Thursday, Apr 25th 2024

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The Return Home


By David Elzee, 1990, Los Angeles, CA

"I am thankful to that little great man with named Samuel Avital, for helping me to face those walls of illusion and finally uncover the true direction toward my home."

My white face was resting from the public eye. I was on a break between mime performances at Love Field Entertainment Center in Dallas, Texas, my first professional employment as a mime artist.

As I breathed and relaxed, a good friend and eventual mime partner of mine, Mark Olsen, visited with me and spoke of a place at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado called Le Centre du Silence. The director there is a 'little man' with a 'great soul' taught the art of transforming the invisible into the visible. Those words traveled down through my outer self to my inner depths, where it touched the place of knowingness. I knew I must spend time with this man.

Up to that point, even as a child, my mind and soul searched for answers to this moment we live, knowing there was something behind the facade of our physical existence. So, these words and teachings about the 'Unknown' came to me through my friend, Mark, as if they were sent to assist me on my journey to self-discovery.

The year was 1978, and the little man with the great soul was Samuel Avital. I traveled to Boulder and studied with him during that summer. Exciting, as it was to begin studying with him, he soon had all the students confronting our own limited views of life and ourselves. I began learning that to be an artist in the ultimate creative sense, one must continually be letting go of these previously unconscious and limiting beliefs and behaviors. This frees one to experience the richness of the universe more fully and live as a more vibrant expression of it, both everyday and on the stage. In truth, I realized that person and artist are not separable.

Upon completion of the Workshop, my journey continued in a new direction. Samuel had helped me face and discard some of my past limited thinking about who I was, and awakened me to the larger possibilities of who I truly am. So, Mime, this art of silence and its philosophy of manifesting the invisible into the visible became the new vehicle on my road of exploration. 'Your work is your search,' Samuel once said. And, it was true.

My performances began reflecting my personal journey and concerns. I soon realized that my individual search for self-discovery and harmony was a microcosm of the same journey we find ourselves on as a species on the Earth, today. With this universal language of body and soul, I journeyed forth to meet humanity. I traveled to the USSR to perform four times in the next four years with Paul Horn, Kris Kristofferson and others. Not only did I experience more of who was as an artist was and life traveler was, but I also witnessed the disintegration of fear between the East and West and the beginnings of the reunion of the human family.

India, too, held life-changing lessons for me. I was invited to perform during the International Peace Walk across India. Afterward, on my own, I traveled to the Taj Mahal. On the way there, I developed an acute case of food poisoning, which hit me hard. Within an hour, it pushed me to the very edge of my existence. Alone in the outskirts of a small distant town, I lay in the dirt, my body desperately trying to rid itself of the foreign intruder. Finally, too weak to move, I was saying hello to my Creator when a young Indian boy lifted me and took me to a hotel. There, strangers nursed me back to health for four days.

During the healing, too exhausted to feel fear or desperation, time stopped. I was silent and grateful to the kind strangers.

After four days of deep physical, emotional and spiritual cleansing, I gained clarity enough to see the lesson. Up to that point in my life, I had not fully trusted that the universe is abundant, supportive and available for all that choose to experience it. This mistrust bred great fear of the unknown. I realized that I must physically rid myself of this fear, which profoundly limited my ability to receive the natural gifts and assistance awaiting me from the invisible world. As artists, this fear of the unknown limits our ability to freely translate the magic of the universe into inspired art on stage. Samuel says it best; 'We must empty ourselves so we can be filled.'

After the USSR and India came Asia and Costa Rica. In 1989, I performed for the World Peace Conference Held at the United Nations University of Peace in Costa Rica. The event was honored by the presence of the Dalai Lama and Robert Mueller. Afterward, I entered the rainforest and experienced the deep truth of nature's harmonious existence with itself. A perfect model if we allow ourselves to see it.

I now live in Los Angeles and have secured a job once more as a mime at an entertainment center. This job entitles me to a name I could only have dreamed of. I work at the Universal Studios Tour Entertainment Center, and thus am referred to as 'The Universal Mime.'

As an actor, I have worked in both film and television, and most recently portrayed the Scarecrow in a new TV movie about L. Frank Baum, the original author of the Oz books upon which 'The Wizard of Oz' is based. It was an honor to recreate such a role. I mention this not to list credits, but rather as an illustration of two things. First, by letting go of some limiting perceptions of myself professionally, I truly allowed myself to be hired for such a special role. I emptied myself so I could be filled. Second, Dorothy's journey reflects my own. She discovers that the Wizard is a humble and wise man hiding behind a wall of illusion and that she holds the power to return home any time she chooses.

I, too, am discovering this hidden man within myself, as well as my own power to return home. As I tear down the walls and facades of who I thought I was, I discover a wise soul in me, who has always known that home is ever-present deep within all of us and eternally, available to be uncovered and returned to by those who seek and truly wish to know.

I am thankful to that little great man with named Samuel for helping me to face those walls of illusion and finally uncover the true direction toward my home.

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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Le Centre Du Silence
P.O. Box 745
Lafayette, CO 80026

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.