Geoff Hoyle in 'Geezer' at the Marsh

Last weekend I was considering writing a brief review of my friend Geoff Hoyle's remarkable performance of 'Geezer' at the Marsh, when I encountered Robert Hurwitt's highly favorable review. I recommend that you read it. ('Geezer review: Hoyle solo show laughs years away')

Hoyle, well known in the San Francisco Bay Area as a long time member of the Pickle Family Circus, a consummate mime and actor, is a serious man with an imagination that shirks neither angst nor discomfort. He dishes up bitter fare in Geezer but with such manic energy and humor that we willingly accompany him. These dark moments alternate in dizzying succession with touching reminiscences and brilliant metaphors.

One of my favorites is his variation on the 'venerable Bede's' image of a bird flying from the dark night into the lofty heights of a great hall and then on out into the dark as a metaphor for life. Hoyle, with his effortless metamorphosis into this bird, alights upon a high rafter to warm himself. As he glances apprehensively down at the multitudes below we are so entranced that, like children, we see a bird's eye view of that eighth century hall. This is the stuff of great performance.

Hoyle's power is due, in no small part, to his mastery of mime and commedia dell' arte, but I suspect that his early decision to perform on the street and in circus settings has honed his remarkable ability to reach across the stage and into the hearts and imaginations of us all.



A couple of years ago I began a collaborative series of portraits with Hoyle. We put the project on indefinite hold due to our divergent schedules. I offer this sneak preview in the hope that it will encourage you to see 'Geezer'  at the 'Marsh' in San Francisco: