“The Road to High Street” is a one-man show detailing the career of street performer, juggler, comedian and musician Andrew Potter.
The son of a decorated WW II Naval Officer and successful businessman, young Andrew Potter has just graduated from college in Rhode Island and has shared with his father the dream of becoming a street performer. You can almost guess how his father might have responded. For the moment we are left wondering as Potter and his college buddy, Wheeler Cole hit the road for the mecca of street performance art: San Francisco.
Potter is indeed an accomplished juggler, narrating and strumming a few rifts on his guitar while also operating his laptop’s projected animations, layered images and video clips. He is the ultimate multi-tasker.
You are privy to the struggles and successes of Potter and Wheeler’s partnership as they embark on their dream at Pier 39. There are many similar acts already established and the duo must innovate and create a signature performance to draw a crowd. They do so with a running bet — while juggling raw eggs Potter must eat any that are dropped! This moment is shared in video while Potter adds a few guitar licks to heighten the drama. It’s fun, and the outcome is sure to make you smile and grimace.
Potter shares some of the earlier rough goings but never dwells there — his story is more positive about “making a living from the hat” and he is so kindly that you cannot help but root for him.
One day on the Pier after a performance they are approached by an Italian entertainment promoter who invites them to perform in Milan, Italy. The pair accepts and is jetted to Italy for the “Premio Strada” (premium street) competition. Once again they must innovate to set their act apart and in doing so are able to circumvent the language barrier with humor and the hilarity of their performance. They wind up winning first place and a 9 million lira cash prize. From there they continue to travel on tours of Japan and Canada entertaining crowds and living their dream.
After more than 15 years on the road and making a living from street performing Andrew Potter returns home to Rhode Island to see his father. This moment is profound and personal and bookends the story of his unusual career choice.
Details: 6:30 p.m. March 5, 5:15 p.m. March 8, Spectrum Gallery. $5 in Rogue Bucks.