Thursday, September 30, 2010

"LEGS AND ALL" - NYC Extension - 6 more shows!

It is great to see a show from the Clown Theater Festival complete its run at the festival and move on to another theatre. It makes financial sense for these performers whom I believe are from California and they take advantage of their successful run, building their audience from the festival. Here one of the better shows at the festival has extended and you can catch them in Manhattan. LegsandAll goes very much towards the area of Clown Dance Theater. This is an excellent physical theater piece.

The Kraine Theater
85 E 4th St. between 2nd & 3rd Ave.
Manhattan, NY

Saturday Oct. 2nd @ 2PM + interactive talk-back
Sunday Oct. 10th @ 2PM + interactive talk-back
Thursday Oct. 14th @ 8PM
Friday Oct. 15th @ 8PM
Saturday Oct. 16th @ 3PM and 8PM

It also looks like they are doing a workshop
Sunday Oct. 17th @ 1-4PM - "Devising Physical Theater" workshop

For more information go to more info:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How many people have read this blog

Always wonder how many people read this blog. Found the stats page for the blog and 948 people have read this blog during this 2010 NY Clown Theater Festival.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Last 2010 Clown Theatre Festival Cabaret

It was a joy lining up outside to see this last Clown Festival Cabaret. There where many people including directors and friends that helped some of the performers refine or put together their acts. Hilary Chaplain and Audrey Cabtree hosted this last Cabaret and it was a sell out. In fact many people that wanted to by tickets could not get in. Of course that left many people wanting to by tickets out side with the just past full moon with all of these festival participants, directors, friends and bloggers including me outside.

For about an hour or more everyone joked with each out, net worked. I passed out a few of my flyers about “Creating Original Material” Clown Theater Lab I am teaching starting October 5 going every Tuesday (except election night November 2), until November 30th, contact me at if you want to sign up or for more information about this workshop or rather lab. I was handed a post card about the National Puppetry Conference and the show Puppet Pandemic taking place at The Tank October 2nd at 7:30 and 9:30 and October 3rd 7:30 and 9:30. People were joking and clowning around, one person whom will remain nameless said, “Lets lock them all in so they cannot get out.” This received a very quick response from inside with Robert bolting out saying, “that is not funny!” Taking a little prop action removal. Of course he came out to explain how city inspectors had come by twice making sure everything was safe and fire laws where up to snuff. A few small changes where made. That was the height of the drama outside.

Tanya finally said let go to a bar and most people left for the bar to party on. I stuck around just incase someone left. Hilary Chaplin suck her head out at one point for air saying, “Eeeeeeeryone is going long. They don’t understand that shorter is better. Going overly long does not help.” Standing outside and seeing many of these in the past, I agree. The Cabaret does need a hook for those selfish performers who go way too long. A warning to the performer on stage – then the bottom drops out of the theater and a fresh act comes on. Finally two people left and I got to come in. It was the final piece of the Cabaret. (Jonathan Kaplan it turns out I missed as I was outside during his turn on stage. Watson is not Kaplan.) Watson Kawecki’s 8 Minutes of Wonder, it was fantastic and from what people tell me was the best piece of the night. Of course they could have said that just to make me feel good. It was original, different, funny as hell, unique, and shows this performers true talent, which I am looking forwards to seeing more of. He used his props very well, creating and building his own time machine and had a great ending. From what I saw it was a great Cabaret inside and out. The bar report I will have to leave for other people comment on.

Channel One

James & JF Presents
Created and Performed by: Emily James & Ishah Janssen-Faith

Wonderful opening of the show and these two young talented women where totally in character throughout the show, alive from beginning to end with fresh excellent movement going all the way with everything they did. The Emily James piece with a love song was original and showed. It is such a joy to see an original song in the clown festival. It was edgy material through out the show. This is the only show that used stage combat with a leg kick to the face that worked. Emily who gave the kick and Ishah who received it where spot on. The audience interaction and play was good and you could tell these two performers are use to improvising with in their set show. The dream catcher piece by Emily was very enjoyable with peacefulness, power with surprises. There rhythm of their show was very good. The only thing that did now work for me was the phony accent by Ishah. There was beautiful sick warped material throughout this show. This was there last show of the festival but I do recommend you catch these two performers that partner well. You can follow them on:

