Sunday, September 28, 2008

Closing Weekend Cabaret

First a note: comparison between this Closing Weekend Cabaret and Thursday Nights Cabaret. From Thursday Nights Cabaret with almost all the exact same acts doing the same things, what a breath of fresh funny air and great time. The difference between the two Cabarets was the host. Where Renaldo who tortured and abuse everyone going on for eternity, hosts Lord Oxford and Patty O’Pattiecake (again no program to tell who anyone was – but I think Patty O’Pattiecake is Audrey Crabtree) they where great moving the show along. Not staying on stage longer than the needed. We all left feeling we had great evening and maybe even wanting more. Leaving them wanting more is something extremely important to learn from the Thursday Night Cabaret disaster created by host Renaldo for reasons listed in Thursday night’s blog. The only thing I would add is – seeing Renaldo’s band without Renaldo would be interesting. If you are going to host Lord Oxford and Patty O’Pattiecake is a lesson in how to do it right. The result all the act where much better as well.

Red Bastard – was funny as &%#! - his usual. Dodi Disanto was in the audience one of the experts in Bouffon and she loved the Red Bastard saying some exceptionally complementary thing about him to me. Which I will not repeat for fear of it going to Red Bastard’s head or bouncing ass.

John Leo and his star Peanuckle where excellent. John’s movements in his dance where crisper than in his first show in the festival, which resulted in a much better performance. Liked his energy. His piece did start to drag in the middle a little. Over all it was great and Peanuckle the star was excellent. 3.5 Heads where great it will be nice to see how this group develops this beginning piece. Coo No More were effective in us not understanding – but I think I did understand some. There was a fellow that did a great thing with his back as a face. Very affective use of a back as a puppet. The story I would like to hear is how he developed that piece.

Great Closing Cabaret.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kill Me Loudly: A Clown Noir: Friday September 26, 2008 Tonight at 10:30

Congratulations to Deanna Fleysher star clown of Kill Me Loudly. I was listening to NPR and suddenly I hear a story about clowns. To my surprise it was about our NY Clown Theatre Festival and there was a short interview of Deanna Fleysher and she sounded great. She plugged the Festival and her show. Great job.

Concluding Comment

Concluding – every little and big thing one does on stage matters. In this art and business that most of us struggle to make a living at - competition to make that living can be very tough. So everything you do on stage is important. After all we want people in these tough economic times to take their hard earned money and pay to see us perform to move them emotionally, put a smile joy through out there bodies and souls and in some cases or many take them away from their daily life. We make that magic that happens in the theatre wherever we create it come to be. This is why every moment on stage matters.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clown Cabaret - a great lesson

Clown Cabarets
Host: The Renaldo The Ensemble
Graspy McTakeitall – Audrey Cabtree
3.5 Heads
Coo No More
Dog Ski

This was a great lesson in what turns an audience on so every person in the audience is totally engaged. Of course a lesson also covers the other side of that. You know the side where you look around the audience and no one is laughing just sitting there with blank looks on faces.

The totally engaged lesson… Graspy McTakeitall – Audrey Cabtree, every person in the theatre was alive involved … also awake. She was topical – had a great time and was totally involved in every moment she was on stage and she really did wake people up. She was also funny as hell - and all the laughs in the audience where real and not forced.

3.5 Heads has some nice moments and the dancer was great. There has been a lot more dances in this clown festival by women combining clown, theatre and dance - it has been great.

Dog Ski was interesting and Coo No More I have no idea if they went on or not because the Host really did not introduce anyone so people could understand who was coming on.

