A Play about Clowns

The NY Times had a recent review about a play that features clowns. It’s not a clown show– it’s not a clown show, it’s a play, that is about a clown.

Sounds really interesting.

Wide-Eyed New Arrivals Falling in Love With the City

Published: October 3, 2008

From Clownlink

If you are a true New Yorker (something that can be measured by purity of passion as much as by length of residence), a play that begins with balloon animals talking to each other in squeaky voices may not sound like your style. That just shows how much you (and I) know.

Saviana Stanescu’s “Aliens With Extraordinary Skills” is an enchanting piece of theater, a paean to New York that just happens to include balloon animals. It’s a simple two-boys-meet-two-girls story about a pretty clown from Moldova (between Romania and Ukraine), her wild-and-crazy-guy clowning partner, an aspiring Dominican actress and an all-American musician trying to find himself. As well as two immigration agents who, suspecting a green-card-motivated marriage, ask the bride questions like “What’s his mother’s bra size?”

Natalia Payne is adorable as Nadia the clown. Her supporting cast (Seth Fisher, Jessica Pimentel, Kevin Isola, Shrine Babb and Gian Murray Gianino), directed with great zeal by Tea Alagic, couldn’t be sharper, and Ms. Stanescu’s dialogue is flawlessly observant.

Nadia and Mr. Fisher’s Borat (yes, like the Sacha Baron Cohen character) want to perfect their English. She tries to remember the word for “when you are like really energetic and full of life.” Borat suggests “outrageous.” No, Nadia says, she thinks the word is “outgoing.” Borat says, no, “That’s when you go out a lot.”

“Aliens” shows us the world of Albanian taxi drivers, the Hot Pink Pussycat club and Craigslist. But it’s Nadia’s love affair with New York that fuels the action. She wants to go to the restaurants she saw on “Sex and the City.” She plans new birthday party tricks because “the kids are smart there.”

Borat’s take on New Yorkers is different. “They work like 14, 16 hours a day,” he says. “They are a bit like zombies, you know.” But Nadia is a true believer. She loves the city even when it turns out that sometimes cool guys at parties in SoHo can treat the hired help like prostitutes.

I’ve always believed that the special energy people talk about as New York’s essence comes from all those newcomers’ hopes and dreams in the air. “Aliens” pays tribute to that energy and at the same time radiates tons of its own.

“Aliens With Extraordinary Skills” continues through Oct. 26 at Julia Miles Theater, 424 West 55th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200, womensproject.org.


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