Post amazes himself, audience with performances

Whatever it is that Robert Post does, he's been doing it for 40 years -- and it's time to celebrate.

Actor, mime, juggler, comedian, puppeteer -- you'd need a list as long as one of Post's lanky arms to tally up the titles that don't fit on a business card. Even Post's best effort -- "one-man variety show" -- doesn't quite capture it.

"It's something I can tell people and it makes them happy. It doesn't cover it, but it's good enough," Post told The Beat.

Like many before us, we decided to give it a whirl as well, and came up with the inadequate "street performing meets sketch comedy."

Post's initial forays into performing were fostered by a fascination with mime (Marcel Marceau, in particular) and absurdist theater, both developed while he was a student at Ohio State University. Marrying the two meant testing the limits of physicality and the boundaries of storytelling.

"When I first learned how to juggle three balls, I was astonished," Post said.

Post now leaves the audience astonished with his feats of physical dexterity, developed, he explained, as mechanisms to crafts his set pieces.

"The material drives the physical. Stuff leads me, not the other way around. So I have these 'It would be great if ... Can I do this? Is it possible?' (moments). Some pieces take years, some take months, none take weeks."

"Rolling a plate down my arm (from one hand to the other, both arms extended) -- that takes one second. It took eight months to learn how to do it."

The plate bit is featured in Post's Pasquale's Kitchen, a piece that's less cooking and more juggling, plate-spinning and other feats of coordination and dexterity. In all, Post has 23 set pieces, scenes in which he plays any number of characters, all of them at once, while manipulating both a variety of props and his still-cooperative body.

"There are very few things I've taken out of the show. I always say I'll do this until I'm dead or until my body says it's had enough."

Post explained that throughout his career, his focus has been on developing a craft, not trying to "amaze or impress," and that each of his works "came from a fire in the belly." That's why he's both excited and disquieted about the upcoming 40th-anniversary shows.

"I have too much material," he said.

"I'm bringing back a couple things, like Just Another Head (Note: look it up), but I'd like to bring back more."

At the same time, Post said he's "never been more excited" for a show. For 30 years, he has been making video shorts that capture, in snippets, interesting, odd and everyday characters Post encounters as he travels the world doing his shows. He said he's never used his video pieces in his live show, but a recent focus on the video bits convinced him the time was right.

"I have that same fire in my belly now for video. It's become part of my art form."

In the end, marking his 40th anniversary as a performer with shows in his hometown is well worth the extra effort.

"If you would have told me when I started that I'd have enough material to do a solo show, I would not have believed you. And if you'd told me that my body would take it for 40 years -- so far, so good. I'm more amazed than anybody."

Doubtful. Let's wait and see after the shows.

Robert Post celebrates his 40th anniversary with two special performances Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, at the Lincoln Theatre. Tickets are $25/$30. Visit capa.com.

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