La MaMa is set to present Clowns Ex Machina in the World Premiere of Clowns Full-Tilt: A Musing on Aesthetics, created and directed by Kendall Cornell. Clowns Ex Machina is a 9-woman clown troupe that includes performers from all over the world. Clowns Full-Tilt: A Musing on Aesthetics runs through November 20 at La MaMa's First Floor Theatre, located at 74A East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue & the Bowery in New York City.
Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm. Tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for students/seniors and can be purchased online at http://www.LaMaMa.org, in person at the box office or by calling 212-475-7710. Running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. The show is made for adults, but theater savvy kids will enjoy it too. A post-show talkback will follow the Sunday, November 13 matinee performance. La MaMa is accessible from the F train to 2nd Ave. or the #6 train to Bleecker St. For more information on the show visit http://www.ClownsExMachina.com.
In a perfectly empty room, what is Beauty? What is Art? In a roomful of spirited women clowns, can Clowns Ex Machina even hope to answer those questions? In their newest show, Clowns Full-Tilt: A Musing on Aesthetics, Kendall Cornell and her troupe of 8 women clowns flim-flam some lofty answers. They match their humor against the 2-dimensional - flattening themselves into famous paintings, even squeezing themselves into one-dimensional, stock characters from advertisements and TV. Through a series of short vignettes, songs and dances, they create an absurd and chimeric brew of animated great art and shallow cosmetics commercials, as they explore the chains of culture and the perversion of pure impulse. Created from a palette of historic field recordings, children's games, TV and great works of art, Clowns Ex Machina lays a foundation of sheer folly, from which arises a sophisticated, multi-media evening of clown theatre.
Clowns Ex Machina is a troupe of all women clowns creating gleeful theatre together. Under the direction of Kendall Cornell, Clowns Ex Machina's ensemble shows unearth a fresh, female twist to the ancient art form of clown, using short vignettes, songs and madcap dance numbers to examine and invigorate the social assumptions which, when turned on their heads, create humor. At times broadly physical and at times darkly satirical, the work of this troupe of women clowns has been wowing audiences since their inception 5 years ago. The New York Times remarked that their shows, which are known for their intelligence, humor, and ultimately uplifting sense of delight, are also "reminders that the greatest clowns try to make people laugh to help stave off existential horrors." Each show creates, out of a seeming void, an entire world and ethos in which the richly varied clowns live. "It is not easy to have the courage to go in a new direction with the art clowning," says Barry Lubin (Grandma Clown with Big Apple Circus) "but Kendall Cornell not only pushes limits, and challenges boundaries, she succeeds in entertaining us -- and her clowns make us think in the process."
Kendall Cornell began gathering women clowns in 2006 to explore together the question of what constitutes a woman clown - and why being a woman makes a difference. Humor rests on subtle, subconscious associations; therefore the effect of gender differences on creating laughter is intrinsic. Of their work Tony-Award winning clown and actor Bill Irwin says, "The mystery of women clowning - different things are funny but it's easier not to think so. Man in a dress, almost always a laugh. Woman in a tux, not as often (but sometimes!). Kendall Cornell and her clowns are waist deep in all these questions - plumbing the mystery."
Kendall Cornell, leader of Clowns Ex Machina, has been creating and performing clown work since falling in love with it 16 years ago. Of her versatility and range as a performer, David Shiner (Fool Moon, Cirque du Soleil) says, "Kendall Cornell's insightful, sensitive world fits perfectly into any clown hat she chooses to wear." Kendall was commissioned by Canada's Cirque du Soleil to create a special clown extravaganza with her women clowns for the NYC opening of their circus, Corteo. As a soloist, her dynamic clown pieces, such as Flamenco Girl, Pink Salome, The Maneater, Glamourpuss, P.S. de la Resistance and The Wallflower have been presented at La Mama, The New York Clown Theatre Festival, Six Figures' Artists of Tomorrow Festival, the International Festival de Pallasses and elsewhere in NYC and abroad. In 2007 Kendall was nominated for a Golden Nose Clown of the Year Award by the New York Downtown Clown Revue.