Robert Post stars in POST Comedy Theatre: The One-Man Variety Show

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But: Q&A with Robert Post

We caught up with Robert Post on the eve of his best performance ever — the one he’s about to perform for you — to get some insights into how he became the performer he is.

Q. You’re a funny guy. Were you always this funny?
A. In a way. But I wasn’t always appreciated. For instance, the nuns at St. Augustine Elementary were not enamored of my antics. I recently discovered a report card my mom and dad had saved. Not only did I have 100% of all the “bad” discipline areas checkmarked — lack of attention, poor conduct, tardiness, disobedience, etc. — My teacher had created a whole new column of categories for my intransigence and maladaptive behavior.

Q. After school, did you get into performing right away?
A. No. I had a pretty bad case of stage fright; the thought of getting up in front of strangers freaked me out. My first love was actually golf, until I realized my fiery Italian temperament wasn't conducive to success on the circuit. I did have the great good fortune to caddy for some of the best golfers in the world: Byron Nelson, Tom Weiskopf, Lanny Wadkins, Judy Rankin, Chi Chi Rodriguez …

Q. Then what?
A. I was a Theatre major at Ohio State University, but felt very awkward and uncomfortable as an actor because I was so young and inexperienced. One day, I went to a festival and saw an improv/mime company “New Mime Troupe.” This was a group of three people who wrote their own material and performed on the street. This was totally revolutionary for the time and their act showed me the power of mime to make the invisible visible.

So I joined the troupe and, a year later, was traveling up and down the East Coast in Sherman, an old milk truck we turned into our “tour bus,” making a living by passing a hat. There’s nothing like that to help you refine your act, learn how to engage audiences, and get over stage fright.

Q. So your career took off from there?
A. The next few years were creatively frustrating because I had in mind what I wanted to do but I just couldn’t get there. I heard about a guy who worked with performers — Tony Montanaro — and sought him out. Tony was truly one of the visionary theatre artists. He was brilliant in his own work, but, more importantly, so generous in his work with others. He conducted workshops at the Celebration Barn in South Paris, Maine to help young artists like me hone our skills, discover hidden talents, find our signature styles. He drew out the best in us. I’ll be forever grateful to him for “flipping the switch,” so to speak, and helping me combine my love of character work, movement arts and humor. This was truly a career- and life-changing experience.

Q. Tell me about some of the places you’ve been.
A. Besides concert halls and auditoriums, I’ve performed in prisons, factories, homeless shelters and on street corners and cruise ships. I’ve been to Russia, Japan, Mexico, Canada and throughout the Mediterranean. I loved being on The Today Show. It was a strange combination of performing to the most intimate of audiences — Matt Lauer and the rest of the cast — plus the audience on the street, plus the millions who were watching on their TVs at home.

I do a lot of work with children — performances and workshops in schools, that sort of thing. It’s important to let kids know that there are many ways of expressing themselves. One of my most amazing and moving experiences was when I performed for the children who survived the massacre at School Number One in Beslan, Ossetia.

Q. Any low points of your career?
A. There was the opening day in a Chicago baseball stadium. The team had hired me to mimic the flight of a fastball by juggling lit torches from the pitcher’s mound to home plate. I thought the crowd was cheering me until I realized what they were chanting was “LIGHT-YOUR-SELF-ON-FIRE!”

Q. What’s next for Robert Post?
A. Besides this show? I’m doing more and more directing nationally and locally. In Ohio I’ve worked with Ballet Met on Coppelia, Cinderella and The Nutcracker, and I conceived and co-directed Vaudeville at OSU. I’m also coming full circle in working with other performers as Tony Montanaro did with me; I’ll be returning to South Paris after twenty years to help them, through workshops and individual direction, discover the best in themselves and find success in this crazy, crazy profession.

For more info about POST Comedy Theatre (including videos, schedules, photos and blogs) visit robertpost.org where you will also find a variety of social networking links.

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