The cast includes:
Ryan Barry
(2011 FringeNYC Award for Excellence, In the Summer Pavilion; Red-Merrimack Theatre)
Joel Reuben Ganz
(War Horse-Lincoln Center, Measure for Pleasure-Woolly Mammoth)
Emily James
(The Arty Need Show-The Gutter; Channel One-Edmonton & Toronto Fringe)
Marissa Molnar
(The Screwtape Letters national tour; Romeo & Juliet-Synetic Theater)
Carol Lee Sirugo
(High Priest of California-29th St. Rep; Rat Bastards-Dixon Place)

What happens when clowns converge on an abandoned home in suburban America and one of them has a semi-automatic weapon? In this dark comedy, set in the wasteland of foreclosed suburban housing after the Bush economic implosion, an accidental meeting, loaded with a trigger-happy rifle, touches off a chain of events that hilariously crisscross the financial crisis, professional clowning, performance theory, suburban architecture, gun control, religion, murder, substance abuse and burglary.

Clown Play, a new play by Paul David Young, the author of In the Summer Pavilion, 2011 FringeNYC (backstage.com “Critic’s Pick”; NY Daily News: “a gem”; Curtain Up! “a perfect little play”; Village Voice: Fringe “highlight”; NYTheatre.com: “Edginess pervades this 70-minute drama”).

Directed by Robert Lutfy, The 2012-2013 William R. Kenan, Jr. Directing Fellow at The Kennedy Center.

Clown Play opens at the C.O.W. Theater (formerly Living Theatre), 21 Clinton St., August 2013 as part of the 17th Annual New York International Fringe Festival. Tickets are $15-$18. Running Time 1 hour 10 minutes. SAT 10 @ 2:45; SUN 11 @ 7:00; WED 14 @ 3:00; THU 15 @ 2:00; SAT 24 @ 9:30. See www.FringeNYC.org or call 866.468.7619 and go to www.clownplay2013.com

For Clown Play press relsease:
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by Paul David Young
directed by Robert Lutfy
presented by Skylight Productions, in association with The Present Company/FringeNYC 2013

Ryan Barry * (“Barry”) has appeared Off Broadway in Treasure Island, directed by the Tony Award winning B.H. Barry, In The Summer Pavilion at 59E59, and The Last Seder opposite Gabby Hoffman at The Mint's Theatre Three. Downtown he has appeared at HERE Arts Center and SoHo Playhouse and has worked Regionally at The Long Wharf Theatre (with Sam Waterston), Barrington Stage Company, and the Merrimack Repertory Theatre production of Red. Internationally, Ryan appeared in the gritty New York based piece Role Play, at Dublin's Players Theatre. Ryan received the 2011 FringeNYC Excellence in Performance Award for his roll in In the Summer Pavilion, as well as the Northeastern WISE award for Best Male Performer for his portrayal of Ken in Red.

Joel Reuben Ganz * (“Tommy”) is excited by the challenge of this new play. Broadway: War Horse at Lincoln Center Theater. Regional: The Book Club Play(Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park),Measure for Pleasure(Woolly Mammoth), Pangs of the Messiah, Honey Brown Eyes(Theater J), The Death of Meyerhold, Take Me Out(The Studio Theatre), The Picture of Dorian Gray(Round House Theatre), Shear Maddness, The Lisbon Traviata(Kennedy Center),Othello(Shakespeare Theatre), and The Dybukk, Host&Guest(Synetic Theatre). Television: "Unforgettable." He has performed internationally in Scotland, France, and Corsica. A graduate of the International Theatre School of Jacques Lecoq in Paris, he holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Emory University.

Emily James (“Nancy”) is a clown and comedian. She lives in Brooklyn but she was born in South Carolina and raised in Georgia. She performs monthly on the Arty Need Show in Williamsburg and regularly with her improv group, My Friend Paul. She has two web series: Good Vibes and Who Invited That Girl?! You may recognize her as one the duo James and JF who performed their show Channel One all over the continent and they created a pilot tv show We're Not Here. She absolutely loves being in this Clown Play and reckons she'll be in some more of them sometime soon. Like in October at IRT Theater. Thank you very much if you did not boo her off the stage.

