Canoe Theatre Festival guest blogger Jerry Aulenbach talks of clown snores, sword fights and boldly going where no clown has gone before. Catch Punctuate! Theatre‘s Vice Versa in its finale Canoe performance on Friday, February 1 at 7:30pm at C103.
My intrigue in the name of this performance was only enhanced when I walked in the theatre and saw both performers face-down on the ground, booze in hand. The Supertramp theme music added to the awesome, as did the trombone, guitar, tickle trunk, and disco ball on set. Then the snoring began. But it wasn’t just any snoring, it was synchronized clown snoring.
Little did I know, the simplicity of the set was entirely deceptive. As the show progressed, more and more elements of insanity joined the stage, not to mention the audience.
The form of the show was brilliant. It ended as it began, as they completed the difficult task they set out at the beginning of their journey and then both fell asleep. Their comedy style was intense! Like Shakespeare, their comedy scenes were immediately and cruelly followed by intense emotional moments of reflection, but the shifts were far more pronounced. They were often so immediate and blurred that you found yourself wanting to laugh at a mourning son and his widower father, unsure if you should feel guilty for doing so.
The language heartless buffoons spoke was a brilliant blend of English, Eastern European, I think some Scandinavian, and a little franglais for good measure. They are so good at speaking this gibberish that the audience is even able to learn some of the frequently-used words, and anticipate new words. Brilliant.
In an attempt to avoid the inevitable audience participation of a show run by 2 actors raised in a town of street performers (why isn’t it called busking here, anyway?), I sat back a couple rows and off to the side. It was in vain, because Fozby needed an opponent in the sword fight, and Tonk spotted me. It was a blast!
While I would have been happy to see the show without so much crude humour, it was a riot, and I’m glad I went. These are brilliant performers with lots of career ahead of them. They even announced the sequel, Vice Reversa, which is sure to be a great show. Watch for it at Nextfest and the Fringe. And if you see clowns as passé or irrelevant, you have obviously never seen a show like this. It boldly goes where no clown has gone before.
Jerry Aulenbach has been involved in live theatre from an early age. His mother put him in puppetry workshops at Mermaid Theatre in his hometown of Windsor, Nova Scotia as a young boy, and that led to an immediate love of the arts. He has performed with André Tahon’s troupe of marottes