23 July 2011

War of the Clowns

I've got a couple of projects coming up in the next few years, but one of the ones that I've been really looking forward to is tentatively called The War of The Clowns. Eli Simon is directing, and it's a piece that we're building for the National Theatre of Romania. They'll keep it in their repertoire to pull out whenever they want it.

Eli teaches clowning at UC-Irvine, and many of his clowning students end up in a troupe that he calls Clownzilla. Clownzilla has four or five shows in their repertoire, most of which I've designed. Some, I've written music for. Some, I've toured to foreign countries to put up. One, Clown MacBeth, is only a Clownzilla show in as much as Eli and I worked on it; the performers were members of a Korean theater troupe. As Eli and I have worked on these shows, we've both learned a lot about this new style of clowning that he teaches and how it can be used to tell story. We're both looking forward to going to Romania next summer to put this piece together.

Recently, we've been doing a lot of research into structure and themes for the show. We've got a rough plot outline of the show, and we're tapping a lot of resources for inspiration. Here are some of the avenues of research that I've been exploring:

* Beach Boys music
* The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss:

* Lord of the Flies
* Hogan's Heroes:

And some other avenues of research that I still need to explore:
* The Green Table
* Johnny Got His Gun
* Catch-22
* Woyzeck
* Rory Stewart - The Prince of the Marshes
* Ken Burns' The War miniseries

We're looking specifically for macabre humor to help keep the clowns dark and funny while exploring the themes of war, so as I sift through the research, I'm looking for examples of humor or dark levity or silliness in war. I'm particularly looking forward to re-reading Catch-22 again!

1 comment:

tatgeer said...

Black Adder Season 4 qualifies as silliness in war!