Benjamin Domask has been training and performing for over 10 years. He humbly began his studies in the art magic, legerdemain, and prestidigitation at a young age. While obtaining a degree in Psychology, Benjamin began practicing in the field of juggling and began seeking performance opportunities, both in costume and out. As opportunities increased, so did the need for more training. He sought training with a variety of masters. In juggling he has trained under Jay Gilligan (Doch), Sean Blue (Cirque du Soleil), and Stephen Sing (Lido). In his homebase of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Benjamin found a variety of former Ringling Brothers Clowns and Theatre Clowns such as Bob Rosen (Macalester College & Theatre de la Jeune Lune), Neal Skoy, Gregory Parks, and Jon Ferguson (WLDRNSS & University of Minnesota B.F.A Program). In 2015, Benjamin discovered Theatre de l’Ange Fou, a school researching Corporeal Mime under the direction of Steve Wassom and Corrine Soum, the last assistants of Etienne Decroux, the Father of Modern Mime. He has been training there as time has allowed ever since. Benjamin has a love for learning and supplements all of his training with academic research and supports his learning by being a teaching artist. Being a teaching artist allows him to share the skills he has learned and solidifies that knowledge as understanding.
Through collaborations with circus and theatre groups around the world, Benjamin has collected a unique set of devising and creation techniques. Throughout 2014-2015, Benjamin worked in collaboration with Thom Wall (Cirque du Soleil) on their award winning show “The ‘Dinner and a Show’ Show”. The duo had to utilize ‘long-distance collaboration’ to craft the script, and develop and practice partner-juggling tricks (on their own). They came together 4 days before opening to put together all the physical juggling, theatrical blocking, and character development they had worked on digitally over the previous 3 months. During his work in 2015 with Theatre de l’Ange Fou, he experienced the creation of physical, non-verbal theatre through the use improvisation drawn from the unconscious mind. In 2016 Benjamin acted, directed, and devised an original work with The Curiosita, a group that specializes in taking ideas created in the rehearsal space and crafting them into a skeleton structure, which the piece is built on. The group released “Fat Cat Fall” in the winter of 2016 at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater in Minneapolis, MN. With his personal work, Benjamin has been exploring and discovering how to take his own curious nature and convert that into pieces that connect to an audience directly (physically/verbally) and indirectly (emotionally). He has begun work on “Hodge Podge” a solo piece that dives into that connection within audiences and all people. This piece began during Benjamin’s 2018 Hinge Arts Residency in Fergus Falls, MN.
Benjamin seeks to combine the skill and technique of juggling with the theory and philosophy of clown under the aesthetic of corporeal mime to create a unique blend of circus and theatre through characters and stories that audiences connect with on an emotional level.
My artistic research deals with a world in which the rate of our audience’s media consumption is increasing along with the ease of that consumption. I am interested in creating material that fully engages an audience by first meeting them where they are and then transporting them into a different world. I am inspired by works of theatre such as Spy Monkey, John Wright, and Licidei. I have been highly influenced by the contemporary circus group cie EAEO from France and their camaraderie and cohesiveness to present an entertaining yet moving piece of circus. I remember watching “Germinal” by Halory Goerger and Antoine Defoort and realizing the ability to ‘discover’ the performance space and build upon these discoveries and then to celebrate discoveries WITH and FOR the audience. In a similar vein, the work of Faye Driscoll in her series, “Thank You for Coming” explores similar ideas of reinventing how the audience interacts with the performance by literally building and breaking down walls. By first engaging the audience when they enter the theatre by having them write secret confessions and then performing a diverse form of arts from dance, almost Greek-like theatre to punk rock music and then ending the night reading the secret confessions in a single light and chair onstage. I find my work moving towards similar idea of rediscovering what the audience wants and needs by directly communicating with them.