Carmen…The Mopera

Written & Performed by Julie Goell
Directed by: Avner Eisenberg
Original Concept and Directions by Mark Ross

About 5 years ago or more I saw the original direction by Mark Ross here in NYC. Which from the program this show looks to be redirected by Avner Eisenberg. One important lesson we can learn from is what happens with long running Broadway and Off Broadway shows. Every 3 to 6 months sometimes a year or more the original director of the show comes back and takes a look at the show and puts back all of the original direction, because actors will make small changes that can evolve into big ones. They rarely bring in a new director unless the old director dies. When you have a show that has been directed and works, go back to your original director to put back all of the wonderful fresh elements that have been lost everyone once in a while. You know what they say about cooking; to many cooks spoil the broth. Having seen the show before – it looks like all life was sucked out of this new direction of the show. Julie is a wonderful musician – we saw none of her musicianship in the show. She plays I believe the base fiddle, which I recall, was in the show, it is not now. Everything was discovered in the old show… not now. I could not follow the show. Maybe if I was an opera fan I could have. Oh a note for everyone. Please do not do phony foreign accents. They rarely work and usually are insulting to the group you are doing the accent of. Julie knows foreign languages; if you know a foreign language and you need to use it use, do it if it works.

This new direction of the show starts with a toilet flushing sound effect, not once but three times. It was not funny any of these times. Scatology is great but it can burn you. Another thing is you have a toilet in the theater that when it flushes people in the house can hear it. There is a sign on the door – do not flush during the show or something like that – the theater toilet may have made this bit work.

The direction by Mark Ross – everything was discovered by Julie and you could easily follow the story. The Avner Eisenberg direction I could not follow the story and bits that did not work where stuck in littered through out the show that seemed to have nothing to do with the show. In the clown world almost any material can work – but one’s clown must be there totally. I have seen Julie teach wonderful prop manipulation classes – bringing props alive. In the Mark Ross verison all the prop where alive. Here all the props seemed to be just props. Solo shows are tough, really tough. You can have an off night and no one is there to help rescues you but you. Maybe Julie just had an off night. I know I have had a few. If one does not warm-up it can kill you. No matter what the setup one finds a place and time to warm-up. Shows can get tired, one can get tired of their own show. I have seen this with a few great performering friends. What you need to do to keep your show fresh and alive every show. You must do whatever that is, because people are honoring us with their time and money to see us entertain them. If you have a great director and the show is working. Keep your great director and go back to him or her every so often to help keep your show fresh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Last Show You’ll Ever See

The Nomadic Theatre Co’s
A Woman. A Trombone. Apocalypse.

Petroleum Jane played by: Sarah Liane Foster
Lights by: Cynthia Jankowski
Created by: Sharah Liane Foster
Coaching by: Giovanni Fusetti
Directed by: Elizabeth Baron

I see Sarah Liane Foster as a wonderfully talented woman. She is doing many thing right as her concept for the show is great, she uses her props well, her vast knowledge of facts, philosophy which she shows off is a pleasure and her very tiny spot of improvisation during her show was a breath of fresh air. Seeing Sarah in a short 10 minutes in the Clown Cabaret I was excited to see her full show, which is something like a hour and 15 minutes. “The Last Show You’ll Ever See” has a lack of a theatrical arch. Nothing in the show hanging us the audience, at the edge of our seats. There is a lack of drama. This problem I lay at the foot of the director Elizabeth Baron and coach Giovanni Fusetti. Sarah Liane Foster seems to play at being a clown, putting on a set frozen expressions, which she repeated throughout the show, rather the being the clown with real moments throughout. It almost felt like she was a cartoon, which is never clown live theatre. Felt very little fresh and at the moment was going on, on stage because of how her clown was playing or not playing. Except the small section where Sarah interacted with the audience, their Sarah excelled and the audience came alive.

