An artist is taking the page to the stage.
Music, audience interaction, and a big reveal — R. Sikoryak’s live drawing performance “Carousel” is a media mash-up that takes the solitary endeavor of drawing comics and brings it to the masses.
And, there’s always the chance that things could fall apart.
“It is a little scary — you can totally screw up the drawing while everyone watches,” said Sikoryak, who authored “Masterpiece Comics” for Drawn & Quarterly and has drawn for “The New Yorker” and “MAD.”
“But if you are already a compulsive doodler and can think on your feet, then you can improvise. Or if you come prepared with a plan and rehearse in advance, you can deliver a very specific experience. That’s what I try to do — it’s like learning dance steps or memorizing a monologue.”
Sikoryak’s live drawing performances are just one facet of “Carousel: Cartoon Slide Shows and Other Projected Pictures.” It’s a comics variety show he’s curated and emceed since 1997. He recruits dozens of artists to come up on stage and narrate their images, which are presented as a slide show. When these artists bring along actors, sound effects and music, the experience feels more like an old-time radio show than a highfalutin piece of performance art.
In previous performances, cartoonist Michael Kupperman read his work while dressed as Mark Twain, complete with bushy hair, moustache, and white suit. John Kovaleski escaped from a straight jacket while his silent comics were projected, one panel at a time. Sam Henderson brought bubble wrap for the kids to pop during his cartoon.
Sikoryak has assembled another all-star cast for the next “Carousel” performance at the Brick theater in Williamsburg. Cartoonists John Porcellino, Nine Antico, Molly O’Connell, and Lauren Weinstein will read from their work. Norwegian comics collective Dongery will also perform. Plus Franco-Belgian comics publisher Fremok will make a special presentation of its rarely screened short film “Match de catch à Vielsam,” which documents their comics collaborations at an arts center for people with mental disabilities.
“Carousel” will be part of the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, along with gallery exhibitions, films, lectures, and a chance for artists to show and sell their books.
R. Sikoryak’s “Carousel: Cartoon Slide Shows and Other Projected Pictures” at the Brick Theater [579 Metropolitan Ave. at Lorimer Street, (718) 285–3863, www.comics