ve done it a long time you know and I’ve learned the little tricks of the waves and the back currents and how to stay up. Sometimes I really feel like quite a champion surfboarder…

Tim Etchells: Very much…

Ron Vawter: And sometimes I fall flat on my face in the water. That’s the risk of surfboarding.

–From the book Certain Fragments.


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