Marissa Molnar * (“Elisa”) is delighted to be playing with these clowns between ongoing performances of The Screwtape Letters National Tour, a two-hander in which she plays a demon-gargoyle creature that speaks only in gibberish. She is also a company member with Broken Box Mime Theater and will be in their upcoming show at Dixon Place November 7-23. Regional work includes Synetic Theater (Helen Hayes Ensemble Awards: wordless Romeo and Juliet, wordless A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Two River Theatre Co, Folger Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Co, and Round House Theatre. In NYC, Marissa has directed/choreographed original pieces for Vacant Lot Theatre, New Perspectives Theater Co, and Potomac Theater Project’s After Dark Series. She can also be seen in White Reindeer, which premiered at SXSW and screened at BAMCinemaFest. Her physical training was 5 years as a company member with Synetic Theater in DC, and she has a B.A. in Music from American University. marissamolnar.com

Carol Lee Sirugo * (“Maria”) is a physical comedienne/clown, actress and writer. She recently performed at Dixon Place in the Panto show, Dick Whittington and in the Cirque Off Festival at Triskelion Arts. She is a veteran of the Canadian Fringe Festival Circuit, having toured with her dark comedies, which included The Hysteric (Best of Fest Winner) and This Town (Media Choice Award). In New York, she has appeared in many plays, including 29th St. Rep.’s Off-Broadway production of High Priest of California, which received rave reviews in The New York Times, The New Yorker and Time Out. As a physical comedienne/clown, she has performed in the Commedia dell’Arte play Rat Bastards (Dixon Place), and in numerous physical comedy acts at the New York International Clown Festival (The Brick Theater), the New York Downtown Clown Revue (The Kraine Theater, Dixon Place), Bindlestiff Cirkus’ Variety Night (Galapagos, Dixon Place), Laugh Out Loud Clown Festival (Emerging Artists Theatre), Comedy in Dance Festival (Triskelion Arts) and at MOVE IT! Physical Theater Festival (HERE Arts Center). Carol is thrilled to be part of the Clown Play family. Thank you, Paul and Rob!

Robert Lutfy (Director) is the 2012-13 William R. Kenan, Jr. Directing Fellow at The John F. Kennedy Center. During the fellowship he assisted directors at Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, and Theatre J. Some directing credits include: Big Shoes, Open Dream Ensemble; The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Threshold Repertory; The Sunset Limited, 3M Productions; Time Stands Still, Collaborative Arts; and Two Buildings One Heart, Burning Coal Theatre. He has worked on plays in development at the Kennedy Center, The O’Neill Theatre Center, Burning Coal Theatre, The Hub Theatre, The Rensing Center, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (line producer). He founded A Step Ahead, a young actor training program in Charlotte, NC. He has assisted directors that include: Michael Kahn, Lisa Peterson, David Muse, Gerald Freedman, Sarah Benson, Liesl Tommy, Aaron Posner, John Langs, Johanna Gruenhut, and Ryan Rilette. He is a graduate of the directing program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts school of Drama.

Paul David Young ‘s (Playwright) In the Summer Pavilion, produced in the 2011 FringeNYC and in 2012 at 59e59 Theaters, has been made into a feature film, to be released in 2014. He won the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. His work has been performed at MoMA PS1, 59e59 Theaters, Marlborough Gallery, the Living Theatre, apexart, The Brick, LMAK Projects, Lion Theatre, Kraine Theater, the Red Room, and the Kaffileikhusid in Reykjavik. His plays have been developed at Primary Stages, New York Theater Workshop, Alliance Theater of Atlanta, and the Kennedy Center. He is a Contributing Editor at PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art (MIT Press) and writes for Art in America. His translations, with Carl Weber, of Heiner Müller’s Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome and Macbeth were published in 2012 under the title Heiner Müller: After Shakespeare. His book newARTtheatre: Evolutions of the Performance Aesthetic will be issued by MIT Press/PAJ in 2013.