There were several things she did right. Playing each part of her trombone piece by piece. No piece escaped her investigation until she put the last piece together. She just screwed the last piece on like she was preparing to go on stage. Rather than her clown discovering the screw and playing with that too. It is a very small moment and may appear to be nit picking but it goes to the state of her clown. She uses mime throughout the show as well, but her mime technique in this show needs a little work.

It was good to hear her credit most of her music as part of the show and it was fun and funny but failed to credit popular music piece, one that I have heard in about 6 different shows in this festival. But wonderful to hear it played live. Her clown name in the program “Petroleum Jane” seemed to have nothing to do with this show and petroleum or that issue. It feels like a very safe show with almost everything set which results in very little risk going on stage. The lighting by Cynthia Jankowski seem complicated for a festival as there were many moments where lighting cues seemed to be catching up to the rest of the show. The use of shadows was very good and people really enjoyed it. One thing I wonder is what would happen if Sarah Liane Foster had one or two other clowns to work with in a different show or this show altered. Most of these faults of this show are the director and the coach; Sarah Liane Foster has no shortage of talent and ideas. Look forward to see what she does in the future.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Conceived by: Summer Shapiro
Created and performed with Peter Musante

Sound Design by: Peter Musante & Jeremy Shapiro
Lighting: Ian W Hill
Sound & Lighting Technician: Zea Barker
Music Contributions by:
Jordan Woods-Robinson – strings
Kalen Allmanginger – Bird’s Eye Theme
Brandi Brandes – original score

“Lazy Lover” by: Brazilian Girls
“Prendi Una Matita” by: Mina
“Sun will Set” by: Zoe Keating

Wonderful piece of physical clown theatre, which really moves it into this new area of “Clown Dance Theatre,” which it seems a few people, are moving towards. Legsandall brings it home really defining and refining this new area very well. Peter Musante sets the mood, creating their strange world and with great simple funny original physical clown theatre bits. When Summer Shapiro appears the relationships and conflicts between these two clowns is set and they take us on an experience of a journey, growing the conflicts and difficulties. Big hand to the sound designer Peter Musante & Jeremy Shapiro, the sound and music was wonderfully built into the piece. It is great that they are using an original score for the piece, the music never taking over the piece but helping it, being part of Legsandall. Lighting by Ian W. Hill was also excellent – simple and very effective allowing the performers to work with the lighting enabling the lighting to be part of the show in ways we usually do not see it used. An important point the lighting was simple enough to do in a festival setting where one has very little rehearsal time to work with lighting.

There were original genius little moments working with the props, which I am not going to mention because I do not want to spoil the surprises. You can tell they spent wonderful fun time working with, discovering and playing with. Nit picking a little there were a few moments in the beginning where Summer I felt was playing at being her clown rather than being her clown. Peter was always totally his clown from the first moment on stage. This is a great show and for those who first saw Summer at the first Brooklyn Clown Theater Festival she has shown wonderful creative growth. Go see Legsandall.
Next shows Saturday September 18th at 10 PM and Friday September 24th at 11 PM.

Cabaret of September 16th

Hosted by: The Leroy Sister

“The Leroy Sister” Amy German and Jenny Sargent any time you get a chance to see these to gymnastic clowns, do. They did an excellent job hosting moving things along very well. Giving us all a taste of them complete with many costume changes. They moved the show along fast with great timing; short of coming out with a hook for one performer that it looked like she was told to she was suppose to do her whole sole show rather than 5 or 10 minutes. During this long piece I counted at least three people sleeping and one looked like he was praying for her to leave the stage soon.

Now to what was great other than “The Leroy Sisters” and not to miss, as this is a teaser for show.
“The Last Show You’ll Ever See” Performed by: Sarah Liane Foster, this is funny and she is fun and personable. Sarah is a very lively real clown using witty wisdom and gusty material while having a unique and original bent. Her main prop is her trombone. She is from my hometown Portland, Oregon that is generally a great place to develop and create.
Her shows are September 17th @ 7 PM, Saturday 18th at 6 PM, Tuesday 21st @ 7 PM, Friday 24th @ 7 PM and Saturday 25th @ 10 PM.

