Sunday, October 28, 2007

Maestrosities & Festival Comments

October 28, 2007
Look for the Maestrosities blog towards the end of the week and other comments about the festival.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tapate/Cover Yourself

October 26, 2007

Tapate/Cover Yourself
From: Catalonia/Andalusia
Created & Performed by: Cristina Medina & Joan Estrader
Directed by: David Sant

There is so much great work at this festival. This piece employs so much, which includes–dance, gymnastic, stage combat (and yippy it is done very well), great use of simple props, voice, funny dialogue, costume changes and lots of them.

You want to see this show and there are several reasons for clowns and performers to see Tapate; how to do stage combat well, how to do lots of costume changes well. Next year Joan and Cristina could give a workshop in how to do quick costume changes. It is wonderful to see lots of costume changes done so quickly and the show flows well as well. Enjoyed the story line – it was simple, but it is not the story line that makes this show Tapate/Cover Yourself it is the artistry of Cristina Medina & Joan Estrader. How about this they not only perform their show in English but in Spanish as well. Or I should say they perform their show in Spanish as well as English.
Two shows left: October 26 at 7 PM and Saturday 27 at 6 PM
(This final show on Saturday 27 at 6 PM will be performed in Spanish. If you have seen it in English try experiencing it in Spanish.)

By: Stanley Allan Sherman

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Savage Amusements

October 21, 2007
Created and Performed by: Ann Goldman

Wonderful simple show that had me from beginning to end. I had a great time, it was fun. Ann’s use of props was very complete; everything you see was used well. It a great lesson in how to work well with an audience and audience participants. Getting involved in the details of this show I am not going to do because I do not want to spoil it for those who are going to see it. One of the goals in our art form is to use all of your talents and turn everything even one’s perceived negatives into a positive. Ann used her talents well and you know you are seeing a well-seasoned fresh performer. Her clown was fun and she quickly wins everyone’s trust. She is true and real with everything she does…her clown world is all real. She is on from beginning to end.

You Want To Catch This Show:
One show left Tuesday night October 23 at 7 PM
By: Stanley Allan Sherman


October 21, 2007
Created by the Ensemble: Kate Down, Rober Grant, Any Grotelueschin, Piper Harrel, Catherine Mueller, Justine Williams and Director Virginia Scoot.

Ensemble, Ensemble, Ensemble, Great Ensemble, all of the clowns where always in character and I believe every action they took. They created their own special world…you were involved with the show and what would happen. They used many of their personal talents – which included tap dancing, singing and excellent clowning. Would like to see more risk taking by this ensemble in terms of what happens on stage and story. I think this is a good ensemble and that has a great future as long as they keep pushing their envelope.

This was there final show.
By:Stanley Allan Sherman

Lester & Louis Save The World

October 21, 2007
Created and performed by: Justin and Rachael Dobring
Directed by: Rachael Dobring

I like Justin Dobring as a performer and talent. His show is very intense and so is his characters Lester and Louis and the preacher that appears in the end. As an audience you get the feeling Justin really does want to save the world with his message. Lets face it most of us would like to save the world. Lester and Lewis brings this point out. This show looks well rehearsed – Justin shows us his power as a performer. There are many kinds of rhythm in a show and one kind is the intensity rhythm of the show. A certain level intensity of the show for me was the same throughout the show—this tired me out. One must breath here and there as a performer and audience. A little more oxygen would help. As times the story lost me here and there. The third character seemed to come out of nowhere and I was sorry to see Justin’s clown leave us. If you like intense theatre you will find this piece interesting. This is a solo show all except one moment. Solo shows can be tough – because most solo show performers want to deliver a profound message. The thing I find most interesting about this show is Justin Dobring as a talent and it will be good to see if he takes different kinds of risks in the future and what will happen when he adds more joy to his performances.

This was Lester and Louis Save the World final show at the festival.

What do you think?By: Stanley Allan Sherman.

The Glories of Gloria Revue

By: Mooky Cornish
(Who created the show and directed it is not given.)
From: Canada ( Guest teacher at the Clown Conservatory and worked with Cirque du Soleil .)

