Silent vaudevillian clown Chip Bryant recently performed in the Ossie Davis Theater at the New Rochelle Public Library.
Attendees were personally greeted by Bryant before the show began as they walked into the theater. He would use his cloth to jokingly wipe sweat off someone’s forehead, or lightly sit on one of the parents that had found their seat. Bryant had interacted with most of the audience before the show had even started.
The show consisted of a variety of different acts and illusions. Bryant mimed, performed magic tricks, juggled rings and bowling pins, used a marionette and puppet, and more. What made this performance so special was Bryant’s uncanny ability to draw in and hold the audience’s attention nearly instantly, and maintain it through the length of the entire show.
“If they look away, the show ends,” said Bryant.
The first time a volunteer was needed, some of the children in the audience volunteered; but not all. Bryant initially engaged the entire theater by asking audience members to participate in acts from their seats, like throwing invisible objects into a tissue paper bag and making it seem like something was actually landing inside. As soon as kids realized what an engaging and fun time the first volunteers had, seemingly every child wanted to be a part of the show thereafter. Every time Bryant would notify the audience he needed a new volunteer, whether that be by holding up a Help Wanted sign or simply walking through the theater and hand-selecting kids to come up on stage, nearly every kid’s hand would shoot up as fast as possible.
This wasn’t the first time Bryant had performed here in New Rochelle. New Rochelle Public Library community relations coordinator Barbara Davis has seen Bryant perform in the past, and finds each performance as entertaining as the last.
“We try to have Chip here as often as we can because he delights all ages.”
Bryant, who has been performing for 32 years, was just as pleased with how the show unfolded.
“The comedy comes from laugh with, not at. It comes not from ‘I tricked you,’ but discovery.”
“I always find this performance to be one of the best of the year,” he said. “I’m never too big for myself.”According to Davis, the show was made possible by friends of the New Rochelle Public Library.