The Host … it was not the members of the group it was the leader of the host. There is a type of entertainment where the entertainers torture the audience, and some people enjoy this. The leader of the Host was this type of performer. Maybe it is just me, but it seems like the host is responsible for feeling the energy of the audience and making sure the evening is moving along. When the energy goes down and needs a pick me up the Host comes in and pulls something out of his or her bag of tricks to get the energy of the audience up for the next act. Also making sure everyone knows everything about the act coming on that the performers want the audience to know. Especially when there is no program. The leader of the Host was into abuse torture the audience theatre. If you looked around the audience you saw lots of totally blank looks on peoples faces or the uncomfortable ugly laugh once in a... He did more than that; he started preaching about god - nothing to do with his act. He just wanted to tell people what to think and how to think about god. It does not matter if you’re pro or anti god. You want to start preaching about religion– go start your own religious house of worship or un-worship as the case maybe – but please keep it out of the clown festival. Especially when you are there to move the evening along and introduce the acts. If you want to do political theatre, great – clown political theatre even better - but first it must be theatre, if we wanted to hear preaching about god - we would go someplace else. Some other members of the band had some nice moments – but the leader often stepped on their moments when he could get away with it. Instead of moving the show along – we got everything this entertainer has ever created – or at least it seemed like it. Now if you are into abuse and torture of the audience theatre you really missed a great show. After the Cabaret went past its second hour with no break and it looked like this guy was coming on for another ??? hours - a member of the audience bolted for toilet – I followed. The sad part of all this – the host did a great disservice to the performers of the evening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Soiree

By: Amanda Huotari

Amanda or I know her a Mandy – is a superb performer and she can do almost anything on stage and it would be great. The characters I have seen before and each time she does them they get better. It is a nice evening of entertainment. How she engages with her audience is wonderful. Mandy has a full plate as she also runs the Theatre Barn in South Paris Maine. Soiree holds together as a show. It looks like Mandy is trying to move on to another level and I look forward to her taking chances that she is not thinking of both solo and working completely new material with new faces and new blood.

The next performances of Soiree are Friday the 26th at 9 PM and Saturday at 8:30.

Number’s Up!

Written and Performed by: John Leo
Director (or Directorial Consultation {depending if you read the Festival Program or John’s Post Card}): Audrey Crabtree
John’s Co-Star: Machopeachu or Pinochle (Not Credited: in the festival program or John’s post card.)

Knowing that Audrey Crabtree – also one of the main festival directors, directed John Leo and from seeing John last year and concluding with an excellent director this performer and John’s show can really be spectacular, I was prepared for a treat. With Audrey’s hands directing – all of those dead moments would be alive and active. John has the possibility of achieving greatness with his show – and it is a nice show. John has the ability of achieving much, much, much more than this audience saw. His ideas are excellent – but the performance lacks a punch, pushing of the envelope, at moment’s quietness that is needed and a further extension of this physicality. There was an over all feeling that part of the show seemed lost and undirected. There were magical but it was spotty moments that happened through out the show. Of course the best moment and part of the show that got the most laughs was with John’s co-star Pinochle. Pinochle is always 100% in the moments. Pinochle doing what Pinochle does best. Pinochle spends the right amount of time on stage and would love to see more of Pinochle. For me one of the important things for a performer is to believe that they are 100% there. Pinochle achieved this, Pinochle’s co-star did not. In the show “Party Of One” with Noël Williams in her Saturday night late show she left everything on stage. When she finished she was totally drained. Would love to see John come off stage like that, leaving everything on stage. That does not mean he must run around as fast as he can to get tired. You can pour out all your energy just standing on stage being very still.

As to the direction – from speaking with Audrey after the show - she was surprised that she was credited. She did do some directing of John Leo but from what I understand not that much and they have not worked together in something like 2 months. If you choose to have a director or a director/developer/co-creator of your show, it is someone that you should trust and you should put your show in their hands, trusting what they say and follow their direction or at least try it out in performance, developing your working relationship between you. Finding the right director for you is important. Do one or two sessions to see if you like working together. I have no idea the details of this performer creator and director relationship - but with strong direction John and his show or a new show can be a great powerful show. I look forwards to seeing the developement of John Leo and Pinochle's show but only if there is real direction.

John and Pinochle has two more shows. (Thursday 9/25 at 7 PM and Saturday 9/27 at 7 PM) but sometimes the program is wrong so check the web site or call the box office

Monday, September 22, 2008

Contact list and communication

Would you like to post your web site or contact information to keep in contact with other performers at this festival or post a show or a run your doing somewhere else? Who knows it could lead to a paying gig. There are people that read this blog in other countries as well. So post your contact information to the world here and tell us what show your were doing and a little about yourself. Or if you did a show in the past or planning on doing a show, post it here.