Clowns first of all must always be there in the world they create and be there totally. I want to be taken into their world, which is totally real for them, and believe everything they are doing. With the show that I saw it missed that element. The funniest part was an audience volunteer that Mooky knew whose first language was not English trying to read words in English. He was wonderful and totally real. Yes sometimes an audience member can turn a show around at least for a moment – but one needs to know how to carry that new energy on. But there were a few major obstacles that caused problems for the show. They were the set and costumes, which is a major part of the show.

Costumes looked big and expensive and there were countless costume changes. The changes took so long Mooky played dvd’s of old performers, great veteran vaudevillians. Many times she announced their names like they were part of her show– she also used modern era television show dancers. This was to fill in time during her costume changes. Having costume changes in a show is great, many costume changes can be wonderful and great performers can do these changes in seconds. Because the changes took so long it would be good to see something more creative done with the problem. The set looked very nice and looked was very complicated as well and to deal with.

Once I did Saturday Night Live; there is twice as much material as needed for the show. The piece I was in was complicated big set. Funny but complicated and someone that had done several shows told me we will be cut. I asked why. Because the complicated set pieces always get cut. They were right. Simple can be a very hard place to get to.

The clown show Burnt Umber did one thing very right which I love to see…and shows appreciation for everything that was done and thanking all of the people and companies that have been involved in any way to create the show. They had a great program; half of a piece of paper that credits everyone. I wanted to see a program with credits for The Glories of Gloria Revue for who made the costumes, who made the sets, credit for all the film clips and the names of everyone in the films, music credits etc. When you use other people’s talents to create a show – give them credit it goes a long way. Give yourself credit for what you did. People want to know. This is not only for this show but several shows can used a simple program to give credit to people involved.

Next show: Wednesday October 24 at 9PM, Saturday October 27 at 8 PM and Sunday October 28 at 3:30 PM
By Stanley Allan Sherman

Friday, October 19, 2007

Clown Olympics

October 19, 2007

Lets give a tip of the hat to Chris and Amanda (Monday Night Downtown Clown) for organizing a new and hopefully regular event at the Clown Theatre Festival. It was silly and taken very serious by all participants. The judges, Hovey, Mark and Deborah—(Deborah who was bribed) and advertised that fact that she was willing to be bribed and thank you, one clown did bribe her with a dollar and he got a score of 11 points out of a maximum of 10 point. Of course he dissevered at least +3 point for taking advantage of bribing a judge. Lot of fun acts on all levels – judges were booed and prized, as were the clowns. It would have been nice to see more people in slapstick; one of the highlights for me was the swimming in the kiddy pool. My favorite part was The Gold Metal Winners who tied for the Gold Metal swimming in the kiddy pool they deserved to win. They used the water well and with theatrics’ and drama – we has some highlights of true Clown Theatre here.

On with the festival…

What do you think?
By Stanley Allan Sherman

Violence Horror by Clowns & Mimes

October 19, 2007

Over the course of the festival I have seen a lot of Mime-Clown Violence – complete with blood, gore, and mime-clown horror. Most of this mime-clown gory bloody violence is in bad taste and a mark that the show is in trouble. This bloody, gore, and mime-clown horror has been in solo shows and group shows through out the festival. Is this influence from bad television or our clown society dealing and making fun of all the insane violence in our world today? If it is the later they need to do a much better job. It is most likely that they do not know what else to do so they find it easy to fall back on to violence. Often with shows and not all shows go into this state - often the clowns loose that clown essence and being in the moment and go into this kids playing bloody violence, gore, mime-clown horror because they do not know what else to do. In the creative process when you fall into this you must push beyond this to get to the truth of what you're really saying.

If you look at the successful shows you will not see this kind of mime-clown – gore – bloody violence. There our shows in our festival that are cruel and they are in good taste with any violence or cruelty being supported by clown theatre piece. When you find yourself doing violence check to see if it is supported and if there is a real reason for it. As Jacque Lecoq said about clown and theatre in general if the moment calls for it, “Because is a reason.” You will find shows are on a higher level, stronger, funnier and have a longer life where the violence is supported. This goes for scatology as well.

