This was a world premiere production of an original play by Stetson
alumnus Mark Kenneally. Its theme was a kind of 'CSI: Circus', which
puts a uniquely funny spin on the formulaic TV cop investigation dramas
in the vein of 'CSI', 'Law and Order' and 'NCIS'.
Gladly presents two hard-boiled homicide detectives with an
unique challenge. While investigating the murder of a circus clown, the
principal suspects – also clowns – are only able to communicate in
character. Dahlia can only speak by honking a horn, Pozo rhymes her
responses to police questions, and Backwards Bobo speaks in reverse.
Add three more clowns, a police psychiatrist, and a surprise ending,
and well, madcap adventures ensue.
Most of the play takes place inside a drab interrogation room, with
color provided by the clowns and their costumes. However, during the
"re-enactment scene" typical of the TV crime investigation genre the
stage is transformed into a Big Top, where various whodunit theories
are applied as performers ride unicycles, walk on stilts, and throw pies into each others' faces.
The surprise ending began as an improvisation by
Devin O'Neill, playing one of the investigators, and was incorparated
into the final version of the script. A number of rewrites were
proposed and accepted by the playwright, as this script was "in
development" for the rehearsal period.
We were very fortunate to enage the participation
of veteran Ringling clown Alan Ware, reknown for his "Grandpa"
character during his ten years with the circus. He assisted not only in
the development of costumes, props, and prosthetics (lending us many
specialty items along the way), but he also coached the actors in
techniques of pantomime and clowning, which created a visual pantheon
of characters gave the production a feel of authenticity.
curtain call with guest artist Alan Ware