Summer of 1972
He said, “Just put the money under the door”.
He was Samuel Avital, and the money was tuition for his mime class.
I had almost put the money under the door, but at the last moment I changed my mind, remembering what I had seen and done at a free “trial” class session of Mr. Avital’s a few nights earlier.
This was the summer after I had quit my job as an English teacher because the community where I was teaching had been fighting and shooting each other. It was quite unpleasant, and had bummed me out so badly that I didn’t teach again for another six years.
I was working as a garbage man in the morning, and taking a class in improvisional theater during the day.
I had watched Mr. Avital do his mime, and found him quite good.
One evening I attended one of his classes to see what mime was all about.
This free session was to get more people to sign up for his class.
Mr. Avital had been barking at us to do this and that, and soon, all of us future mime artists were rolling across the floor as Mr. Avital hummed “OM OM OM…”, and OTHER strange sounds.
It felt ridiculous.
I felt ridiculous.
When our rolling around came to a stop, I got up and left.
I remember a conversation I had had with Mr. Avital. At one point during this conversation he said with enthusiasm, “We are all Shakespeares…!”, and he said some other names that I now forget.
This was his way of encouraging me to join his class.
“Just leave the money under the door.”
It was probably my fear of failure as much as not wanting to pay the money for his class that had made me run away from the door of Samuel Avital.
IT’S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Samuel Ben-Or Avital is a professionally trained mime artist, teacher of mime, kinesthetic awareness, and Kabbalah.
Samuel Avital was born Shmuel Abitbol in 1932, in the small town of Sefrou, near Fez, in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. At the age of 14, Avital left his home in Sefrou to travel (via Algiers and France) to the newly established state of Israel. There he spent the next ten years living in a kibbutz and studying physics, agronomy, theology, and theatre.
In 1958, he traveled to Paris, France, to study dance and drama at the Sorbonne, as well as to study mime with the French masters, Etienne Decroux, Jean-Louis Barrault, and Marcel Marceau. Avital later performed with the Compagnie de Mime under the direction of Decroux' son, Maximilien Decroux.
In 1964, Avital joined his friend (and a fellow student of Etienne Decroux), Moni Yakim, in New York, performing with him in his Pantomime Theatre of New York. At the same time, he also performed off-Broadway, and later began to tour throughout North and South America. In 1969, in was invited to teach in the Theater Department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In 1971, he moved to Boulder, Colorado and founded Le Centre Du Silence Mime School, which has held an annual International Summer Mime Workshop ever since. As an extension of this work, Avital has also developed a unique method of bodywork called, BodySpeak, for cultivating kinesthetic awareness.
In recent years, Avital has begun teaching Kabbalah publicly in a series of seminars called, Gathering the Sparks, in Boulder, Colorado. Though less well known as a teacher of Kabbalah than as a mime artist, Avital was steeped in the Jewish mystical tradition from his youth and has taught a number of students privately through the years. Avital is descended from a long line of distinguished Moroccan rabbis, jurists, and poets, nearly all of whom were also learned in the secret teachings of the Kabbalah.