What do you think?
by: Stanley Allan Sherman

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Patatrac (Crash, Crack, Bang) From: Italy

October 17, 2007

Patatrac (Crash, Crack, Bang)
Created and Performed by: Moreno Raspanti and Christina Glogowsky
From: Italy
Childen of All Ages Friendly

What a simple breath of fresh air this show is. Yes there are more theatre elements I would love to see, but what a good time I had. The 11-month year old baby in the audience said it all as she lead the audience clapping and yelping. This is a musical clown show by two wonderful Italian musicians. You can tell Moreno and Christina have been performing and entertaining for a while. You want to know a very children of all ages friendly clown show in the festival, this is it.

The creative use of instruments, found and hand make instruments is profound. They play professional made instruments as well. Musically they know how to work the crowd. This show is a lesson for all clowns that want to use music in their shows or they are thinking about it. Not to copy them but to see what thinking out side of the clown box and musically can do and where it can take you. They built and found most everything they played on our New York City streets. You will be surprised what you can play. I would tell you but that would spoil the surprise.

Yes sometimes I did feel they were pretending rather than really being there in the moment. They were always there musically. I can nit pick about the story line and some of the motivations. But why - I just enjoyed this show to much for all that. Never did I find myself checking out the theatre lights.

Two cheers to the festival for bring show like this from other countries.

Two more shows Friday October 19th a 10 PM and Saturday October 20th at 2 PM
By Stanley Allan Sherman

Burnt Umber

October 17th 2007

Burnt Umber
Created and Performed by: Anne Sorce and Liza Zapol
Directed by: Rachel Eckerling

This is a new show and I believe I saw the first public performance of it. There are many small elements I liked. The found object props, the concept of the show, the relationship between them and many very emotional moments had me. It shows they have put a lot of work and time into this show. When you have a new show sometimes the hardest thing is to start having fun. It is a very green show and now they need to perform it as much as possible and start to make necessary changes. Would love to see their clowns enjoy themselves more. It is also nice to see two women clowns do a show that is not about cleaning and laundry, but taking on the working modern woman in the corporate world. There build office prop is great and they use it totally. The surprise inside is a surprise.

One thing I loved is the credits in their program. It is worth going to the show just to get a copy of their program to know how to credit properly. They have not hit the mark with Burnt Umber yet but by being open to change they can.
One more show Saturday night at October 20th at 10:30
By: Stanley Allan Sherman

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bouffon Glass Menajoree

October 8, 2007

Bouffon Glass Menajoree
Produced by Ten Directions
Written & Performed by: Lynn Berg, Audrey Crabtree and Amimee Leigh German
Directed by: Eric Davis

The only thing wrong with “Bouffon Glass Menajoree” is there are only two show of “Bouffon Glass Menajoree” at the 2007 Clown Theatre Festival. Granted one of the directors of the festival is in the show. The director of the show is also one of the directors of the festival. But they should not be so modest, although it is a refreshing sign of a classily run festival by people with their vision in the right place.

I know of a few people that wanted to see this Award Winning show “Bouffon Glass Menajoree”. Did you know that it won the 2007 Innovative Theatre Award for Best Production of a Play and nominated for several other awards? If you missed this show ask the directors of the festival to add one or two more.

Oh yaa and in full discloser I made Laura’s “Little Masks” they are very little mask that you will not see on Laura’s face.

Compared to last year the show has grown… it is sharper… more developed and funnier. The use of the improvised sections with in the show keeps the show fresh. If you go see “Bouffon Glass Menajoree”at different times you will have a different experience each show. I seen a few Bouffon shows – most of them have been long boring experiences – this is the only Bouffon full show that I have seen work. Eric Davis’s “Red Bastard” is a solo Bouffon show that is the only other show I have seen in the Bouffon style that works. Maybe that is why “Bouffon Glass Menajoree” works so well. Because Director of the show Eric Davis understands how Bouffon style works theatrically.

Wantt to see this show – ask them to add one. Oh I missed “Red Bastard” as well and would love to see Eric do another show as well.

