Out of the Shadows: Stephen Carpenter

Stephen Carpenter finds his rhythm (Vaudeville Never Died, April 2011) - photo by Nate Hall

After appearing in five seperate sketches in the Dark Follies April 2011 stage show “Vaudeville Never Died,” he has come to be referred to as “the hardest working drummer in Dark Follies.”  Steven Carpenter came recommended by one of the Dark Follies dancers in the summer of 2009 when we found we were a bit short on drummers for one of our street performances.  Like many who showed up to just “give it a whirl” he stayed on and has become an integral part of  both our street and stage shows.  Whether providing a drum roll for a daring side show feat, rhythm for dancers and fire spinners, or being the straight-man in a comedy drumming act featuring a cowbell, Steve has certainly become one of the hardest working members of the Dark Follies shows.

Name:  Stephen Carpenter

1.      What do you do and how did you come to do it? 

About half a dozen years ago I took an African Drum class at my daughters dance studio because I needed some music back in my life. I did that for about 3 years and when it ended was kind of musically adrift. A dancer friend recommended I take a mid-eastern drum class with Eric LaPerna  of Okbari. I’d had an affection for the music for quite some time and after seeing him perform I signed up. It turned out to be a very difficult and rewarding endeavor that I’m still on. I’ve done triathalon and marathon training and seriously to get to any proficiency you have to approach this with the same attitude, diligence and persistence. I’m still getting my butt kicked on a regular basis by my teacher and intend to continue. There’s always more there.


2.      Where do you find inspiration?

When I see creative people in any genre taking risks to make something beautiful or unique. When I see lone athletes taking their personal game to a place above ordinary, any type of boundary pushing enterprise that adds to rather than detracts from the richness we can access or create. Art should be your life and vice versa.


3.      How did you become a part of Dark Follies?

I was drumming for a belly dance class, some of whom were performing in Dark Follies and they suggested I show up and give it a whirl.


4.      What is your favorite part of performing with Dark Follies?

When one of the performers gets into that space where the act starts to emerge from a place that they only partly control. Kind of like a firefighter hanging onto a hose that is more powerful than they are and may even need help to direct. Being part of that Dionysiac fountain.


5.      When you leave this world for the great hereafter what do you hope to be remembered for?

For being a splendid bad example.


6.      If you were left on a deserted island and you were allowed one book and one tool what would you choose to bring?

I’m a boat builder by training and predilection so the obvious answer is Howard Chapplles “Boatbuilding ” and a broad axe. Right hand swing.


7.  How can people find you…should you want to be found? 

On Facebook as Stephen Carpenter, or Presumpscot Woodworks, or SpoonMakers Diamond, and my company website, http://www.presumpscotwoodworks.com/

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