NY Clown Theatre Festival: Ferdinand the Magnificent

ADAM’S TAKE:
This is a bouffon show (if you are not sure what bouffon is, take a look here) with an oversized character Ferdinand, wearing a Hitler hairdo, a gigantic diaper, a too-revealing pink body suit, and a nose that makes Jimmy Durante’s shnozz seem delicate and quaint. The show starts off in a typical bouffon fashion- the character enters, literally smells nearly everybody in the audience from head to toe (although I got just a handshake, and considering my track record of getting on stage, I can’t really complain) and then the show begins.
It starts to deviate from a typical bouffon show and get kind of interesting when Ferdinand starts to sing foreign a cappella songs in their original language (I recognized The Girl From Ipanema (as it had been used in the previous show) and La Vie En Rose and pull bizarre musical instruments directly from the back of his diaper, including an impossibly long garden hose with a trombone mouthpiece attached that he could play pretty well.  This oversized bouffon becomes a rather sensitive singer, which made for an interesting combination.
He’s looking for love, and he seems to find it in the persona of an audience member (thankfully not me– Amy Harlib, a local contortionist clown who’s in her 50’s and very flexible)
He spends a good portion of the night wooing her, and at the end goes off stage with her. (There’s a very funny cameo by the previous show Clowns With Gowns)
I liked this show, but I felt that similar to its double bill partner, it didn’t have a clear dangling carrot, nor a clear set of objectives.  It wasn’t clear that Ferdinand was looking for love, nor that he would know what to do once he found it– and I felt like he dilly dallied at a number of other things instead of getting towards his motivating force- looking for love.  He needs to raise the stakes for the character, instead of wanting to woo, he has to be DYING to woo–I think that this imperative will take the same storyline a lot further a lot faster.
Overall, this was definitely an interesting show to watch, and although  there weren’t tons of laugh lines in the show, I think that Ferdinand will find them as he grows the show, even if he as to pull them out of his butt.
OFFICIAL INFORMATION

 

FERDINAND THE MAGNIFICENT! 
Third Base!
Blue Lake, CA
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ferdinand-the-Magnificent/125733804139977
[Double-bill with Diz and Izzy Aster, Clowns With Gowns or Send in the Angels]
Join this very strange character on a journey through song and the embarrassments of love.  Ferdinand, wearing a diaper and a shocking pink bodysuit, has the habit of discovering musical instruments in places they have no right to be, leading the audience through a hilarious, surreal world.  Created by Nick Trotter at Dell’Arte International, Ferdinand has appeared in Third Base!’s Myths of the Plastic Age and toured Chiapas, Mexico with Clowns Without Borders.  30 min.
DOUBLE BILL WITH CLOWNS WITH GOWNS
Saturday, September 4th @ 5pm
Saturday, September 11th @ 10pm
Sunday, September 12th @ 5pm

DOUBLE BILL WITH DIZ AND IZZY ASTER
Thursday, September 9th @ 7pm

DOUBLE BILL WITH SEND IN THE ANGELS
Monday, September 13th @ 7pm

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