Festival of Fools Barcelona October 28-November 6

THE FESTIVAL OF FOOLS

I attended the opening night of the Festival of Fools gala put on by Jango Edwards and the Nouveau Clown Institute in Barcelona.

I’ve featured Jango on these pages before- he’s kind of a legendary madman/bad boy of the clown world- moved to Spain in the 70’s and lived there for 40 years without papers before he was deported back to his native Detroit.  He’s back in Barcelona now, continuing to teach and give back with the Nouveau Clown Institute.   They are just completing a month of workshops and master classes.

The opening night was a performance of some of the teachers and students of the latest NCI class.  Special performances by Johnny Melville, the Fools Brothers, and Jango himself.  The performances were a little uneven, there were some really funny bits and some bits that didn’t quite land,  but the point of Jango’s work in a way is not the virtuosity of the performances.

Jango Edwards Hippy Character Jango Edwards performing as a stoned hippie. (how much is a performance and how much is theatre verite?  You will have to decide for yourself!)

COMMUNITY NOT VIRTUOSITY

Jango and I meeting for the first time in person in 2019

To me, Jango’s work seems to be all about being in the moment, being your authentic self, and creating humanity, community, and brotherhood together.  There was some great virtuosity in there (Jango is an amazing lip syncher, and Johnny Melville did one of the funniest bits in the show, as a mime who couldn’t get through the obligatory mime wall, so ends up cutting through it with a blowtorch/sparkler.). But the point is not polish, but authenticity, and that’s where Jango shines.

At the end of the show, Jango talked with palpable and heartfelt emotion about the power of the smile (which is right under your nose). He also noted that we can all choose to smile, and spoke about  the power of community and family.

 

This lead up to a wonderful sublime 10 minutes of the entire theatre singing the Beatles All You Need is Love with everyone in the audience standing on the stage, the lights up, everyone together. That’s the kind of feeling that no film will ever bring, and without which, even the most expertly performed clown piece falls flat.

 

SEE SOME SHOWS

Over the next 10 days there will be over 40 performances in and around Barcelona, including a lot of shows in an outdoor area in Sarria.   Halloween night will feature The Night of 1000 dead clowns which looks like it will be a lot of fun.

Tickets are inexpensive for most of the shows, and shows in Sarria are by donation.  To find out more you can visit the nouveau clown institute on facebook (that seems to be the most reliable place to get up to the date info)

 

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