Julian Evans (Sound Design) is a theatre and cinema sound designer with an ear for unusual sounds. Soulographie (La MaMa), In the Summer Pavilion (59e59),Trouble (NYMF), Crazy, Just Like Me (NYMF), Barcode: The Musical (Fringe), Prophet in Pink (Fringe), Parade (Gallery Players), A Man of No Importance (Gallery Players), Two Intimate (Abingdon Theater), The Golden Year (WorkShop Theater), The Rescignos (Araca Group), Odyssey: The Epic Musical (Araca Group), Little Shop of Horrors (St. Bart’s Players), #nyc (Ugly Rhino Productions). Julian earned his BA in Music Production from Carnegie Mellon University. www.julianevans.info

Scout Isensee (Costume Design) has been creating costumes for seven years, and this is the third show to feature her designs. Currently working towards a BA in Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion, she has recently finished work placements with KOOZÅ by Cirque du Soleil and Singin' in the Rain at the Palace Theatre. Having been a fan of the circus and clowns for years, she is thrilled to be working on Clown Play.

Daniel Winters (Lighting Design) is a Drama Desk Award nominated lighting designer who holds an MFA from Ohio University. Off Broadway: Mayday Mayday (St. Ann's Warehouse), Adaptations For The Stage (The Director’s Company), The Monkey Show (Labyrinth Theatre Company). Off-Off Broadway: The Man Who Laughs (Stolen Chair Theater Company), Tick Parade (Dixon Place), King John and Island (NY Shakespeare Exchange), 8 Track: B-sides And Mash-ups (Creative Destruction), Waiting For Lefty (Portmanteau Theatre Company), Impossible Country (Mud/Bone Collective). Regional: To Kill A Mockingbird, Enron and Jude The Obscure (Burning Coal Theater Company), Sleeping Beauty, Bald Soprano, and Seussical (Garage Theatre Company). Opera: Rusalka (Opera Slavica). Educational: Sverginata (Sarah Lawrence College). Daniel is co-founder of Burnside Design Studio. www.burnsidestudio.com

Bethany Ellen Clark * (Stage Manager) is a NYC stage manager, graduated from SUNY Purchase College as of May 2012, with a BFA in stage management from the Design Technology program within the Conservatory of Theatre Arts. Bethany is excited for the opening of Clown Play and happy to be working again with Paul David Young, Ryan Barry, and Julian Evans. Past credits include: Harbor Lights Theatre Company's Oliver!(Staten Island, NY), LAVA Dance Company's The Rocks (Fisher Space, BAM), F*It Club’s Third Annual Spring Fling: The Morning After (The Medicine Show), Mother Eve’s Secret Garden...(NYC Fringe), In the Summer Pavilion (59 E. 59th St), MDSMMR NITES TXT (NYU/Tisch NSB). Past events include: “the Social Good Summit 2012” (92nd St. Y), and Young People’s Choir of NYC Annual Gala (Carnegie Hall).

* Appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association

SPECIAL THANKS TO: George Drance, Franklin Evans, Lou Phillips, Heidi Riegler/Riegler Media, Ron Lasko, Jessica Kazamel, Elena Holy, and all the volunteers at FringeNYC.

The Village Voice:
"completely unconventional”

“The script is intelligently bizarre: It’s Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects meets Marcel Marceau, and ultimately connects its disorienting components into an ode to clowning and the pain it sometimes masks."
villiagevoice.com

The New York Times,
“Shows to Consider in the New York Fringe Festival”

“In his dark comedy ‘Clown Play,’ Paul David Young intriguingly combines critical elements from the horror playbook: angry clowns, semiautomatic weapons, an abandoned house in the suburbs.”
NYTimes.com

THE EASY:
by Greg Solomon on 8.13.13

“the treatment of ‘the financial crisis, professional clowning, performance theory, suburban architecture, gun control, religion, murder, substance abuse and burglary’ did indeed touch up on all of those issues and more, but with a degree of levity that was refreshing in the current age of sometimes cult-like protest via social media.”

