Page 19 Winter 1986
Ask the Professional
by Frank Oliver
How long should you date a woman before you tell her you juggle?
Anytime, but never tell her what you juggle!
One of the biggest problems I have is one of performing under bright spot lights, or other bright stage lighting. Is there a trick to it?
can be difficult, but there are things you can do to minimize these
difficulties: 1) Don't blind yourself by looking into the lights. Many
new performers get on stage and stare into the lights because they are
so bright. 2) While juggling choose a dark spot on the ceiling or back
wall as your point of focus. Don't stare into the lights. 3) Request
side and/or back lighting when first arranging to do the show. This
can be part of a requirements sheet attached to the contract. Have a
rehearsal at which you check the lighting. Remember, you don't check
the lights by staring into them. 4) Some performers carry their own
small side lights to set up in the wings. If you do set up side lights
be sure not to stare into them. 5) Bring along sunglasses. With a good
pair of sunglasses you can stare right into the lights.
Several friends and myself felt that your column name itself was a bit pretentious... My question: What makes you call yourself a professional?
often ask me that, and I feel the mere fact that people like you are
coming to me with questions like yours, qualifies me as a
I understand that Ben Decker out of San Diego is performing the neck catch with a bowling ball, how does he do it?
don't feel qualified to answer that but I'm sure his orthopedic
surgeon would be glad to answer your questions.
Four of us are just starting to learn club passing formations but often have problems in a number of areas. We are too poor to attend the conventions and learn it right.
Juggling Farm Hands
some tips: 1) Elect one person leader, preferably someone
who can juggle and who everyone in the pattern can see, and it becomes
each jugglers responsibility to keep their timing matched with his/her
lead. 2) Space yourselves properly and adjust each others positioning.
Many patterns don't work simply because of improper spacing. 3) Before
starting to pass, or after a number of frustrating drops, it can be
very helpful to all juggle in time (or in sync) with each other,
without passing, staying together by listening to the sound of
everyone juggling and adjusting to match the leader. 4) Concentrate
only on your own throws. It sounds silly but if everyone does it it
can make a pattern work. The overall rule is "there are no bad
catches... only bad throws" 5) When all else fails blame someone
else. Alas... there is no simple cure for the age old problem of
"too many people and not enough talent."
One of the most embarrassing things is to drop in front of other jugglers. Do you have any funny quips to use for this awkward situation?
important than a funny quip is a good believable excuse. Some excuses
fit a large number of difficulties: "These aren't my clubs, I can
do it fine with my clubs" (This of course can be adapted to
whatever you are juggling.) Overall I prefer customized excuses to the
individual situation. "These are new clubs and the handles are
slippery." "I can't
kickups in these shoes." For headrolls or headspins "I
just got a haircut."
assured, with a little creativity there's never any reason to take the
blame yourself for your own inadequacies.
(Frank Olivier is a professional comedian and juggler from Berkeley, California)