Claire Patton

Physical Theater Mojo

Artist Statement

My mission as an artist is to create engaging and original physical theater:  to entertain and inspire audiences with authentic performances that illuminate the poetry of the human condition.

Story is the playground of the human heart.  By creating original, bold, and stirring theater we play with our audience.  Inspiration comes in many forms:  paintings, fable, opera, pop culture, nature, politics, puppetry, myth, sculpture, and music.  My work is rooted in a profound connection to the body and what it reveals:  themes that we delight in, but also those we keep hidden.  When we navigate these uncharted waters, connections emerge from the deep.  Personal convictions are shattered, and we find ourselves participating in our universal human story.

What is physical theater?

For me, physical theater is theater that kicks ass and takes no prisoners.  It is vibrant, theater that is rooted in instinct rather than the intellect.  In my work the actor is everything:  muse, warrior, poet, force of nature.  The surprise and delight of improvisation provide the foundation for my artistic process. We begin rehearsals with the birth of characters.  Each artist contributes elements of her/his own physicality to their character, whether these elements are intentional or subconscious.  In my role as director, I serve as a guide, identifying physical and psychological themes of each character.  Since these themes have come directly from the actor her/himself, a profound connection between actor and character emerges, an understanding that surpasses intellectual analysis.  Character is the breath, the life of the story, and it is the character that ultimately writes each piece.

Although I strive to push the boundaries of artistic expression, I am connected with my theatrical roots, the artistic heroes that have gone before me.  My creative approach is grounded in the physical theater work of Jacques LeCoq (Paris) and Giovanni Fusetti (Italy), as well as the essential styles taught in their schools:  Commedia dell’Arte, Red Nose, Bouffon, Mime, Melodrama, and Tragedy.