“Paul David Young’s script is exceedingly clever, with one absolutely killer monologue for Maria”

“Robert Lutfy’s direction is equally impressive”

“The whole cast is pitch-perfect once one becomes attuned to the style of the piece.”
“To sum up, this is exactly the kind of thing theatre-goers look forward to fringe festivals for: Daring, entertaining and ultimately non-mainstream fare.”

THEEASY.com

UPSTAGE-DOWNSTAGE:
Thursday, August 15, 2013:

'Clown Play': One of the Offbeat Treats of the New York International Fringe Festival

“what is clear is that Mr. Young is a talented wordsmith who is able to take seemingly disparate elements and coalesce them into a logical and unexpectedly sweet play (unexpected, since a semi-automatic weapon puts in a threatening appearance from time to time)”

“consider the title as you leave the theater having had a surprisingly good time.”

“And while it is Mr. Young’s writing skill that was able to turn seemingly random scenes into a real charmer of a play, much credit must go to the cast (all of whom have impressive theater credentials, by the way), and to director Robert Lutfy.”

upstage-downstage.com

NYTHEATRE.COM:

“[Young’s] text flows easily from one difficult idea to the next (he manages at one point to question war, responsibility, and art – individually – within eight simple lines) and does so in a clever manner and oddly playful setting: clowns squatting in modern suburban America.”

“Carol Lee Sirugo as Maria is quite magical to witness.”

“The designers all deserve a great deal of credit as well for their magnificent attention to detail. Scout Isensee’s costumes range from absurdly over-the-top clown, to a clearly articulated subtlety (the intense clown gets my laughs, but the subtlety – specifically of Tommy’s costume – gets the tip of my hat). Julian Evans’ sound design and Daniel Winters’ lighting working in tandem to accent much of the slapstick is sharp and effective, beautifully in sync with one another (and executed with great care by Stage Manager Bethany Ellen Clark). “

New York Fringe Festival Pick by Newyork.com, Amsterdam News, New York Times, and The New Jersey Record

The Village Voice:
Linda Leseman
August 14, 2013

"By contrast, Clown Play (at The C.O.W.), written by Paul David Young and directed by Robert Lutfy, is completely unconventional. The dark comedy begins with an existential monologue by a woman named Maria (Carol Lee Sirugo), who compares herself to “the indirect object,” the “acted-upon.” Following this, a motley crew of four burglar-clowns-turned-squatters assembles in an abandoned house. Their physical shenanigans at gunpoint are equal parts whimsy, perversion, and absurdity (several members of the cast are formally trained clowns). The script is intelligently bizarre: It’s Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects meets Marcel Marceau, and ultimately connects its disorienting components into an ode to clowning and the pain it sometimes masks."

villiagevoice.com

Fringe Marathon: The Spider Tops Our Roundup of 10 Shows

By Linda Leseman Wednesday, Aug 14 2013

Last weekend kicked off the 17th year of the New York International Fringe Festival (aka FringeNYC), which runs through August 25. As with any such festival, when you choose what shows to see, you’re really rolling the dice. This two-week-long feast of all things performative offers shows by 185 theater troupes and dance companies from 13 countries and 17 U.S. states. The total number of performances is an overwhelming 1,200, and it all takes place in 20 downtown Manhattan venues.
This was my first attempt to see 10 Fringe events in a little over 48 hours. (In case you’re wondering, I’m very tired, and my legs are sore.) The measure of the festival’s success is probably not how many stellar shows there are but rather the ratio of pretty good ones to godawful bores. To the credit of FringeNYC, most of the performances I saw were of the former variety, and a couple were truly outstanding.

