On March 10, performance artist Tomas Kubinek will bring his weird combination of slight-of-hand, comedy, pantomime and acrobatics to the Vic Juba Community Theatre stage.
“There is one (act) I’ve only done once and I had to discontinue because it was just too effective,” Kubinek said in an email. “I grab the edge of the stage and stop the rotation of the Earth for three full seconds.”
The Prague-born Kubinek was smuggled out of Czechoslovakia at age three as the Soviets were invading in 1968, and after spending two years in an Austrian refugee camp Kubinak and his family were granted asylum in Canada, moving to St. Catherines, Ont.
It was in southern Ontario that Kubinek was exposed to the circus. He would see every show that came to town, and by the time he was nine, Kubinek was performing magic on his own. From there, he dove into the theatrical arts.
“The best thing I did was drop out of college at 17 and start scrambling for work,” he said. “Alongside making a living, I would travel to take theatre workshops in Europe and North America. There I got inspiration and some good performance techniques and then the real learning would happen by working in all sorts of perform - ing situations and experimenting.”
Kubinek’s travels have taken him across Canada and the United States, from the Yukon to New York City. He has also set foot in Asia and Europe, performing in Italian opera houses. Kubinek says his show is “Based in the traditions of vaudeville and the art of the fool. Engaging physical absurdity and verbal wit that is irreverent, spontaneous and open with the audience.”
Always seeking new experience, Kubinek says he is always doing creative research to develop his set and to see what the world has to offer.
“Years back, I got certified as a scuba diver, then a few years after that I took an ‘accelerated free- fall’ skydiving course and did a bunch of jumps,” he said. “Two years ago, I apprenticed with an ukulele maker for a few weeks in California and I now make instruments. Last year, I flew to Italy to study wood-carving and leather mask-making with the world’s greatest theatre mask-maker.”
Kubinek says he has an impulse to perform. In order to function properly, he must take to the stage.
“I think there’s a little seed deep inside that is running the show for me and I don’t dare analyze it too much,” he said. “Somehow, in order to survive and keep sane and healthy I need to be creative and to share that with the world. My inspiration comes all the time from everywhere and I don’t quite know how it happens. It’s probably like asking a cow how it turns grass into milk.”
Tickets for Tomas Kubinek, “Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible” are available at the Vic Juba theatre box office. Admission is $5 for students and $38 for general admission.