Part physical comedian, actor and playwright, self-styled entertainer Wolfe Bowart takes the stage at the Tubac Center of the Arts for one performance on Saturday evening, Dec. 14.
At age 9 he successfully tried juggling while riding a unicycle — and landed it. Moving up to another entertaining challenge as a teen, he carried friends on his shoulders while riding through the streets of his hometown in Camden, Maine.
Dedicated to improving himself to become a physical comedian and entertain audiences, Bowart’s acts and antics have delighted audiences in 20 countries. For his upcoming Tubac show, he’ll perform excerpts from four productions that have toured in the last 15 years.
“While I’ve worked in 20 countries and counting, rarely do I perform in the states, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great night when there is the perfect mix of kids and adults, when the whole family is in attendance, when a first-grader is heard debating the merits of a gag with an octogenarian. The show is perfect for ages 5 to 105. My wife’s 95-year-old grandmother had a ball,” Bowart said.
He describes his work as “visually driven” rather than dialogue driven, heavy on comedy and speckled with magical realism “how-did-he-do-that” moments that tend to make adults feel like kids again. He uses circus skills, stage illusions, theatrical magic, music and stage lighting to tell a story and entertain.
In physical comedy, an actor focuses on manipulating his body for a humorous effect. It may include clowning, physical stunts and making funny faces. Think Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball as physical comedians.
Has anything ever gone wrong on stage? Bowart said he always makes sure that something seems to go wrong in a production.
“It reminds me that this is live theater and means if something really goes awry, we’ll never know.”
Though his entertaining may appear to be a one-man show, it isn’t. After every new production he continually meets with lighting and special effects crews until he’s satisfied with every nuance.
“The audience sees one man on stage, but it’s a collaboration of a lot of talented people behind the scenes,” he said.
And sometimes he’ll create a moment in a show specifically for laughter. Laughter's a big part of Bowart’s performances.
Contact Green Valley News freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at email@example.com.