Tomáš Kubínek photo by d.a. hill
Video of some of Tomáš Kubínek’s performance
by Stephen Dafoe
There have been several one-man shows on the Morinville community Cultural Centre’s stage over the past four years. Tomáš Kubínek’s upcoming performance Mar. 20 is the first from a certifiable lunatic.
Kubínek refers to himself as a master of the impossible and bills his shows as a “collision of theatre and music-hall.” He promises a one-man show that is theatrical, very funny, and based in the traditions of vaudeville and the art of the fool.
The 50-year-old performer was born in Prague, smuggled out of the country at the age of three, and moved to St. Catherines, Ontario with his parents after a few months in an Austrian refugee camp.
It was in Canada that the five-year-old Kubínek saw his first circus and soon developed a fascination with clowns, magic and the theatre.
That passion quickly turned to live performance and profession. By nine, Kubínek was performing for adult magicians at the local Magic Circle and by 13 had taken on an agent, making the evolution from coffee-house to the big top while still in his teens.
“I have very fond memories of those early years in Hamilton,” he recalls. “The Magic Circle was a chapter of IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) and the old fellows there were great — it was like having 20 or 30 eccentric uncles and grandfathers who would dote over you. I was often the youngest one there and they were all very kind from the get-go and encouraging of my humour and performing.
“I carry all those and many other memories of my adventures with me everywhere I travel in the world.”
Kubínek invested the money he earned performing to travel Europe in order to learn from a variety of the world’s great performers. Throughout the experience, he continued to experiment to create the style that forms the backbone of his one-man shows.
“Certain aspects of humour and playfulness and irreverence are universal for sure,” he says of his art. “A lot of what I do is physical as well as verbal, and that plays well all over the world,” he said.
The performer has earned many coveted awards over the years for his performance, but he is perhaps most proud of his Gold Fly-Swatter award. Kubínek took the honour for Canada in the Czech Republic during a television show. Twelve competitors sat in a room catching flies by hand and releasing them unharmed. Kubínek caught the most.
It is that sort of engaging physical absurdity, blended with verbal wit that Kubínek believes mixes to create an irreverent and spontaneous show that is open to the audience. “Mainly, folks will laugh lots and have the time of their lives and go away feeling happy and energized,” he promises of the upcoming show.
Currently on a Canadian tour that ends Apr. 1, Kubínek finds great audiences wherever he travels throughout the world. Though he now calls the United States home, he says he proudly keeps his Canadian citizenship.
“I love coming back to Canada because I have such a warm place for it in my heart,” he said. “The people from so many immigrant backgrounds, the First Nations people, the land — there is something very kind and pure about it all for me. Also the fact that I grew up in Canada, and it was the country that took my family in as refugees back in ‘68.
Tomáš Kubínek will bring his show to Morinville Mar. 20 for a 7:30 p.m. performance. Tickets are $25, seniors $20 and students $10. They can be purchased at the cultural centre box office or by calling 780-939-7888.