Bury My Heart At Dumbass Cowboy - hope you caught this show

Bury My Heart At Dumbass Cowboy
Jon Ferguson Theatre

Jason Ballweber – Luck the Horse, Sheriff Carl Sbadcavers
Noah Bremer – Leslie Peppercock
Lisa Rafaela Clair – The Catus
Dario Tangelson – Jose Del Rio
Sara Richardson – Darlene Sugar-Bottom, The Dumb Ass Deputy
Kimberly Richardson – Cookie
Amy Stockhaus – Shirley Gonnafightcha
John Ferguson – Director

Wow a real theatre company that is working together and doing great things. This is the closet thing in the festival to Commedia dell’Arte. From speaking with the director after the show I discovered 25% of the show was improvised – which in my book is on the road to how it should be. It is a great use of using aspects of Commedia dell’Arte and Clowning and why they are both vital if your doing Clown Theatre. (Of course I encourage people to study Commedia dell’Arte because I teach it.) This is Clown Theatre – not straight clowning or mime or just juggling shows. It is combining all the talents into a theatrical piece. Jon Ferguson Theatre does it well.

This company knows their show is not perfect and it is still growing. Some thing that is important for all shows to know. They are never perfect. There is always room for growth. It is one of the most important show to see at the festival. Jon Ferguson’s leadership in directing and pulling together a company like this is great. These clowns/actors/etc all use their voices very well. Performers at the festival if you’re using your voice – your voices should be trained or be good enough to look trained so you can do anything you need to do with it. This company does that and does it well. They work together not against each other. They know how to share the focus on stage and give there fellow actors on stage what they need to work with to make the show better.

The show is the bluest raunchiest shows in the festival in a very positive way with a lot of verbal with some physical scatology.

Guess what one of the members of this great company – the woman that played The Catus, Lisa Rafaela Clair is planning on staying in NYC. I do now know her plans but performers in NYC should take note of that. (Just hope I got that right - if it is wrong post a comment and if I am right Lisa feel free to post your web site.)

Why are these people only doing three shows and they come all the way from Minneapolis with this many people? The festival needs to give people at least a chance of breaking even financially! Hay who is doing all the press? Are there members of the producers that are handing out this great Clown Festival Program to people in Time Square or Wall Street? Wall Street needs us clowns now more than ever!

Performers – from seeing the sizes of the audiences at this festival – it looks like you need to do your own PR gathering your own audiences. Try phone calls to friends of friends of friends or flyering Wall Street and Time Square in costume.
WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS FULL COLOR PROGAM is anything in it correct this final week and a half?

According to the program their last show was on Sunday Night - but you never know - with this program because more and more information in it seems wrong.

Last night I went to see “Brazilian Hulk Show” with a show from Maine, “The Crows Funeral”. “The Crows Funeral” canceled which most of the people in the audience did not know and most of us had no idea what the $#% was going on. I was planning on see the last performance of KILL ME LOUDLY: A CLOWN NOIR on Saturday September 26th at 10:30. Two of the performers asked me if I was going to their last show on Friday night – which is a problem for me. Looking at the program their doing their last show on Saturday Night not Friday Night. But maybe this may have changed and the festival producers are keeping it a secret. I also found out that “THE CANCAN DEW" is doing two more shows this week I believe on Wednesday and Thursday night. If the schedule has changed I suggest that performers start telling people because I have heard nothing about it except from performers that are not telling anyone unless they are asked.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

“A Car Ride” Sunday Night September 21, 2008 Late Show

Went to see the “Brazlian Hulk Show” double billed with “The Crow’s Funeral” There was no programs for either show, in fact “The Crow’s Funeral” did not even show up. After walking out, I found out “The Crow’s Funeral” had canceled. There was no announcement made or if there was I missed it. Of course I was going by the main Stage Shows Program, which it looks like is not always accurate. So you might call ahead of time to make sure what you are planning to see is really going to be there.

