Congress Street in Portland Maine was closed to car traffic for 3 hours last Friday Evening for the the First Friday Art Walk. It was mostly glorious. There were circus performers, marimba players, guitar players, drummers with buckets, fire eaters, and roving artists. I was one of the roving artists: one of two "official" roving artists according the First Friday Art Walk (Portland, Maine) Converge listing. I wandered Congress Street with my black box. I guess I have come to terms that I am basically a mime when I perform this piece but with a major exception: I am NOT the cliche mime.
The why I do this piece is to observe human interaction. Last Friday showed me some pretty horrible acting humans as well as some pretty amazing ones.
The horrible were the packs of roving self entitled adolescents. These children ended up chasing me up Center Street threatening to push me over, pull off my wig and steal all my stuff. They finally stopped after I broke character and screamed "Get the fuck away from me you little shits!"
Although my husband was nearby I felt very scared. I made it very clear to these children that I did not want to interact with them but they seemed to think that because I existed they could harangue, threaten and chase me. They were very horrid creatures.
What troubles me most is that I had the ability to break character and use my verbal skills to make them leave me alone. I also had my husband as back-up. What if I was unable to create verbalized language? What if I was alone and no one would help me? These are problems that lots of folks face and the children who chased me had no clue that they were acting totally inappropriately. The chances of them hurting me if I had less privilege would be pretty high.
One of the amazing things was an interaction two young children who had asked kindly (with no verbal language) to see what was in my box. The woman caring for these children asked if she could take a picture with the three of us. Of course I nodded. The youngest child was placed on the ground, locked my eyes and climbed through my skirts to hug me. She was unafraid of my visage and seemed to appreciate my quiet.
After the two young girls got their bubbles, I was able to watch them dancing after the bubbles that their caretaker blew down the road. Their giggles mixed with the music from the square and was one of the most beautiful sounds I heard that evening. Thank you, little ones.