How Cirque du Soleil Acrobat Jeff Raz Optimizes His Mind & Body For Peak Performance

by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated Authority Magazine – Jul 22, 2020 As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak Performance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Raz. Jeff Raz has performed internationally for decades, starring as an acrobat, juggler and clown in circuses including Cirque du Soleil and the Pickle Family Circus, and as an actor in theaters from Berkeley Rep to Broadway. He has … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 29

Why look you strange upon me? Kyle Dano is adjusting his tripod to get a picture of the fourteen women who make up the cast of “Comedy of Errors.” This single gender approach, according to the Women’s Shakespeare Festival’s publicist, “is the closest a modern theater can come to Shakespeare’s original staging” which was, of course, all male. This is Kyle’s first photo shoot for a professional theater, although he’s documented every show at … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 28

The Euro Zone Two days later, Willa Woods’ face is a mask of amazement. “George actually said you could pay your half of the December rent in January?” “Yeah. Worked out pretty well. I guess he got a little star struck when I mentioned Cirque du Soleil.” Frank Singer is being liberal with the phrase “star struck.” What their landlord actually said was, “What the hell is certs da sole?” “I’m amazed George had … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 26 & 27

Comedicide Zip Abrams and Willa Woods are sitting in the breakfast nook digging into a celebratory lunch from Taqueria La Cumbre when Frank comes up the stairs. The good news about Willa’s chemo has left the women giddy but Frank doesn’t notice. He slides onto the bench beside Zip, Willa hands him a still-hot lengua grande and he unwraps the top of the foil covering. He digs in, head down, not saying a word. … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 24 & 25

Chapter 24 Beating Cancer “The third chemo’s a charm!” Dr. Courtney Sands almost giggles. Willa Woods laughs and goes to slap high five with her oncologist but Dr. Sands grabs her hand instead. “Let’s not get carried away. The tumors haven’t grown, which is good, but they haven’t shrunk either. The markers are all going in the right direction but it is still early days.” “And the only side effect is loss of appetite, … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 23

Getting Affairs in Order “Thank you, Mr. Singer, for your Lysistrata. It is…interesting and…provocative.” Frank is standing in front a scarred wooden desk, script in hand, smiling down at the drama teacher. “Unfortunately we’ve decided to go in a different direction. We’re meeting our classics requirement by staging ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’.” Frank’s mouth drops open. His brain tries to digest this new information. He stares and finally … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 22 & Interlude

Greek Comedy Frank quietly walks up his front stairs holding a small collage. Magda made the piece by defacing a copy of a bad review he got back in the 90s. He loves it. Willa is asleep and Jackie is long gone. Frank takes his computer to the desk in the living room, looks out the window at the quiet street and cries. He’s gotten used to crying a few times a day, any … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 21

Remembering Magda “Ayl mo-lay ra-chamim, sho-chayn ba-m’romim…” Rabbi Deborah Matz, a short woman with straight black hair and a patchwork tallis, is chanting the prayer for the dead. She stands under a large painting of a skull, an anti-war piece that was one of Magda’s favorites. The walls of Magda’s living room are now completely covered with paintings and a dozen sculptures are displayed on an end table, a stool and the bookshelves. Berit … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 19 & 20

Chapter 19 Sitting Shiva The next morning the body is gone, taken away to be cremated. Berit and Frank sit on two black wooden chairs facing each other in Magda’s living room. They are quiet for a few minutes. Frank wants to fill the silence but can’t think of anything to say. His mind wanders and then, every once in a while, he feels tears dripping off his cheeks. Neither of them talk. After … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 18

Washing the Dead Frank Singer parks his Datsun in front of Magda Singer’s house, which is both familiar and strange. It is now a house of death. He sits in the car, watching himself sit in the car as if it were a pivotal scene in a movie. He’s scared to go in and relieved that it’s over and heartbroken and empty. His eyes are dry and he wonders if he’s a bad son. … Read More

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