Page 12                                                     Summer 1989






Have you ever wondered...

is walking on air just an expression? If a 600 pound man flaps his arms, will he fly? Was Superman a chubby child? Fred Garbo answers all of these questions and more when he steps info the phone booth and emerges as... it's a bird... it's a plane... no, it's Fred "Zeplin" Garbo, the inflatable man! Latch onfor the laugh of your life as he takes you into the stratosphere of comedy with his latest creation, the biggest and newest New Vaudevillian of them all to bounce on the scene.


"I actually don't do jobs, I do adventures -- and that's a lot of work!"


Fred Garbo views his chosen profession as one adventure after another -- touring the world making people smile.


My most recent conversation with Garbo is as he is rehearsing in Westerly, R.I., for "Twelfth Night," a community pageant celebrating the Christmas season that also involved performance artists Randy Judkins and Tom Murphy. They provide the general mirth for this show, playing the part of Elizabethan-style court jesters in a bygone era.


Garbo, 34, considers himself always in partnership with his audiences and approaches every show, workshop, performance and personal project with a willingness to work for something special with the audience. That attitude wins him friends and smiles everywhere.


The 1989 season is packed with a performance tour covering Canada, Italy, the United States and Australia, Garbo said. His travels include shows with Intemational Children's Festival, the New England New Vaudeville Review and the International Comedy Festival, to name a few.


A demanding tour schedule and the desire to remain a contemporary performance artist has Garbo determined that his work not be hung on anyone peg. Instead he searches constantly for new, exciting technique to bring the smiles to his audiences. "It's great to make people laugh, but even better to make them smile," says the juggler who performs relentlessly.


You may be watching Garbo perform regularly and not even know it! For five seasons now he has brought to life Barkley the Dog, one of Jim Henson's most lovable and active characters in the acclaimed Children's Television Workshop show, "Sesame Street." As a huge orange and white shaggy sheep dog, Garbo woofs, prances, barks and scratches in an incredi­bly realistic portrayal.


Hours and hours observing the antics and physical vocabulary of a dog have gone into the interpretation of Barkley. Garbo prides himself on the characterization because of the intense professional preparation required to honestly and realistically play the part of a dog. The physical demands of the immense costume present a challenge to Garbo as well, forcing him to stay in top condition to operate it.


Garbo is serving as the guest artist-in­residence with our local community theatre, teaching circus technique to cast members of the amateur production of the Broadway hit musical, "Barnum." Garbo was an original Broadway cast member and chief juggler, and he now teaches workshops in juggling, magic, acrobatics, slap­stick, mime and new age theatre.


Besides traveling with the techniques seminar, he hosts a summer workshop in June near his home in Norway, Maine, called "Antic Arts Workshop" with magician Leeland Faulkner.


Garbo terms his teaching method "experiential education," because he simply guides students to an exploration of their own instinctive abilities. Whether it be twisting balloons into animal shapes, juggling scarves or imitating a chicken through the art of mime, he encourages taking a chance on yourself. Students almost always discover new personal capabilities, opening new avenues of personal development. Garbo applies this same method of gentle, but persistent nudging to his own constant search for better and better performances.

Fred Garbo, New Age Vaudevillian

Fred Garbo, New Age Vaudevillian, a man of many characters.

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