I was told by one of the producers not to miss “Brazlian Hulk Show”. Three member of a great troop of six members agreed to fill in at the last minute for the missing show. The “Brazlian Hulk did showed up and did some things which I did not enjoy and then left the stage and these great performers came on again and told us they were stalling for time for “Brazlian Hulk Show” again. I escaped when the fill in performers left and with me and an old friend of mine Mike Seliger. There is reason for everything and I found out why I ended up going to this show and walking out. When Mike and I left we ran into members of “Bury My Heart At Dumbass Cowboy” cast sitting out side the theatre with a lot of their props and costumes. By the way “Bury My Heart At Dumbass Cowboy” is worth seeing. They had been waiting for a Taxicab to come along which does not happen to often at the Brick Theatre. In fact I believe a Messiah (of any religion) is more likely to come by the Brick Theatre before a taxicab will come by the Brick Theatre. After talking and joking around we found out they were waiting for a cab. Now Mike has a car. He loaded up all their props and costumes they had with them in his car and took them to where they were staying. In the spirit of making the world a better place it was great to see an audience member treating these wonderful performers with respect and a car ride with all there equipment to where they were staying.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

“Party of One” – One of the best solo shows of the NY Clown Theatre Festival

Performer: Noel Williams as Captain Melisande Blue
Written by: Noel Williams and Sue Morrison
Directed by: Sue Morrison
Original Music by: Mike Datz
Sound Effects by: Mike Datz & Miles Polaski
Props Design & Construction by: Douglaas Jarard & Simon Lashford
Lighting Design Assistance Tabitha Rodman
Costume Consultation: Tamara Mullen
Technician: Richard Keyser
Produced by: Noel Williams

Noel Williams is an excellent performer and you feel like anything can happen at any moment and she will go with it. Her little journey deals with real universal issues (or issue) that one feels and is moved by and is funny, sad, sexy, erotic, crazy and insane. Here again we find another strong female clown in the festival doing great work. The transitions in the show between clown and bouffoon are seamless and it works beautifully. She uses all of her props and costumes on stage completely. The people and places she studied with shows in how she performs and plays with the audience and takes that wonderful theatrical leap into the void. Which so many performers do not do. If there is one reason to see this show and there are many - it is seeing Noel Williams jump into that theatrical void. She was lucky enough to study with the late master Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, as well as do work with the respected Chicago’s Second City Conservatory.

Sue Morrison directed and is a co-writer of “Party of One”. This is the best directorial work by Sue that I have seen. It is leaps and bounds over anything she did last year and is a pleasure to see her growth as a director. Talking with Sue after show she agrees it is one of her best-directed shows and talked about how wonderful it is to work with Noel Williams. Seeing Noel Williams after she was completely finished – she looks like you should look after a show. Completely drained of all energy. That is how a performer should leave the theatre completely drained. She left everything on stage.

Only one show left!!! Sunday September 21st at 3:30 PM


One criticism of this 2008 Clown Theatre Festival is most show are only doing three show that are packed together and not spaced out. This results in little chance of building a word of mouth, audience, press reviews or for shows to be picked up. Next year where possible, (and yes we know some performers can only be here for a few days), it would be good to space shows out and the shows that will be around all month have them do one show a week for the four weeks or something in that spirit. This will be good for the shows, performers, audience and the festival.

One more criticism: On another note I found out, what I consider one of the worst shows of the festival "Chalk it Up" flew here and put their show together in two days and it looked like it. Why are they in the festival on the same night as three other well rehearsed polished shows? If your going to do that have a night of shows that people threw together at the last minute. But I would rather have the time dedicated to shows like "Party of One".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"The Nosdrahcir Sisters" ...breath of fresh air of the evening of the shows September 17th

The Nosdrahcir Sisters
Created and Performed by: Kimberly Richardson & Sara Richardson
Lighting Technician: Richard Keyser
Sound Technician: Jason Ballweber

Music: Herb Alpert, David Bowie performed by Ulu and Vitamin String Quartet, Vangelis as Performed by BBC Concert Orchestra, Heaven 17, The Hitmaker, Journey, Patty Smyth, Leonel Richie as covered by ProSound Studio Band, Barry de Vorzon as performed by Ronnie Aldrich, and clips from Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Choreography: Kimberly Richardson with contributions from Sara Richardson and reference to Kathy Smith Videos of the 80’s & 90’s

Three show on the night of September 17th 2008 and this is the only show with a program and it gives credits. “The Nosdrahcir Sisters” get 25 extra bonus points! One way I tell if a show is good is if I DO NOT start counting lighting instruments in the theatre. I counted no lighting instruments during their show.