Totally Bouffon Bias, Stanley Allan Sherman

Chiche Capon

Chiche Capon
Performed by: Frederic Blin, Mattheiu, Richard Lo Giudice and Patrick deValette
From France
Future Shows: Sunday October 14th at 3:30, Tuesday October 16th at 10 PM and Wednesday October 17th at 7 PM. The final show will be performed in French.

Loved the musician in this show – he was strong subtle and funny. The performers are strong and they can go on forever. This is a very high intensity show that is totally out there. At first it took on a feeling of a spoof on a drag queen show – not that I am that familiar with drag queen shows. Then it changed and left the drag queen theme. It is one of those totally irreverent shows. This is not a story line show – but just pure lets have wild fun. After a while parts of the show seemed to get stuck in repeating the same joke which for many people in the audience worked because the characters were so strong. Would love to see this company take on bigger theatrical challenges where they would take different kinds of risks.
Stanley Allan Sherman


October 14, 2007
There are two completely different shows here that have nothing to do with each other. The Damsels is one show and Jeff Seal’s is another show. The only connection is they both studied at the Circus School in San Francisco, California.

Created and Performed by: Suzanne Santos and Summer Shapiro
Jeff Seal “A Sudden Gust of Gravity”
Performed by Jeff Seal
Directed and Developed by: (Me) Stanley Allan Sherman

First the “Damsels”
Suzanne and Summer are both very talented women coming out of the Circus School in San Francisco, California. Summer Shapiro goes into classical theatre – song, clown and shows off well trained her talent. Suzanne Santos moves well, has a good voice and knows her clown. Their show needs to take real emotional and theatrical risks. The subject base of their show needs to go much deeper. They have a great potential as long as they push their envelope further than they can imagine with no limits. At times for me they could have gone deeper into their clowns and more in the moment. An excellent outside San Francisco eye of a director could help these two talented women move on to the next level. I look forwards to seeing where they go in the future.

UP DATE October 15, 2007: Just saw Damsels last show and here is the good news and one of the reasons why the 2007 Clown Theatre Festival is so good. They improved their show greatly by changing small things. These two performers listen to reactions and comments from other performers and festivalgoers made the changes that they could and it made real difference. What is great is they were not stuck in what they were doing so much that they could not make these change. Choose your director well and have fun… looking forwards to catching a glimpse of your show next time your in town.

Jeff Seal “A Sudden Gust of Gravity”
This is not a full show yet. It is a preview (work in progress) and from a totally bias place as the director and developer of Jeff’s show – it is funny. Jeff’s clown makes this material about Time and Space funny. It is very different. It is using material that Jeff is really passionate about. So yes it is worth seeing Jeff’s preview – as a glimpse of a beginning of a very good show.

Clownifornia Sunday October 14 10:00 PM

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UNDER THE SKIFF (Do not miss this one)

October 8, 2007

Conception and Scenario by: Maja Bieler & Jennifer Sargent
Devised by: Maja Bieler, Jennifer Sargent, Audrey Lamarque and Iciar Terspaderne
Set, Sound, Costumes & text by: Maja Bieler & Jennifer Sargent
Stage Manager/Sound and Light Board Operator: Jennifer Stokes

Cast: Maja Bieler & Jennifer Sargent

Maja Bieler and Jennifer Sargent have complete clowns. From the moment Maja and Jennifer step on stage they completely transform the brick theatre into their world of an immigration office. The fact they are from two different counties helps this show. What I loved is they took on an issue that is real that many people hear about but never experience. We experienced it. It is a perfect subject for clowns to explore and they explore with great insight and joy pulling you emotionally through out the show. Yes it is hysterical. It is always good to laugh at real life tragic situation and suddenly realize we are all in the same boat or boats.

The use of paper is artistically used and it is used in a very healthy clever positive way, with out being clever but necessary. The show starts when you walk into the theatre before the clowns even take the stage. This is an important show for clowns that are putting together a show to see. I was engaged from beginning to end – it dealt with a real subject, it is theatrically, the theatrical arch is there, movement of the show and clowns was great, their voices and sound are used well an integral part of the show and it was performed with clown joy. Under The Skiff is True Total Clown Theatre.

