I saw 3/4 of Fools For Love last night (Sunday, September 9, 8:30 pm), and it’s a sweet and funny show.  (I missed the first quarter, because I had done my show just before it, and needed to take care of some stuff.)  When I walked in (trying to sneak in), the clowns both stopped, turned to me, and directed me into the right seat, played with me a little bit, and gave me a recap of the show, and then went on with the performance.

Which is exactly what was right about this show.  The clowns were in the moment, followed their impulses, followed each other, were willing to throw out what they were doing in search of a better moment, and really trusted in the audience. (one of the audience members in the back  got picked out for being “The Dirty Guy” and everytime something slightly perverse might happen, they’d do a callback to the Dirty Guy.)

I especially liked their use of flashlights during a power blackout.  They start off as utilitarian, and they become puppet characters, with a mini interlude of shadow puppetry, and even a little shadow sex.  It’s the kind of inspired use of a prop that I love to see.

Another great moment was at the carnival, they ride the rollercoaster.  With just two chairs and some great choreography, they really were able to convey the rollercoaster.  It was very cleverly done.

I have one quibble,  but it’s not with the show itself, which I thought was well-done, well acted, and well worth seeing (they have one more show today at 7 pm, followed by a talkback/lecture at 8:30.)

My quibble is this– why are they clowns?  This show could have been done without noses, and without makeup, and still been a great comedic show about two people falling in love.  These were clowns who  looked through personal ads, lived in NY tiny apartments, rode the subway.  Yes, they liked to play around and had dolls that they confided in, but I just didn’t get from an aesthetic perspective why the were clowns. It’s obviously their training and their interest, but I didn’t see the need for them to be clowns.

I don’t want to take anything away from this great show, because its funny and good and  well worth watching.  It’s more of an aesthetic question than anything.  (In the same way I might ask why  Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark is a musical instead of an adventure thrill show with a couple of songs.)

Anyway, go see this show, and at the lecture afterwards by the director, ask them why they  chose to set this play in the clown world. I really want to know.

Here’s their video trailer:

photo: Marc-Julien Objois and Matt Schuurman

Fools for Love

September 8 – 10, 2012

Creators/writers: Small Matters Productions
Performers: Christine Lesiak (Sheshells) & Adam Keefe (Rocket)
Director: Jan Henderson, assisted by Anna Bado
Sound design: Adam Keefe & the company

Edmonton, Canada

Rocket & Sheshells are neighbors and confidantes as they each search for the perfect romantic partner. But one adrenaline-pumped night, the best friends discover they may have been overlooking what’s right under their noses. With only two chairs and a handful of props, Rocket and Sheshells take you on a hilarious roller-coaster ride of imagination, while they plummet straight into your heart.

A hit of the 2012 Toronto Clown Theatre Festival (“stellar duo…virtuosic”), directed by Canadian clowning legend Jan Henderson.

2012 Best of the Fest Manitoba Fringe Festival

“A treat of hilarity and whimsy. Jan Henderson and company have created a lesson in imagination with the stellar duo of Lesiak and Keefe. This is what good clowning is all about—virtuosic, full of heart, and funny.”—Adam Lazarus, Artistic Director, Toronto Festival of Clowns

Press quotes for Small Matters’ last show, Sofa So Good:
“I wouldn’t want to do without seeing the likes of Edmonton-based Small Matters Productions, and their clowns-in-love Rocket and Sheshells… [They] find endless creative and comedic possibilities… wicked, well-conceived comedy.”—Kenton Smith, Uptown Magazine

“I laughed at the silliness and at the joyous physicality, but mostly I laughed at the truth of it all.”—Clare Lawlor, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

60 minutes

Saturday September 8th @ 7pm
Sunday September 9th @ 8:30pm
Monday September 10th @ 7pm
Lecture Monday September 10th @ 8:30pm

One comment

  • Hi Adam - 
    Thanks for coming to the show and for the kind words! It being our first time in NYC, we had such a lovely experience in your clown community and playing the Brick. Many thanks to all involved.

    You ask an interesting question when you ask  “why in clown?”. It’s true that we could do the show out of nose, and in fact it would likely make it easier to market to a broader audience. But we choose to use the nose because we feel the mask creates a  different show. 

    We believe:
    1. The clown plays from a place of innocence and optimism. Without the nose we would bring more pessimism to the characters’ interactions.
    2. The clown plays from a place of belief. We are able to use mime to create whole worlds out of nothing, and transform objects.
    3. The clown plays completely in the moment – no past or future. The audience can believe us when one minute we are agonizing over being unloved, but then seconds later a distraction has us fully engaged in something ridiculously fun. 
    4. We break the forth wall all the time and respond to the audience as much as possible. Classic clown.

    Our company philosophy is to reflect everyday life in a fun-house mirror. Our goal is to take universal stories of love and loss and let the audience see themselves through this crazy clown lens. In laughing at us, they are laughing at their own hurts, and it helps people move through their own pain.

    I hope this helps explain our choice!
    Thanks again,

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