“Harlan the Magnificent”
Performed by Quince Marcum, Tanya Solomon and Deborah Kaufman
Quince makes a great setup for Tanya and she plays the innocent very well. It will be good to see what these two do next. Tanya’s techniques worked very well using and abusing magic props.

“How to give up without really trying”
Performed by Zea Barker
Zea’s sample was great. Saw very much of a clown philosopher and what she did was effective.

“Misery in B Flat”
Created and Performed by Dreagn Foltz and Carol Lee Serugo
Directed by Peter Daniel Straus
This was a good sample and taste of these two performers well directed by Peter. Dreagna and Carol are great physical clown characters playing with the theme of love and very physical. Having seen Carol in many things over the last few years, she is a unique talent and seems to keep on growing and looking forwards to whatever she does next. Dreagn is also very good, both juggling emotions well.

Send in the Angels
Performed by Denni Dennis and Clare Parry-Jones.
What can I say, they are fun to watch and the audience is always alive when they are on stage. They have one of the more creative uses and play with audience participation getting the audience more involve on a deeper level than most performers.

Hula Hell is Miss Saturn

It is always great seeing Miss Saturn perform. Here she is developing “Hula Hell is Miss Saturn” and it is new show. Seeing her work her hoops is always like watching magic happening before your eyes. Miss Saturn seems to be always pushing her envelope and trying new things. The audience participation is fun in how she works with the audience. Of course it would be nice to see her give credit to music she uses and a few piece I have now heard four times in this festival.

If you like seeing excellent prop manipulation of the hula-hoop taken further than most people take it, do not miss “Hula Hell is Miss Saturn.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Neon Lights

Performed by: Jeff Seal & Chris Manley
Directed by: Danny Manley

This show is so stupid it is good. You do get a feeling they spent way to much time looking on the Internet for jokes and they could do more or play with there musical interments better, not that anyone actually expects they can really play them. There mime technique is very poor which could be part of the show. Their gymnastic technique is excellent. The over all rhythm of the total show needs work, but it is a new show. At moments it gets to be all the same joke. They do put in surprises now and them. The film or slide moments in the show worked to a point. The bottom line… we where laughing and had a good time.

Send In the Angles

Created and Performed by: Denni Dennis & Clare Perry-Jones

One thing about Denni that people have learned from past festivals, he is always doing something different and interesting. It is a joy to see Denni and Clare working together. Lecoq said, “A sole clown is always looking for his partner which is why so many go into the audience. They are looking in the audience for their partner.” Here Denni and Clare have found their partner and they work well together, the result something different, wonderful and interesting.

Their flying scene starts out with wonderful music. Not sure if they orchestrated the music themselves or if some orchestra played it and they just used it as there was no credit for any of the music and no program insert. One of the first jobs of clown theatre is for the clowns to create and take their audience into their magical world, which these two clown did very successfully. There opening was wonderful, but I would have like to see a little more going on while they were flying to the music or fly without music so more can happen. This is one problem with music – performers often let the music do things for them so they do not have to. Denni and Clare also used music well at times in their show. But the world they created was wonderful.

They also play with the audience in a very none abusive way. Yes, you can hit the audience with pillows and not be abusive. The show did have an arch and build. The pillow fight was wonderful. I did see the Denni open the one pillow just before everything started flying. It looked like a small technical glitch.

It looks like they have only one more show Wed September 15, 2010 – but have noticed they tend to pop up in surprise places here and there. Do try to see these wonderful unique clowns. All the audience was laughing and smiling.

Ferdinand The Magnificent!

Ferdinand The Magnificent!
Created and performed by: Nick Trotter

This seems like a wonderful character in search of a show. Not sure if Ferdinand really cares that much about that point. He does play well with himself. There were several good moments. The best when he discovered the previous show Denni Dennis & Clare Perry-Jones from “Send In the Angles” sleeping behind the black drop backstage waiting for him to finish as there was no exit back stage. Ferdinand exposed them sleeping which caused them to wake up and there was this wonderful chase scene with the three of them. This was the best moment of the show when everyone in the audience was laughing and smiling.

