02 March 2009

Humor Abuse, or: SHOCK! Jaime Likes Clown Show!

Would it be too much for there to be a single production shot of Humor Abuse on the internet? Oh, I know, cause Lornenzo Pisoni is so ugly that his very visage will melt our computer screens, right?

Okay, yes, I know, the show's still in previews, so fine. But what about, um, ANYTHING ELSE? MTC is flying this show seriously under the radar. Even on their own website, it looks like it's not even their show, but some random rental or something. See? "At MTC":

And it's really a shame, because this show is totally freaking great. Here are some things people sometimes don't like:

  • one person shows
  • clowns
  • hot men in spandexy clothing
But I ask you to put aside those prejudices for this show. One-person shows and clowning are alike in that when they are bad, or even just eh, they are painfully bad, but when they are good they are AWESOME. (Okay, great one-person shows are still just great. But great clowning is like the best thing ever.) And Lorenzo Pisoni's clowning is great. And his one-person show skills (this one was co-created with and directed by Erica Schmidt, so let me not forget her) are pretty wonderful, too. He grew up in the circus, with a clown for a dad, and it makes for a compelling, engaging, sad & heartwarming story. And worked into that memoir is a whole lotta awesome clown skills.

It's also a gorgeous production. No set designer is listed, which I find mysterious, because the set is gorgeous. The whole design is. I've never seen a single bare lightbulb put to such beautiful use.

And yes, I wish I, like baby Lorenzo, belonged to the circus. My love for clowns and other circusy miscellany is well-documented. But I really think that even without a predisposition for this stuff, what Pisoni does is... "funny" isn't a strong enough word. It's not quite right. This sort of high-quality clowning, yes, is funny, but is so incredibly skillful, so enrapturing. It's the perfect combination of anticipation and surprise, totally delightful and riveting.

Although the story being told is bittersweet (I cold teared up at one point, in the middle of a freaking CLOWN SHOW), I spent the entire time pretty much full of happiness. I was just sad when it was over.

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