When I was a little boy, I would often find myself looking up at strange, strange faces. They were my teachers. It was like I could hear them. I’d have to stop and think about what I was doing because the faces were so different to how I usually see them.
And the faces are even tougher than anything I’ve had to face before because every time you look into a face, it’s like you’re looking at a different person. The face takes form by different factors, everything else is a blur. What you look at is what you see.
I learned about a lot of different faces when I was in the eighth grade and I couldn’t believe I’d been taught about them at all. That’s why I love ventriloquism because it takes these different faces and turns them upside down and rewrites them with the same voice. The whole thing is totally different when you learn about these unusual people who are really different from you. There is something you are experiencing with them that cannot be replicated by the world, so if you look at them, they are like you.
Can you think of any famous people who have mastered this skill?
I could think of people like Mark Twain. To really see another person’s face is a tremendous experience. You can’t really do it. It’s like looking at the mirror, but this mirror is always in your mind, so when you look at some face, you see the person but don’t really know who he is or what to think of him. He really is that person that you do not want to put in the wrong place. But as you learn from these people and start to understand, there really is someone that you can look at and try to understand the face.
Ventriloquism has a long, storied history and is still practiced by a small number of people from around the world. It’s like a rite of passage of sorts for the children of very special people, like Mark Twain and Mark Twain’s family. They may not even have heard of ventriloquism by the time they have to pass this test to get a job. It’s a form of education.
How do you learn when the test is coming up?
I start with my mind and what I want to show up on the test — with the test as a teacher in mind. You try to think of the test like a question, and what my answer is on the form is