One side note; often sound and voice is used by us movement clown people - but our bodies and emotional gymnastics are in much better shape than our voice and use of sound. Under The Skiff as well as Zen Cabaret are both good examples of sound used well. Sound is an important part of clown theatre. In workouts do not forget to work on your voice and sound. It needs to be explored in the same way one explores the use of props or gags.

Under The Skiff is another…one of the best shows in the NY Clown Theatre of the festival.

UNDER THE SKIFF has two more shows – Saturday October 13 at 5:30 and Sunday October 14th at 7 PM, you do not want to miss this one.
By: Stanley Allan Sherman

Monday, October 8, 2007


Performed by: Nina Rolle, Liz Stanton, Davina Cohen, Gleason Bauer,
Ashley Hughes
and Jessica Cerullo

This show made my day. It pulled me into their Zen Cabaret world totally. They had me before they even walked on stage. Go see the show to find out why. It is great to see people working together doing fun, on the edge creating engaging theatre.

It is a must see for their total use of sound, visuals, gutsy material, characters, use of props and anything can happen clown theater. Yes I can nick pick on a few details but why bother… this show was too much fun to do that. Oh ya... if you did not notice from their names...all six performers are women.

Go see it. Next ZEN CABARET shows: Thursday October 11, 7 PM and Sunday October 14 at 8:30 PM
Dill and Diger
Created and Performed by: Camilla Svingen and Margareth Hosoy
Directed by: Peter Daniel Struss
Music by: Lars Sveinung Lid
From: Norway

First the washtub base player, he was wonderful and a great musician. Often time’s performers have recorded music that supports their piece – personally I hate recorded music with clown piece and most of all magic shows. Often times if you take away the music there is nothing there. The music is supporting the whole show because it is great music not because it is great theatre or clowning. Live music with theatre and clown theatre I love. Because it is alive and it gives the performers freedom to do anything and respond to anything and that is the case with this show.

The Washtub base player really made the show for me. He disappeared when the action was taking place and the clowns used him well. The clowning was in their native language. It was wonderful seeing a clown show in a foreign tongue. Their character clowns were strong, the story clear – it was fun. I never checked out the light fixture of the theatre because the show pulled me totally in.

The sad thing is I saw their last show at the NY Clown Theatre Festival. So you now have an excuse to go to Norway to see Dill and Diger. So keep your eyes open and go to those odd shows you know nothing about, especially from foreign countries.

Performed by: Jesse Buck
Written by: Jesse Buck and Michael John Dubue
Directed by: Adam Lazaus

High energy – total clowning – nothing is held back by Jesse’s clown. Jesse totally took me into his world totally. I know a good show when I do not start checking out the technical attributes of the theatre. I did not check out the technical attributes. Jesse’s clown totally changed the space with a few pieces of cloth and a toothbrush.

If you want to see the total use of a props see BUBKUS. His story tells is great and different. It is the same vain as many fantasy tale folklore theatre and film piece – only Jesse’s clown does all the parts. He changes to different character but keeping his clown always. I think it is the bloodiest show I have seen in a long time.

If you want to catch this show you’ll have to go to his web site his last show as part of the NY Clown Theatre Festival was Monday October 8, 2007.

No Place Like Home
Created and performed by: Rob Torres
Directed by: Avner Eisenberg

Rob has an interesting clown character that really enjoys showing how clever he is using very little. His use of masking tape and simple props is what it seems Rob has concentrated on and he uses props very well. The main thrust of the show is watching how clever Rob’s clown uses his props and how he uses standard bits like the elevator, walking down stairs, turning a towel into a turkey or chicken and various juggling tricks. Rob’s clown creative high points for me was the use of the masking tape. That seemed what he truly enjoyed doing the most.

When using scatology in theatre and especially clowning – you must use it with care. To go through the last half of the show with a big masking tape X over ones privet parts was distracting for me and did not seem to add. Would have like to see a more positive use (or involving) of the audience. Over all it is a clever show.

Would love to see Rob’s clown go beyond being clever. Rob’s clown does it very well, easily and it is totally developed. More personal emotion risk taking would be a joy to see.

