If you’ve attended Sunday in the Park at Oakland over the past ten years or so, you’ve no doubt seen “Living Statue” Bob Seymore hard at work entertaining visitors while standing very still. We interviewed Bob about his unusual career and about why it’s so important to him to support Oakland Cemetery.
More from Bob:
You’ve portrayed quite a few characters at Oakland Cemetery— from golfer Bobby Jones to Mozart to some of Oakland’s angel monuments. What’s your favorite character to portray? Why?
Bobby: I really don’t have a favorite “Living Statue.” The Bobby Jones character seems to be a crowd favorite that is very recognized. Every time I play this character, some guests always give their opinion on why he should have gone professional. Some guests also tell me stories of Bobby Jones that they have heard through the years. I dig this because it builds my story library. I always ask when I am portraying Bobby Jones,” How many hole-in-one’s have you had? It’s amazing what responses I get back. The guests are also not afraid to yell out “Bobby!” at any given time during the event. I hope that you get a chance to hear this. It makes me laugh. It is hilarious fun!
I also find that every time I portray an” Ole Time” baseball player, grown men turn into five-year-old kids. For example, I played and told the story of 19th-century player and Oakland Cemetery resident Robert Dohme last year, and the male guests consistently reacted this way. It is amazing to witness the unique reaction to my presence. I also receive many stories of their favorite baseball players and why they like them. I cherish this reaction from my guests.
I’m guessing it’s difficult to stand still(ish) for so long. How do you do it?
I practice adjusting my balance on one leg. Then I shift my weight to the other without anyone noticing. I also move in a robotic manner. It’s an attention grabber.
What’s something that would surprise people to know about you and your work as a living statue?
I pay close attention to the presentation of each character, studying the details to make sure it looks “real.” This includes making sure that the colors used on any of my costumes resemble those of an actual bronze or stone statue. For my bronze characters, I apply brush strokes of gold paint where the light hits the costume. I apply the same light technique to my face makeup as well. This helps onlookers clearly see the illusion that I am projecting.
What’s your favorite thing about being a “living statue”?
My favorite thing about being a “Living Statue” is, being able to fool the guests into believing that I am a part of the landscape. I also love that there is an endless list of “Living Statue” characters I can portray. I have a ton of fun!