The only music Ferdinand used is music he created himself and he does put everything on himself for what happens on stage, which is great. Playing the hose was very good and he is exploring his props well. The audience seemed to have more of a worried look on their faces with moments of laughter. There was a bit of abusing the audience going back to the same young woman in the front whom Ferdinand was attracted to. Who he ended up exiting with and this does prove Jacque Lecoq’s point. “A sole clown is always looking for his partner which is why so many go into the audience. They are looking in the audience for their partner.” This is one show where it was a nice exploration. It is up to Ferdinand The Magnificent which road into the future he chooses to take with his character.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Performed and Written by: Vincenzo Tortorici

This is a young children’s show that uses many standard prop manipulation elements. Children did laugh. Start with the opening wow. Wow is one of my favorite words because it can describe so many wonderful things and emotions. Vincenzo’s first wow off stage seemed forced. This may seem picky but the opening moment is important in any show. About 5 minutes into the show his clown seemed warmed up and the wow’s where genuine.

Most of this wow clowns technique with props was very good and seemed to get better the more he performed. His first hat trick of putting the hat on his head and the hat popping off needs some more practice. By the third of fourth time he got it working. This hat trick needs to look magical. The final time he did it. But because of the botched attempts before hand no one laughed. Need to get that first trick right on. Then it is funny. These small problems are usually caused by three different things, lack of a good warm-up before your show, lack of practice or lack of good strong rehearsals the days before your show. This show has many good elements and can pass as a good show. There are things I believe need work. There is not much of an arch in the show. It goes from one trick to the next trick. Would like to see more of a build somehow. The cleaning up premise is fine and it looks like there is more to explore their as a performer. After the show I noticed one of his main props was borrowed from the theatre. This special but common prop should be a prop you know and work with.

There were really two show in this show. The prop show and the story telling show, which relied on a little too much audience participation for my taste. Somehow it would be great to combine these two shows into one.

One great thing about his show, no pre recorded popular music. This allowed the wow clown to really explore all the emotions going on at the time and free him to improvise with the audience taking advantage of opportunities that came up. Which he did well. After the show Vincenzo comes out and gives a short lecture about “Do Not Open” and following all warning signs. This relates to his trunk, which says “Do Not Open” which he opens. Of course this was no surprise to anyone. If you must give a lecture after your show about something in your show, “Change the Sign” to words that do not concern you or give the warning in your show as part of the show.

In general looking forwards to seeing The Wow Show and Vincenzo grow, he is doing many things right.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Diz and Izzy Aster Vaudeville’s Late Bloomers

Diz and Izzy Aster
Vaudeville’s Late Bloomers
Happenstance Theater in Rockville, MD

Wow – what a pleasure to see these two perform. They have one more show Thursday September 9th at 7 PM. Do not miss these two pro performers. Every moment on stage is filled. Play their own music – all popular music from Vaudeville era. My father played Jazz Piano and recall him playing all these tune when I was a little tiny kid. Diz and Izzy work well together, going through different emotions and physical feats. We have excellent acrobatics that one does not notice. Meaning the situation begs that Izzy uses his skill without looking like ‘OK I am doing an acrobatic trick”. There was none of that. All the tricks used need skill, talent to be performed well and Izzy did. Diz character play very well and the audience was laughing with these two almost through the whole show. One thing would love to see them add if they could work it in is credit to some of these old passed composers of this wonderful music. Talk about prop manipulation – it is masterful prop manipulation that they do. You can tell they have taken the time to explore and play these moments to look fresh and new when ever they perform. Every moment they are totally involved with every detail and played the whole time.

One more show Thursday September 9th at 7 PM

Clowns With Gowns

Clowns With Gowns
Performed by:
Adiana Chavez as Carmen Francesca Maria Frida Ophelia De La Rosas
Heidi Rider as Gertrude

Written & Directed by: Adiana Chavez & Heidi Rider
Ernestine and Lighting Design, Tech: Cynthia Jankowski
Music by: Andrew Bird, Connie Francis, Lady Gaga, Henry Mancini, Carl Orff, Gran Banda Taurina, Woody Herman and Evan Lurie

Opening music was really wonderful and I enjoyed it, but not much happened on stage. The Clowns first moment was disappointing. What did happen was not moving or dramatic, it was simple but simple must be played well. The costumes and props were wonderful and it was a nice visual, all except for the white sheet backdrop. Really enjoyed the next piece of music. We did not experience the wonderful clown - I believe Adriana the clown with the big hair and lots of flower in it. It felt like she was going through the show technically. Third piece of music was also excellent. But the clown I believe Carmen played by Adriana all of her moves where predictable and felt like she was posing. Of course there are times when we have a bad night and this could be the case.