The most important thing, which I learned immediately, is that you should never, ever, under any circumstances arrive even one minute late to these things. FringeNYC is a well-oiled machine, with none of this leisurely holding the house open for an extra 10 minutes that you find on Broadway. If you arrive late—actually, if you don’t arrive early—you are S.O.L. Take note.
My weekend of theatrical madness began, perhaps appropriately, with Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A Graphic Novel Play at The Celebration of Whimsy (or the C.O.W.). The comedy by Katie May uses familiar graphic novel clichés (like big “Pow!” sound effects for bodily contact) to tell its story of Tallman, a frustrated artist who finds a muse in a mysterious mute woman who wanders into a bar and comes home to live with him. This title character, Lily, is explained as a “trope,” ironically, by the best-friend-in-a-bar stock personality functioning as the voice of reason: A “manic pixie dream girl” is a quirky girlfriend character that one knows nothing about “outside of the relevance to the dude’s life.” Think Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. However, what seems like a script constructed of such tropes takes a surprisingly poignant turn when Lily’s origins are revealed. A Starburst wrapper serves as an unlikely metaphor for a shift in perspective that’s as revelatory to the lead character as it is to the audience.

Another piece that relies on conventional characters and situations—but forgivably so—is The Awful Truth, a ’40s-style radio play presented at The Connelly by Gotham Radio Theatre. In this campy farce, five actors take on more roles than are even listed in the program in a silly I Love Lucy-esque romp about marriage and infidelity. The sound effects are created live onstage, and the cast should be applauded for their tightness as an ensemble as well as for their individual vocal versatilities.
By contrast, Clown Play (at The C.O.W.), written by Paul David Young and directed by Robert Lutfy, is completely unconventional. The dark comedy begins with an existential monologue by a woman named Maria (Carol Lee Sirugo), who compares herself to “the indirect object,” the “acted-upon.” Following this, a motley crew of four burglar-clowns-turned-squatters assembles in an abandoned house. Their physical shenanigans at gunpoint are equal parts whimsy, perversion, and absurdity (several members of the cast are formally trained clowns). The script is intelligently bizarre: It’s Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects meets Marcel Marceau, and ultimately connects its disorienting components into an ode to clowning and the pain it sometimes masks.
Talk to Me About Shame is a . . .

THE EASY:
Clown Play
By Paul David Young; Directed by Robert Lutfy
FringeNYC, New Play
Runs through 8.24.13
C.O.W. Theater, 21 Clinton St.

by Greg Solomon on 8.13.13

BOTTOM LINE: Sometimes the best way to deal with a failing economy amongst personal and societal strife is to make a joke of it.
I went into Clown Play anticipating a dark, disturbing and potentially thought-provoking evening. It’s a rare occasion when the subversion of expectation is a welcome delight and what I encountered was just that. Indeed the treatment of ‘the financial crisis, professional clowning, performance theory, suburban architecture, gun control, religion, murder, substance abuse and burglary’ did indeed touch up on all of those issues and more, but with a degree of levity that was refreshing in the current age of sometimes cult-like protest via social media.

Clown Play alternates between two pairs of drifters trying to find a home to squat in and the monologues of the house’s owner. Tommy and Nancy (Joel Reuben Ganz and Emily James) are running away from what seems to be a dark secret in Tommy’s past. Barry (Ryan Barry) stumbles into the house with a semi-automatic and titillates the house’s current clown-fetishist squatter, Elisa (a delightful Marissa Molnar, who is exceedingly reminiscent of Parker Posey). Both couples spar, get it on, and then bump into one another post-coitus. When Elisa decides to kill Tommy for being a clown-hater (a sequence that brought to mind everything from Rodney King up to the current Zimmerman story), Tommy comes out of the closet as being a clown himself. Maria (Carol Lee Sirugo) arrives home from the ‘big house’ after murdering her ex and is at first appalled by the invaders, but eventually allows them all to stay and teach her to be a clown as well. It’s a strangely uplifting tale of misfits finding each other in a pre-post-economic apocalypse, if you will.
Paul David Young’s script is exceedingly clever, with one absolutely killer monologue for Maria in which she records a Christmas CD of her year in review -- the story of her recovery from alcoholism, falling in love with a man who drives away her children, and the death of her mother from cancer (it’s comic). Robert Lutfy’s direction is equally impressive. I found myself picking out a few sequences I’d have liked to have worked on myself back in my university days. The whole cast is pitch-perfect once one becomes attuned to the style of the piece.
To sum up, this is exactly the kind of thing theatre-goers look forward to fringe festivals for: Daring, entertaining and ultimately non-mainstream fare. Be warned there is a huge amount of sexual content (pun intended potentially), the spoilers of which I can’t even type without blushing.
(Clown Play plays at the C.O.W. Theater, 21 Clinton St., through August 24, 2013. Remaining performances are August 14th at 3PM; August 15th at 2PM; and August 24th at 9:30PM. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and are available at fringenyc.org or by calling 866.468.7619. For more information visit clownplay.com.)