“The Nosdrahcir Sisters” were the breath of fresh air of the evening shows. They were original, incorporated many of their personal talents and training. The music they used, which is often used as a crutch in many other shows “The Nosdrahcir Sisters” used very well. The dance moments of the show were refreshing and add and developed their characters moving their story and show to a higher theatrical level. The elderly lady dance you have to see. Some of the dances did not even look like dance they were incorporated into the show so well. There costume elements and quick changes in the show were fun. If you want a lesson in how to use props well see “The Nosdrahcir Sisters”. They used everything on stage and more than once all in their own style and some objects for totally different theatrical reasons. Many moments in the show touched me. The working relationships between them was excellent and I look forwards to seeing what these two do in the future. Kimberly Richardson earned a BFA in Modern Dance from University of Utah and Sara Richardson was trained at Sarah Lawrence College in NY and at Ecole Jacque Lecoq in Paris, France.

These two wonderful performers are also in “Bury My Heart At Dumbass Cowboy” Saturday September 20th at 4 PM and Sunday September 21st at 7:30 PM.

“The Nosdrahcir Sisters” have two more shows Friday September 19 at 7 PM and Saturday September 20 at 6 PM


The other two shows “Glass of Wine” & “The Big Bang” used lots of famous artists music – wonderful musical creations that drove most of the emotions of theirs shows, but there was no credit as to whom these musicians where and of course no small note in a program about these wonderful musicians that “Glass of Wine” & “The Big Bang” used. Of course using the music and rights to use music is for a lawyer to talk about. “Glass of Wine” was a juggle and object manipulation show with a good object manipulator. The other show “The Big Bang” was a mime show that had some nice moments and both of these had some theatrical problems plus no program.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Russian Office

The Russian Office
Created and Performed by: Denni Dennis
From: Copenhagen, Denmark

This is a 30-minute theatrical experience and so much fun, an experience not to be missed. This show is every 30 minutes through the 27th from 6:30 to 8:30. Yes bring your passport. I would say more about this show/experience but I do not want to give anything away and spoil it for you.
Oh this Russian beer is really good.
Thank you Denni Dennis for a 30 minute good time.

C’est La Nuit Qui’il Faut Attraper La Lumiere

C’est La Nuit Qui’il Faut Attraper La Lumiere
Clown: Orianne Bernard
Director: Giovanni Fusetti
From: Strasbourg, France

With what we do in clown theatre some shows live on a very fine edge and if the performer in a solo show is off the show can just suck. It is impossible to be on every night and we have all had nights where it does not matter what we do – nothing works. This might be the case here. Speaking with other people that saw the same show, one person had friend that told him to come and his friend who was not there on this night loved this show on another night. The three people I spoke with felt the pretty much felt the same as me.

Orianne Bernard looks like a very talented performer that is well trained. The show was developed with Giovanni Fusetti who directed it. There were a few nice moments… but only moments in this show where Orianne pays great attention to detail and really enjoys what she is doing. Many small moments where thrown away. Details lost and props used very little, not completely explored or just basic uses. If you have a prop or costume element it must be used and used well. Orianne vocals were annoying – which can work… but I just did not believe they were real. Did not believe Orianne it seemed like she was pretending instead of being honest. A few people I spoke with after the show had the same problem I had – we were falling asleep and could not wait for this show to be over. Repeating the same thing over and over again can be one of the funniest things in the world. Here it did not work. I lay most of the problems with this show not on Orianne but the director Giovanni Fusetti who also helped develop this show. The director Giovanni Fusetti should have caught most of the main problems with this show. The most important one… being real, if Orianne would have believed in what she was doing this show might have worked. That is a director’s job. It did have some of the very basic lofty ideas of avant-garde theatre but nothing new. There were lots of ideas in this show and lots of statements - lots of cleverness, which resulted in a very cluttered show, again the director is sitting on the outside and needs to see these things and redirect them. The story it looks like they have just started to flush out and find. For me they have not found the story yet. It did not take me into her world… that clown magic of theatre did not happen for me – the number of times the audience laughed were few. Three people walk out before the show was half over. The show seemed to have about three different endings.