The next moment with I believe Clown Gertrude, Heidie was a breath of fresh air and a surprise. But the moment between the two clowns was not built on and it was like, ok we did that trick now on to the next trick or movement. Clown Gertrude is a joy to watch. Her movements are clean and crisp. She is totally involved with every moment full of intent and passion whenever she is on stage. Carmen was playing only one note, which can be justified and very funny in some cases but there were missed moments through out the whole show when they were working together. Missed by both of them.

Effort in everything one does on stage matters. It is the little things that count. Especially off stage noise, it must be exactly what you need to assist your actions. In this case the back stage noise was poorly executed and felt like it needed more attention, investigation and play. That effort in detail is vital, especially with clown theatre. It needs to be investigated, planned and played. Through out their piece there was just a lot of posing and posturing with not much play. But I did enjoy listening to all of their recorded music.

Some of their prop/costume piece where brilliant but we really wanted to see some investigation and development. So much more can be done with just a little more play. It is almost like they were afraid to risk. The whole piece is very safe. When on stage there is no need to rush. All of the music in there show I enjoyed listening to. The music is through out their show. It is possible the recorded music is locking them in so they cannot play. So far the only performer I have seen use recorded music well in the festival is Coney Island Chris who only uses about three bars of any recorded music.

It also seemed they did not know if they wanted to do a dance piece or a clown piece. In the festival two years ago there was a woman who did a very successful “Clown Dance Theatre” piece and Jenny Sargent and Aimee German use clown music and dance very well and is a total joy to watch. If they want to do Clown Dance Theatre they should go all the way with it. I do not believe the term Clown Dance Theatre was used before the clown festival two years ago. It is one form, which many of these new young female clowns seem to be developing. Congratulations to these two women for giving their musicians credit. Who made their costumes? If they did they did an excellent job. It is visually wonderful piece, but more needs to happen on stage. Look forward to seeing where these two young women go especially Gertrude the one with the thin piece of hair going up on top of her head.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Puberty or Menstruation a Bloody Funny Female Clown Event

Created and Performed by: Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee
Directed & dramaturged by Byron Laviolette
Associate Producer: Avery Pearson
Lighting Design: Robin A Paterson
Costume & Props: Heather Marie Annis
Sound Editing: Amy Lee
Stage Manager: Byron Laviolette

The opening is wonderful, going into the theatre and it sets a good mood for the show. Puberty for women looks to be a very different experience for women than men. With the main theme Menstruation I definitely missed a lot of the Menstruation jokes, but it was fun to look around the audience at all the women laughing and the men having puzzled looks and like they wanted to flee the theatre of this bloody funny female clown event. They seem to hit many important points about Menstruation for young women that many women in the house seemed to relate to. The men well…we enjoyed the clowning. This is the performers and directors choice but I would have like to see more of a varied tempo from Clown Morro, after a while it was the same bit and reaction over and over again. Towards the end of the show Clown Morro showed more depth moving in different directions. Clown Jasp showed an excellent depth going through all kinds of problems using different levels of emotions and change. In clown theatre it is always wonderful to see the clowns grow and change which both of these clowns do. The prop manipulation in the show is good. Mainly different types of equipment used by women during Menstruation, but would love to see more investigation in playing with all of these different props.

Music I found did more to limit the performers than enhance the piece and experience. It stopped us from being involved in the piece and we were involved in these pieces of music taking us out of their Puberty Clown World into the world of these pieces of music and films they were from. Without most of the music the performers would have had a chance to play the emotions that the music was filling in. We the audience can do that and would love to see the performers take us there. Of course no musician, orchestra received any credit, which is a major problem for all of the shows using music. Especially if they want to move onto the next professional level and they find they cannot get permission to use any of the music. A few selections of music I had heard in two or three other shows in the last 24 hours. One piece of music is used so often in so many bad show over the years, it is just sad and shows weakness to use it. Performers trust yourselves and risk, you are good enough to carry your shows with canned popular music.

