Oliv A Drift: by Cristi Garbo and Jango Edwards REVIEW

Oliv A Drift- a clown show by Cristi Garbo and Jango EdwardsAfter seeing the circus a couple of weeks ago, I’m seeing another live show this weekend. Oliv A Drift, a one woman clown show written and performed by Cristi Garbo and directed by Jango Edwards.  (Two shows in a month’s time! It almost seems normal!)

I’ve featured Jango on the blog before (although looking back, not in some time.)

He’s an American clown who came to Europe in the late 70’s/80’s, made a big name for himself on the European circus and variete scene, and never really left.  He’s been behind a lot of pretty impressive and hilarious adventures, including the Nouveau Clown Institute

I met up with him a couple of years ago on a visit to Barcelona and had a great far-reaching lunch/conversation with him, all about clown and philosophy and how he got to where he is now, but somehow that didn’t make it into the blog apparently.  I’ll have to see if I have notes somewhere, or make some more notes on my next conversation with him (hopefully soon!)

Oliv a Drift

Oliv A Drift, written and performed by Cristi Garbo (right) and directed by Jango Edwards (left) is at La Gleva Theatre through March 14.

Cristi Garbo is a well-known Catalan actress and clown that has been working with Jango since 1997.  She has won several awards for best female clown performer in festivals, and has also worked on Shakespeare, in films, and on television.  Her one woman show Blue (and a duo show with another Barcelonian clown Ricardo Cornelius Jr. called Black and Blue) have been festival favorites on the European scene for some time.

Oliv A Drift is about a clown who is lost and disoriented in a world filled with contested truths, technology, rules, regulations and opinions.

Here’s a little from the Catalan press release:  (Blame all faulty translations on technology:  Google Translate!)

But don’t think that all who wander are lost. The truth is that getting lost is a legitimate part of the process of finding yourself. Everyone who has found the way had to get lost first. Bewildered by the universe and too small to caress it. Our Olive doesn’t know if it’s up or down, inside or outside, where it came from or where it’s going, but … does it matter?
She thinks she can’t do anything to change things and knows that what has to happen will happen, or not.

Does that make sense? Who knows. Without protection from the incomprehensible, Oliva accepts things as they come and, now and here, finds the answers in the simple pleasure of surprise. Sometimes, it’s when you lose the path that you find yourself in, or paraphrasing Foix, it’s when you sleep that you see it clearly.

The show is at La Gleva Theatre — and like a lot of European clown shows, I expect there will be a fair amount of talking.  (One of the Newspaper interviews says that it is in the mode of monologue) But knowing Jango’s work as I do, I expect there will also be a lot of surprise, comedy, and genius daring physical moments too, so even if I don’t understand the depths of the show, I will get the gist of it.  In fact, based on the subject matter, I might be the Perfect audience member, as I will have to figure out what’s going on without the benefits of language to cue me in.

Here’s a video by Jango to promote the show:

We’ll see if it makes me bleed for my eyes and want to stick my fingers in a fan!

I’ll post a follow up review here (or perhaps in another blog post)


Oliv A Drift- a clown show by Cristi Garbo and Jango EdwardsThe show had a grand total of 15 seats available, of which 14 were sold.  As advertised, the show was about a clown who didn’t quite know how to navigate the world around herself.  She spends a good deal of time trying to figure it out.  She receives mysterious packages in the mail, she tries to keep the audience from waking up her pet (doll) turtle  (I was guilty of being too loud, I am afraid)  and she even sings a few songs.   The actress has a beautiful voice, and clearly an engaging presence/charisma.

For me, the most moving parts were at the end- one of the packages that she receives via the mail turns out to be a round screen, and photos/videos of her life as a young girl/clown are projected on to it.  She manages to remember her name, and then introduces herself to each member of the audience (who introduce themselves back to her)  I loved this simple moment of interaction, and combined with the videos, it really asked a question- who are you?  And what does it mean to name yourself? ) I kind of wish the show had STARTED with this provocation, and built up to a different ending as she discovers who she is– and who she really is.)

There was  a great bit where she sends away for the package that ultimately becomes the screen, and it’s a large box that contains a giant picture of a hex tool (a la IKEA), and then the little tiny hextool.  She looks in the box again, and the materials for the screen are also there.  She then goes backstage to create the screen.

This was a funny bit, but I wish that there had been two packages, a big one and a little one, and the little one contained the giant screen ready to come out of it.  That would have (for me) made the gag complete!

Anyway, I was glad I saw the show!

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