Again maybe she just had an off night. We all have nights that suck. If you saw this show on a night that you loved it please post your comments - because we can all have an off night.


I was asked by two of the producers to blog about this Clown Theatre Festival again this year. About anything that is happening at this festival that I feel is important or interested besides writing about the shows. I never dreamed I would be blogging about this issue but I feel this is an important issue for the performers in the festival. It is the second blog that is not about a show and the first blog that does not please me to write, but as a festival blogger it is part of what I agreed to do. Also another blogger also mentioned this issue in one of his blogs.

Producers of the NY Clown Theatre Festival receive a grade of F for programs. Maybe there is not a budget for printing up programs inserts for each show, or maybe there is no staff for this. We know two of the main producers of the festival are performing for a few weeks on the other side of the Atlantic at the moment. But I see no real programs for the performers and companies as a loss for this festival.

Lets say you have a major or minor theatre reviewer, producer or someone that could be vital for the performers or companies come to see a show and they are handed the current program. The reviewer will have no idea who is in what show if it is a show with three or four different companies. One blogger guessed at who was in what company for one evening with four different companies and got two names put in the wrong company. I left all the names out that I did not know and put “???” Thank you to the performer who blogged who she was and I was able to edit my blog and add her name. If I was a professional reviewer … I don’t know what I would have done. For performers not be credited in a write up or be placed in the wrong company would really piss me off. That error is not on the writer but the producers.

What are the profits for performer at this festival? Publicity, interacting with other performers, possible review, having people that see you or your company perform, know what you have done, where you have studied and anything else you want to them to know in a short bio. These little bio’s are very important for performers. One never knows who is in an audience and what important bit of information will help that person contact you so you can get your next gig or lead to a gig or new working relationship. Performers have come from the other side of the earth, across the country or ocean to perform in this festival and their name on the current program is in something like the smallest 4 point type on the back and it is not even circled or underlined for the show. Personally I would love to have seen a bio for The Birdmann … I feel like I was robbed of that small joy to get a little information as to whom The Birdmann is and what he has done.

Performers – I would strongly suggest you kindly ask the producers of this festival to print up inserts for the programs for your shows. If they do not, I recommend you print up your own inserts having them inserted or have a friend pass them out to the audience.

Do you think I am making too much of a deal about this or is this little program thing important? I would like to hear your comments.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Birdmann

The Birdmann
From: Melbourne, Austraila
With: The Birdmann

It is refreshing to see someone on stage with the confidence to do very little and make the most out so many little moments and take his time in the spotlight. It is the opposite of the high-energy shows. Birdmann’s show is very much about timing and if you want to see some excellent timing see The Birdman. He does a little geek in the show and you can tell he is enjoying what he’s doing.

His use of objects is very good. Personally I would have liked to see a little more use of some of the objects, taking it a little further. Birdmann pushes his theatrical envelope a little on many fronts, he is an excellent perform and would love to see him push his theatrical envelope even more. Which would make The Birdmann’s show even stranger than it is already.

One thought I had after seeing the show is how important it is for a performer when they feels safe to push further to a higher level to where they no longer feel safe theatrically.

Coming all the way from Australia to NYC for this festival. The Birdmann only has two more shows, one on Saturday September 13th at 9 PM the last one September 16 at 7 PM. Buy tickets before they are sold out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Four Shows mostly by women Sunday Night the 7th

Sunday Night 8:30 Shows on the 7th

There were 4 different groups of mainly women except for the first group which which had one guy. I know the producers are burning their candles at both ends and the middle – but I do miss the bio’s of the performers in the programs of the shows we are seeing.

Chalk it Up
With ?
The first group Chalk it Up had a lot going on at the same time with lots of scatology happening. Scatology seemed to be the main theme of the show. Often the show for me seemed unfocused. They did a few nice things with chalk on the boxes creating different buttons that made the other clowns do thing, which were the spots that seemed to work the best for me. The use of chalk on the floor creating safe zones for these clowns seemed a forced dramatic situation. These clown all have unique characters, which was good, now it would be good to see them focus on the theater of their clown theatre.