It is good to see these clowns tackle an issue they can really be involved with and care about, which makes for a good show. Bottom line Puberty is a show to see – I do have some problem with over all tempo of the show, which can be a little better. But it is one clown show not be missed especially women wanting women issue clowning and men liking to watch women laugh at their issues.

Next shows
Thursday, September 9th @ 8:30pm
Friday, September 10th @ 9pm
Sunday, September 12th @ 9pm
Their website:


Clown Me In
Mexico City, Mexico
By: Gabriela Muñoz

This is one of those odd uncomfortable funny shows. It opens with the use of a plate lent to Grabriela by the man who is very responsible for the first and second NY Clown Theatre Festival John Towsen. Her character with its own odd charm is eating food off of John’s plate. There is nothing special about the plate, it just happens to be owned by John Towsen. This food opening moment is good and would love to see Gabriela enjoy her food taking even more time with it. At points she seemed rushed. This looks to be a good beginning to a more complete show and looking forward to seeing Quizas and Gabriela Munoz develop.


Created and Performed by: Olivia Lehrman

MS. PRETTY SMART, SECRET AGENT is a very young show by a very talented woman. Really like how she uses music in the show because it is all her own. Which is a breath of fresh air after only two days of the festival hearing one famous musicians work in three different shows? Where is this coming from? It would be great to see Olivia come up with her own music for secret agent rather than 007’s theme music. It seems like Olivia has all the skill tools to do that. Olivia knows how to move, play music and use her other skills. Her handstand and picking up the box was very good. There are many parts I cannot comment on because I was chosen as the audience participant. The concept for the show is fine and seems like her show is just beginning to grow, now would love to see her forget everything she has learned, told to do and enjoy her show, have fun. Olivia will be one performer to watching grow as an entertainer. Olivia credits a whole list of people helping her put this show together. It seems like Brain Foley and Peter Musante had a lot to do with it as a director or directors, with Artwork by Mike Mena.
Next shows:
Monday, September 6th @ 8pm
Tuesday, September 7th @ 9pm
Saturday, September 11th @ 8pm
Sunday, September 12th @ 7pm

Coney Island Chris

One cannot say enough good things about this show. Chris is a pro entertainer loving the geek sideshow world and making it totally come alive from the moment you step into the theatre. His set is simple but bold and elaborate and all the technical elements are in his hands. He will make the most out of the simplest moment with any blue comedy well hidden within the shows general theme. At least until one point which kind of becomes somewhat adult but yes kids will love it. His warning about not doing this at home plays comedy and is a real warning. How he looses weight is funny on multiple levels as well as in many other moments in his show. Something went wrong in the show and he uses it for humor. I am not giving details so not to give away jokes for those going to see Coney Island Chris.

In most cases I really hate pre recorded popular music in shows for many reason. But also no musician ever seems gets credit for their music. One does not know the title or singer. Chris uses a lot of music – but only two to three bars. Which is perfect. Sometime he does use a little too much and to often for my taste. I would like to see him add credits to the music if he can work it in. Now to be a little picky, at the beginning of the show Coney Island Chris listed several things, all-relating to the sideshow world. Would have like to see him be a little more involved with this list at every moment, imaging each one and play with his timing just a little. He can also play just a little with the over all arches timing of the whole shows tempo.

