What is Clown Theater?

By: Stanley Allan Sherman

It’s not called the NY Clown Festival, and not the NY Theater Festival, but the NY Clown Theater Festival. Artists in the world of clown, doing something very difficult, are turning clowning into hopefully great theater. This combination tries, and sometimes succeeds, in reaching the very high bar of great clown work plus great theater = clown theater. Various clowns and theater people see this combination of clown and theater differently, with all kinds of interpretations.

What does the combination of Clown Theater mean to you? Is it just doing your circus, party, walk around gigs, variety show, etc in a theater? Or is it specially made clowning for the theater? Is this new ground-breaking theater? Or are we returning to something old? Going back to the early 1800’s we find Joseph Grimaldi. His greatest success was a show called“Harlequin and Mother Goose; or the Golden Egg” which was performed at the Theater Royal, Covent Garden in 1806 running 92 nights on a stage with very little scenery on it.

In 2011, what is Clown Theater? Would love to hear your comments.

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