THEEASY.com

UPSTAGE-DOWNSTAGE:
Thursday, August 15, 2013
'Clown Play': One of the Offbeat Treats of the New York International Fringe Festival

We’ve barely said farewell to the New York Musical Theater Festival when who should come strolling in but the New York International Fringe Festival, with its barrage of 185 shows in 16 days in over 20 different venues and time slots.

I don’t know how many of these I’ll be getting to, but let me begin with the first one I saw. It’s called Clown Play, whose playwright Paul David Young made something of a name for himself at the 2011 Fringe with In The Summer Pavilion, a play that imagines different possible futures for three friends. That play went on to an Off Broadway run at 59East59 and has since been turned into a film, set to be released in the coming year.

Whether Clown Play will follow that route remains to be seen, but what is clear is that Mr. Young is a talented wordsmith who is able to take seemingly disparate elements and coalesce them into a logical and unexpectedly sweet play (unexpected, since a semi-automatic weapon puts in a threatening appearance from time to time).

As Clown Play opens, we are face-to-face with a woman (the highly talented Carol Lee Sirugo) who waxes philosophic. “All is silence,” she begins, before going off on a Beckett-like ramble on matters of great significance, not unlike Lucky’s speech in Waiting for Godot.

Is she insane, we wonder, or a lost soul of some sort, trapped if not in Beckett Land, then maybe in Sartre Town or Kafka Village?

We will get answers, but not right away. Instead, the scene shifts to a man and a woman, Tommy (Joel Reuben Ganz) and Nancy (Emily James), who are floundering around in the dark, much frightened and feeling at risk of personal harm from someone or something in the unknown.

Again, the feeling of dread pervades. What kind of place is this? Could these characters be dead souls drifting around in Purgatory?

And finally, we are introduced to yet another couple, Barry (Ryan Barry, a Summer Pavilion alum) and Elisa (Marissa Molnar), who have set up housekeeping in an apparently abandoned home. Now things start to feel less like a ghost story and more like an all-too-real post-apocalyptic world, something, perhaps, like the one in Jules Feiffer’s Little Murders.

Teasingly, the play rotates among these characters in short scenes that we must take in before everything begins to make sense. One of the better ones is a perverse version of the ubiquitous Christmas letter (in this case, a video), a litany of life horrors recited by Ms. Sirugo’s character.

Just when we are questioning whether all this is leading anywhere beyond the suggestive and atmospheric, the characters start to interact with one another—at first with a not-surprising degree of suspicion (hence the semi-automatic weapon), but gradually warming until they loosen up and begin to meld into a cohort resembling the Tribe from Hair, a self-made family against all expectations.

And to what do they owe this dramatic change? Why, consider the title as you leave the theater having had a surprisingly good time.

And while it is Mr. Young’s writing skill that was able to turn seemingly random scenes into a real charmer of a play, much credit must go to the cast (all of whom have impressive theater credentials, by the way), and to director Robert Lutfy.

Clown Play is a little oddball, no doubt, but the production at the COW (Celebration of Whimsy) Theater on Clinton Street in the Lower East Side is well worth putting on your Fringe list. If that part of the city not your usual theatrical habitat, consider that it is just off Houston Street and only a couple of blocks from Katz’s Delicatessen. I recommend picking up a pastrami Reuben after the show, and pondering the magic of theater while you are eating it.

upstage-downstage.com