Coney Island Chris has two more shows in the festival, do not miss this show it is too much fun and one of the best and most polished shows in the festival from what I have seen up to this point.
Next shows
Friday, September 17th @ 10:30pm
Saturday, September 25th @ 3pm
Coney Island Chris website is and love the pr touch of leaving small boxes of pretzel sticks.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Manchego: The Birth of Cheese, by Ambrose Martos

Manchego: The Birth of Cheese
Written and performed by Ambrose Martos
Lighting Designer Berit Johnson

Manchego is definitely a great children’s show! Actually no – it is slated more towards adults. But kids would most likely love Ambrose’s humor and he does bring out the adult kid with his audience. Ambrose is an excellent entertainer and can most likely make almost any material funny. Ambrose’s usual self-indulgent character takes the audience on a fun ride of his life full of Ambrose sexuality and he even changes and grows a little bit. His audience interaction is playful – with lots of somewhat edgy material. One piece of advice and this is from personal experience; there was a pregnant lady in the audience, which he mentioned and had a nice moment with. Never, no matter how pregnant the woman is, how sure you are that the woman is pregnant, talk about her being pregnant. Why? Because there will come a time when you will be so sure and you will be wrong about her being pregnant. Yes, it should only take one instance for a performer to learn this lesson – sometimes it takes twice.

Ambrose’s use of lighting, sound and film was great. Berit Johnson lighting designer deserves big hand for simple and effective light in a festival show, which is not easy. A film credit would have been good to see in his program along with the dancers in his film. Ambrose makes use of a lot of music, but gives no credit to the musicians who recorded the music. Using pre recorded music, which many people do can be a major problem, if you want to move your show to that next professional level and suddenly need to get permission to use all the music. Personally I do not believe it is a good thing to depend on popular recorded music to support a show. If you are going to use music, work with musicians to come up with your own music or do the music yourself. It is so often just a crutch limiting your growth and creativity. Someone told me after the show, in festivals in Europe they make you list all your music and show you have permission to use it.

Outrageousness is throughout the show combined with some good technique. The puppet work is fun and effective as well as this hula-hoops work. The roller-skating one is never really sure if he can skate. At some point it could be nice to see a flash of some great skating. Nit picking, his grandma could be filled with more age from the beginning and playing with the level and timing of some of his entrances and exits could help it become an even more effective show. Manchego will not be everyone’s cup of tea but this audience had a great time and so did I. Of course there is Ambrose’s trademark and people that know him as a performer know what that is. From the last solo show Ambrose did a few years ago – Manchego: The Birth of Cheese, shows real growth as a creator. Keep on going and pushing the limits.

Friday, September 3, 2010

One Red Sponge Ball

The big parade at Union Square, I missed. In 2008 I recalled the clowns being there for over an hour. This year getting to Union Square at 5:40 PM the only sign of a clown was one red sponge ball on a guys ears. After walking around the park a few times I also noticed one crumpled up clown flyer in a guys hand.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This year getting ready for the clown festival, reviewing applications, seeing shows. Fellas --assume nothing-the ladies are seriously rockin' it!

"This year getting ready for the clown festival, reviewing applications, seeing shows. Fellas --assume nothing-the ladies are seriously rockin' it! As writers, directors and performers!!" Audrey Cabtree Director of the festival on facebook August 10, 2010.

Looking at the breakdown of shows in this years festival - here is the breakdown from what I can tell from the descriptions of male or all male companies, women solo and duo and men and women working together.
All Male Shows 4
All Female Shows 9 (just been informed they found some more males working with a female so change the number to 8)
All Mixed Shows 3; (this changes to)
Not sure if it is a male or female 1

Off Site Shows, Brick shows and other events
All male 7
All female 12(this changes to 11)
Mixed 4 (this changes to 5)

What does all this mean - nothing as long as we are laughing. But it does show a very real change in what women are doing in the entertainment world in North America. In the mid 80's I came very close to producing an off Bwy vaudeville show in a 299 seat theatre. One problem we had a was finding excellent female performers with great original material. There were some which where amazing and they were slated to be in the show. Since the 1980's this does show real change in what women are choosing to do in our entertaiment world. As another example I was just in San Francisco visiting Judy Finelli and met one of her assistants Milissa Arleth who besides having all of the normal skills in our clown world she has developed a very unique act called "Cirque du Sewer" working with "Rats" that she trained. It takes about a year plus to train a rat and she seems to be performing a good part of the year. Her web site is

Just as a note:
John Towsen is very much responsible for bring the first and second clown theatre festival to light. He is doing a workshop at the festival - if you are planning to take a workshop John workshop is one not to miss.