Two chairs
Monica Moreau & Adriana Chavez

This was their only show and it is good seeing the festival giving slots to up and coming performers like this. The two performers in Two Chairs were Monica Moreau (I only know this because I know her) and the second clown it is hard to tell from the program. Their piece was very much Clown Dance Theatre with more concentration on the dance. There clown characters were believable and real on stage at all time and they developed one simple theme that worked really well. It was enjoyable seeing them work together to their hip-hop clown dance and incorporating some nice gymnastics. I know they have not been working together long but what they are doing is good and I look forwards to seeing how they develop in the future. They have an excellent working relationship.

The CanCan Dew
Jenny Sargent and Aimee German
Jenny Sargent was in one of the best shows of the festival last year Under the Skiff with her brilliant partner Maja Bieler. And I am very sorry not to see Maja listed among this year performers - but have high hopes to see her next year. Jenny Sargent is an amazing powerful performer and with her new partner Aimee German in this beginning show theirs. There is no way what they do is going to be anything but great. Aimee of course is in the other hit show of past clown theatre festivals Bouffon Glass Menajoree. Together these two performers are amazing … combining a classy style, dance, gymnastics, theatre, drama and clown theatre with total use of their talents. It is very refreshing to see these two women in the short piece that they did. This does look like a beginning new team, which works. Part of the key you will see with great shows is a wonderful working sharing relationship. That is one thing you will often find in great show – the people are working well together and using their unique talents. Sunday was the only show and you are lucky if you saw it… I am looking forwards to seeing more of these two and The CanCan Dew developing into a full theatrical show.

Pants! The Best Show Ever
Summer Shapiro and April Wagner
I cannot talk about Pants without talking about Summer Shapiro’s experience at last years Clown Theatre Festival. Obviously a very talented well trained woman…lets just say last year was a real learning and growing experience that we all experience once in while; but hopefully not to often. As one person in the audience said, "I cannot believe its the same person!" With Summer’s new partner April Wagner – these two found their own unique style of clown theatre that really works. Sexy – yes and they play and make fun of so many sexy, shy thing along with, men, love/lusty plus more on so many different levels. These two women do let everything go and they reach that level of theatre where anything can happen and just might. They have a good clown piece now, I look forward to these two women as well as some of the others in the festival taking their great talent between the two of them to the next level of theatre – clown theatre.
Pants has one more show Friday September 12th at 8:30 … if you want to see these two get tickets now.

As a last note the best shows last year had a real strong story lines with a beginning, middle and end. Yes we want to see great clean technique that we do not notice, strong freeing characters, wonderful costumes, positive working relationships, theatre that puts you on the edge of your seat laughing and being moved so much it hurts. Put all that in with a strong story and you have a great show that has a shot at running and doing well. This is after all CLOWN THEATRE. The theatre must always be a major part of the total package.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ten West (2008 Clown theatre Festival)

Ten West
With Jon Monastero & Stephen Simon
Directed by Bryan Coffee

This is a new show for these two veteran performers having performed it very few times before bringing it to the NY Clown Festival and it is a nice little journey, having some very strong traditional/non-traditional images they work with. These two performers have excellent technique using mime, juggle, voice, movement and props. They breakaway from the famous rule of three a little when performing various bits and I would love to see them breakaway more from that rule. As some people know I am not a fan of that rule. All the bits are integrated and not forced into the show. One thing that I always like to see is performers taking one theme and going with it rather than a show made up of lots of little bits.

When they previewed on the opening night they did not do a piece from their show but rather a piece that they did many times which was excellent and one of the best piece of the night. They used music multidimensionally, rather than as a crutch, which is often with many performers and usually not needed or used to fill up space. In Ten West their new shows use of music is used more traditionally rather than multidimensional, but as this show grows I am sure that will as well. Ten West is a growing show and it has a lot of potential.

Speaking with Jon and Stephen they told me that they study with John Achorn in LA. John is an old friend of mine from when I was running my solo show in LA for 6 months many decades ago. John was mentored by the famous Carlo Mazzone-Clementi and I personally believe John has more Carlo knowledge than anyone I know. So if you are in the LA area check out John Achorn as he has Commedia dell’Arte classes that are starting up. John is also a director, writer and actor.

Ten West has one more show Sunday September 7th at 7 PM