Filled with Surprise and Emotion.
This world-class performer emerges into the stage in a transparent bubble and takes the audience into his world of magic and imagination
Creative. Captivating. Filled with energy and emotion. These are the Qualities that define Nicolas, whose Contemplative gaze contrasts with his devilish smile that has won him fans around the world.
Dressed in casual, jeans and shirt, smile set firmly in place, he sat down recently with Focus In to share his incredible journey from a boy living in the former Soviet Union, to the young man who now heads up Orlando based World Gate Entertainment. Professional mime, actor, and show director, Focus In couldn't help wonder where he gets all of that creative energy?
"From a life Iong desire to discover planets that I could only dream about." He says this with a wistful, star-crossed look, flashing in deep-set, intense eyes. "I knew-I'd never get to visit those planets, so at a very young age I decided to create my own planets.
Born in the Republic of Georgia, formerly the Soviet Union, it didn't take him Long to figure out that he was a very different child in an artistic way. That his mother owned an international movie house, and would take him to the theatre as a two-year-old almost every day, might have had something to do with it.
Days on end, he'd sit in the dark theatre and watch those sharp-edged, offbeat characters he would later inhabit-vivid, seamless and in rapid-tire
succession-in his solo sketches. Nights, his mother would come into the theatre
and look for him with her flashlight. Most of the time, he'd be asleep in his chair, exhausted from watching movies all day.
By age four, he knew every
movie by heart, especially the Polish, French, and American movies. "My
favorite French movie was Angelique Marquise Des,Anges," Nicholas says,
jumping up from his chair, his body an animated art form. "Everyone
I knew was represented in that movie. I also liked all of the Alfred Hitchcock
movies. I really loved those. Psycho was my favorite."
He starts to perform –
The dreams and nightmares of a four-year-old boy soon became performance sketches for his family and friends. He'd act them out, and people watched in amazement at the characters he'd create. He proved himself to be that rare talent able to illuminate his deepest thoughts.
As he grew, so did his dreams.
He wanted to put fireworks into his sketches, but none were available. Finally,
he hung sewing threads from the roof of his porch.
During the grand finale, he'd light them on fire to create the fireworks effect. The last performance, the roof caught fire and nearly burned the house down.
By age ten, his parents decided he would be a doctor or a diplomat. But his dream was to be an actor, so he joined the children's theatre in school. But that still wasn't enough, so he formed his own acting troupe.
Gathering kids from his neighborhood, he began performing shows, which were always successful. Neighbors willingly paid to see his troupe perform. Having a shrewd business sense, Nicolas devised a pay scale: rich neighbors paid five Rubles, poorer neighbors paid twenty-five Kopaka.
Finally, Nicolas's parents had had enough. His mother called the school, and had him removed from all theatre activities. She wanted him involved only in serious studies. She brought in a home tutor: History, Math, and Languages. She wanted him to prepare for a serious profession.
"Keep dreaming. Keep hoping.
Take action," Nicolas told himself, and found ways to sneak out of
the house to take mime classes. He was fifteen-years-old when he finished
high school his mother had already enrolled him in a university.
He went instead and registered for a theatrical university in Georgia, which he attended for three months without his parents' knowledge.
One day, his mother came home
and found an acting book - Stanislavski.
Nicholas remembers – lying open on his bed. 'The argument lasted for days. Nicolas relented, and told his parents that if they allowed him to take a ten day holiday in Germany, he'd return to Georgia and enter the university of their choice. Say Cheese! Nicolas smiled, his parents agreed, and off he went on a holiday that still continues today.
Seeking artistic freedom –
Nicolas never did return home. Instead, lie stayed in Berlin for a while, a sixteen year-old boy with only four hundred Deutsch Marks in his pocket. When the money ran out, a friend offered him a small apartment in Dresden, Germany, which he gladly accepted
After moving into the tiny Dresden apartment, Nicolas's self-described "hopeless romantic" notion became mixed with fear and loneliness. “I lost all sense of place,” he says.” yet, at the same time, I was elated to be moving toward my dream planet.”
The apartment was really only one small room, a kitchenette, a cold shower, and no furniture, except for an inflatable bed that leaked. Every three hours during the night, he'd wake up to blow up the bed. After blowing it up three tunes, he decided to sleep on the floor. Mornings, he'd step into the ice cold shower and nearly freeze to death. Because he was in Dresden on a tourist visa, and only sixteen, nobody would give hint a job. All he had left was his talent, so he decided to perform his "blowing up the inflatable bed/taking a cold shower" routine on the streets. He took his last Deutsch Marks and bought whiteface mime makeup, powder, and headed out the door.
He called his sketch, "All Night Alone," and the people of Dresden loved it. Every Saturday, 3:OOpm sharp, there he would be – in show business. The rest of his days were spent at the library, where he read that Marcel Marceau, the world famous mime, was accepting new students to train in the art of mime at Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame Marcel Marceau in Paris, France. Paris. The entrance exam would take place at the end of September, so Nicolas began preparing for his journey to Paris.
Arriving in Paris -
"I arrived in Paris one day before the entrance exam was to take place," Nicolas says, still floating around the room, his hands cutting beautiful images in the otherwise still air. "Like Dresden, I felt lost, totally out of time and place. Paris just overwhelmed me. I couldn't speak French, only a little German and the city itself seemed so big, larger than life. And fast.
"The first thing I did was to call the school. Yes, the exam would take place the next day at 10am. I was so excited. I found a hotel near the school, and practiced my sketches all night long.
"'The next morning, I arrived at the school with only a small bag”. Everything I owned outside of what I was wearing was in that bag. Little did 1 know how unprepared I was. The other students were already lined up, already had entrance numbers. They had been registered weeks ago!"
Nicolas was told to go to the administration office. There he tried to explain that he had no letters of recommendation, no registration papers, nothing. Just his little brown bag.
Finally, they agreed to let him take the exam. He paid the three hundred French Francs, all the money he had left in his pocket. That night, he slept on a bench across from the school. He used the school to shower in the next morning.
The exam took three days. So did the park bench and the school showers. The final day, he was asked to perform his master sketch. He had no music, so he borrowed a tape from a café and used it as his show music.
He performed a simple man, a painter, who becomes an artist. To do so, the man had to sell his soul to the devil. But as an artist, he saves many people, thereby saving his own soul. Nicolas performed the sketch brilliantly, and was accepted in the Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame. He spent the next two years training with the world famous Marcel Marceau. From there, he attended the E.S.R.A., the internationally recognized Movie Director School in Paris. It was during this time that he worked with the highly creative Jean-Francois Tarnovski.
Coming to America –
In 1996, Nicolas created Bubble Nicholas, a show that brought him instant recognition. Walt Disney World bought the show and featured Nicolas at the Epcot Center in Florida. Once there, Nicolas decided to make Orlando his home.
"I immediately loved America," Nicolas says, sitting again like a graceful marionette controlled by divine inspiration. "The first time I did Bubble Nicolas at the Epcot Center, I realized that American people had the dream, and that I could share that dream with them. I knew we shared the magic. That's what it takes to create a new planet - magic!"
Today, Nicolas stays busy running World Gate Entertainment, which employs four hundred people annually. As a director, he is currently in pre-production for his new film, The Marionette, based on a World Gate show that has proven highly successful throughout Europe and Asia.
Those interested in receiving more information on where you can see World Gate Entertainment shows and for booking information should gather their energy and visit their website.