Closed Curtain


So what does a living statue performer do?

The first thing to know is that not all performers are the same. Some “living statues” have actually learned to stand very still – like, so still you don’t see them breathing. Other performers move very slowly. Or they might be “animated” statues, who come to life and interact with the audience or perform a choreographed routine.

The second thing to know is that there are different kinds of performances. Street performing is done on sidewalks or in public squares for tips from passersby; it’s a world of hustle, improvisation and short sets lasting anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes. Corporate events are more formal: the company hires a living statue for a private event (a holiday party, an annual meeting), sets up professional lighting and sound, and the performer often has a schedule of set times they’re asked to perform throughout the night.

The third thing to know is that this is also a world of myths and legends. One story I was told over and over again was about the “Original Living Statue,” Anna Coleman Ladd, who performed on Coney Island in 1907. According to legend, Ladd was so still that men tried to flirt with her until they realized she wasn’t real and

Talking to living statues is generally bad form. But the one I brought to life with my pocket full of money that day was pretty talkative once he got going.

He said, “You’d be surprised how many people just walk past me, like I’m not here. Someday they’ll have this figured out and they’ll just have robots standing around doing this instead of people. And there’s always someone who has to ruin it with a joke.”

Cool as a cucumber, I said, “You mean like if you gave a robot a penny and it said ‘Thanks for the donation?’ ”

“Yeah,” he said, “like that.”

“How about if someone did that in front of you?” I asked. “Wouldn’t you laugh?”

“If you really want to make me laugh,” he said, “open an umbrella over my head.”

Living statues are a form of street performance where the performer stands motionless like a statue or mannequin, usually with realistic statue-like makeup, sometimes with a costume. Living statues can be booked for events as a form of living art installation or as part of an event’s entertainment.

Living statue performers often dress in white and make themselves up to look like a realistic statue. They stand completely still, often on a raised platform to be seen above crowds, and hold poses for hours at a time. They may be costumed in clothes that make them look like statues of Greek gods or other figures. Sometimes they are painted grey to enhance the illusion that they are made of stone. When they accept money from spectators as payment for having their photograph taken with them (a practice common at tourist sites) they may “come to life” by turning their heads or moving their hands to accept the money, then return to being motionless. A common pose is standing against a wall with eyes closed and arms folded across the chest; some performers have elaborate costumes and poses that incorporate props such as furniture items, musical instruments, food items, etc., so that it appears that the props are growing out of the body of the performer or melting into it (e.g., a chair

Living statues have been around for a long time. You know, those performers who stand perfectly still for hours at a time, often dressed in ornate costumes or paint, sometimes holding a pose? Well, now there’s an interesting twist on the idea.

The street performer in the video is from Canada and goes by the name of “Flash.” He hangs out in the subway station and stays stock-still while people stuff money into his tray. Then he comes to life and gives them a little show. It’s pretty cool!

When you watch this, pay attention to how many people don’t even notice Flash at first because they’re too busy staring at their phones. And then there are those who spot him right away and make it a point not to look directly at him, which is sort of funny.

The living statue performer’s role is to create a living sculpture or “living statue”, usually wearing white body paint and sometimes standing very still on a plinth.

The performers are usually costumed as statues, angels, mimes, or other similar characters. Sometimes the costumes can be exaggerated in color or design, but more often they are monochromatic. The performers are usually stationary for the entire length of their performance, and may not speak or interact with the audience.

Living statues were used in Peking Opera and other types of Chinese opera during the 19th century. In 1825, at a performance of The Peony Pavilion described by the traveler John Barrow, a performer playing the part of a young lady lay motionless in bed for an hour before beginning to sing. Audiences would have recognized this convention from previous plays, but it was treated as an illusion: her attendants asked her to wake up and when she did not respond they took out a hand-mirror to check if she was dead.

Living statues appeared in Paris in the 1850s using white makeup imitating marble statues. They remained popular there through the 1870s, sometimes appearing in circuses.[2] In Italy, Giacomo Boni arranged exhibits of living statues at the

A living statue performer is an entertainer who uses the art of mime to pose in a statue-like manner for extended periods of time. They are commonly found at tourist attractions, fairs and carnivals.

The term “living statue” is often used interchangeably with “living mannequin”. Although both “live statues” and “living mannequins” use the art of mime, a living mannequin is more likely to be seen as part of a window display whereas a living statue will be performing for an audience.


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