Machinations – NY Clown Theater Festival

By Stanley Allan Sherman
© copyright September 9, 2012

Machinations by Cirque This
Created and performed by: Lauri Berritta, Andy Dickerson, Perry Gravin, Ethan Leinwand and Jason Leinwand

Directed by: Andy Dickerson
Original Music and Animation by: Ethan Leinwand
Arts/Props Direction: Jason Leinwand
Lighting Design: Andy Dickerson
Lighting Board/Projection Operator: Natasha Ross

It is always great to have original music, especially live original music and sound effects, which were provided by the talented Ethan Leinwand.  He went from just being the musician to my favorite character in the show.  He played with the moments  musically, interacting with the individuals and stage action.  What I loved about Ethan is he was always real, honest in the music and his character.  The use of his music in the show was very elementary for the most part.  There is much more there to play with on different levels.

A lot of work went into this show and you can tell.  It is a weird show, which is good.  You could say it borders a little bit in the modern dance world.  The props are interesting.  To their credit they do use all their props.  For me, the over all show did not bring me in.  At times the characters, other than Ethan, seemed to be pretending to be their characters.  For a Clown Theater Festival, I only saw the very beginnings of their clowns at most.  I would love to see the show with full-out clowning and it does not need to be red nosed. That is not what I saw, or the direction taken by director Andy Dickerson.  There were several good moments.   Loved the stick figure dancers. They were original (at least I never saw it before). They played with it.  It was fun.

One major movement piece is with gears.  This was a combination of prop manipulation and dance.  The gears were big and we really wanted to see them work with each other.  They moved around the stage but never really spun. A magic did not happen.  There was plenty of potential.  When you have props like these, they must be totally investigated and the people operating them really must master them. This is Clown Theater, and you must be total masters of your props.   They must become much more than props.  There seemed to be a surface level being played with most of the props and characters.  The props looked fun and some of them did things.

One character played by Andy Dickerson, concentrated on a spoon throughout the show trying to bend it with his mind. He had a good moment when he bent the spoon with his hand.  The animation was fun at times.  Ultimately I would love to see more totally down to earth honest clowning in Machinations.

This was their only show in the festival.  “Cirque This” is a local NY company and for more information about them go to their website and if they are a circus company I saw no circus in this show but from their website I noticed they do have several different shows.

The New York Clown Theater Festival runs through Sept. 30th at the Brick Theater

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