It's not often you get to see a butterfly of creative imagination emerge overnight from a pupae of generic pap. In Melbourne under the arches of Southbank I was both lucky and privileged to see such a transformation. I was the only other performer there watching so only I knew the context in which a performer left his generic juggling foundation and took wing, producing a whole surreal new audience participation driven show that illustrated perfectly how commitment is key and with it new vistas of shared silliness are there for the taking.

I worked Bourke Mall six days a week, far from perfect with fixed obstructions between me and my audience and trams disrupting every ten minutes as they drove through the show but still OK for my needs. Australia loves a larrakin and Melbourne is an art friendly city.

Working down from me was an interesting clown/poet who would take your name and then sit and stare at you before penning a poem on a pad with a carbon sheet before ripping out one copy for you and one copy went into a large preserve jar beside his small ladder. He'd then get up onto the ladder and read the poem he'd written for you, always including your name. It disturbed me that I got him to write two poems about me, one as myself and one as my stilt character and both had excessive drinking intertwined into the prose. Was I that obvious?

I had worked on the Saturday morning and then ambled the walk across the bridge to check out Southbank which was being turned into a potential new weekend pitch. All I saw there was some Canadian blow-in with a stock standard generic juggling show. Juggling knives, clubs and the patter was all stock. He was polished enough for it to work but not polished enough for it to be anything other than his first season on the road.

There are many ways to get into this lifestyle. I was lucky enough to go to a street theatre clown school and did not begrudge anyone else/s learning curve but I did have standards as regards my own entertainment and there was nothing in this guys show that interested me. He had a crowd and was working it. Disinterested I moved on, looking for my own requirements, corner, pedestrian flow, audience catchment area. Having found some potential I headed home.

Next day I was there and so was the young Canadian. But this time he had a strange cloth covered box with him. I stopped to chat and he told me he'd been working on a new show and was going to try it out. I wished him luck and sat back to watch. Forgive me I can't recall his name. Lets call him Derrick.

It was just insane, and very funny. Derrick set up a delivery room on the street. He dressed up as a doctor with a simple smock and one of those mirrors doctors wear on their forehead. I forget what was being given birth, I'm sure it was important but what floored me was his infectious enthusiasm.

He got some big Australian male volunteer to get into his contraption with stirrups to be the mother and his contraptions design meant that the business end of the birthing process was under wraps. He had another male volunteer run round his stage with a balloon filled with water in one hand and a pin in the other and every time he passed a certain point he'd have to scream, “Have the waters broken yet?” Derrick would dive his head under the covers and back out and yell , “No not yet!” and the balloon guy would have to run another circuit. There was a timer involved and the audience were cued to yell, “Breathe” at regular intervals. I know it doesn't seem to make sense but the audience were fully committed to this surreal tableau. I couldn't believe this was the same juggler I'd seen the day before.

Finally the guy completed another circuit and yelled, “Have the waters broken yet?” and the answer was “Yes!” and so he popped the balloon with the pin and Derrick reached in and pulled out an infant doll, wrapped it up and gave it to it's 'mum' briefly before taking it back and putting it tenderly into a bassinet he had handy.

His pacing had carried his audience to an enthusiastic crescendo as they howled at the conceptual disconnect of some Ozzie bloke giving birth for their amusement and Derrick used this to grab both volunteers and let them take their bows. This cleverly sustained the excitement and sending them back to their families he himself took a bow and put out his hat.

It was truly masterful. The crowd were still chuckling as they came forward to reward him.

He himself was in bliss. He had structured his strange imagination for profit using many singular performance skills to craft a show completely unique to him that had succeeded beyond anything he had ever done before. I recognised his moment. It's that rare moment when you realise your limitlessness.

I waited some time, watching him collect and accept gratitude and begin to pack his stuff up in a space now empty where before he had filled it. I knew he would crash soon and wanted to cushion his fall. I moved in as he was finishing packing. I told him to sit down, he looked drained happy and a little frightened at what he's done. I recognised that too. He sat.

I told him to remember today. I told him he'd just proved to himself, to his audience and to me, a fellow performer who took all this seriously, that he had everything he needed to do anything he wanted from here on in. I told him when winter came in Australia that he should go to Europe and start again in a new summer and that they would love him.

Then I walked home. There was no point me working that day. He'd blown me away.

I'd love to find out who he was and what happened to him.