Next Shows: Wednesday October 10 at 7 PM

What not to do after a show

What not to do after a show you feel did not go well & you had a small house.

You have a very small house, in a small house.
The show did not go as well as you wanted it to.
You missed some physical technical elements in your show.
Maybe some cues were off.

The show is over and the audience has had time to standup and is moving towards the exit. Suddenly the performer comes out. I said to myself, “the show is not over” then I understand that it was. The performer starts apologizing for the show to a few people he knows in the audience. Making statements belittling the few audience members that did make the grand effort of time and money to see this performer and did this while the audience was still there. It made me feel like I was a plate of crap. I felt sorry for the people in the audience at that point. We were a good supportive audience.

It is not often I have been criticized with an audience, for being part of a small audience. This audience was. Understand - yes I know we all have had bad shows at times. We’ve all had audience that just do not laugh – respond or do anything else except breath. We all have shows where nothing goes right. But never go and belittle your audience in any way or yourself. Except of course unless that is your clown and that’s what you do.

What do you do? Stay back stage, suck up the experience – change out of your costume, pack your props. Mentally go over your high points and low points in your show and set a few goals to work on for the next show.

Most experienced performers have had packed houses and houses with audiences in the single digits - hopefully more than one person. When I was in the middle of my 6-month run of my solo show in LA doing the AERO SHOW, which was Critics Choice in the LA Times. The president of the Vaudeville Museum told me there are no guarantees in theatre. You can have bad reviews and a full house or great reviews and an empty house. Some nights I had 6 people the next night would be sold out. But when I did have only 6 people I gave those 6 people the best show I could and some of those shows were my best shows. Some of those people came back several times. The fact is that every person tells an average of 10 people about the show they saw. So those 6 people told a total of 60 people – which helped the pack future houses.

Enjoy the small audience – you never know who is sitting in your audience.

If you go out to your audience after the show - praise them for being wonderful and supporting you. They paid to see you with their time or their money or both.
Be positive. It goes a long way.
Stanley Allan Sherman

What are your thoughts?

NY Clown Theatre Festival MOVING TARGET & COPS

October 6th Saturday Night Shows - 2007

Moving Target
Created and performed by Erin Bouvey
Directed by Sue Morrison.

I came in late to this show missing the opening so you must put that into the mix when reading this. Erin’s Clown deals with some wonderful tough issue about life that many people will be able to relate to. One always enjoys seeing performers taking on issues they care about or moves them. Erin’s Clown does this.

She is a very talkative clown bridging standup comedy and clown together in her unique style of Clown Theatre or you could say putting the verbal clown back in clowning. I understand this is a new show and it is always good to see new work before it is edited down and honed into a well working machine. So this is fresh.

My favorite part of the show… Erin and Sue please take this in the right way. It was Erin Clown doing her curtain call at the end of the show. There I saw a side of her clown I would love to see more of in her show. She moves great with jumps, twirls, spins – an engaging clown walk - voice and Erin’s Clown had thrilling joy about her.

Moving Target has two more shows, Tuesday night Oct 9th at 7 PM and Thursday Oct 11th at 8:30 PM

Created and performed by Ferran Aizala, Jaume Jove and Jordi Huete
Directed by Carolin Dream and Alex Navarro

If you want to see three clowns that work wonderfully together, see COPS. It is an import from Catalonia, Spain. The show is a take-off’s on many US cop shows on television and in movie’s. These three each have very strong clown characters (they are not red nosed clowns). The show includes all kinds of refreshing original gags and takeoffs …even if some of them are old.

It is their play with each other that makes this show special. They know how to make fun of themselves using an element from the Commedia dell’Arte that is a lesson for all performers, how to use your assets as well as your deficits. They use them boldly. I would tell you how - but that would spoil the show.

The over all rhythm is very much like the cop shows on television only its funny. For myself it could use some rhythm changes towards the end … but that I am sure varies from show to show. In the future I would love to see this group come back next year with an original show going into a subject that touches them.

COPS two more shows - Monday October 8 at 8:30 PM and Wednesday October 10th at 9 PM
What are your thoughs?