Kindling Conversations is Celebration Barn’s new series inviting ideas and discussion to spark creation and performance. On Wednesday, January 27, the Barn’s Amanda Huotari will chat with Shannan Calcutt on what it means to be funny, fearless and female.
Kindling Conversations are free to attend with pre-registration required. We welcome questions from participating viewers!
CLOWNS AFTER MIDNIGHT!
2 LATE NIGHT SOIREES!
Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:55 pm - Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:00 am
11 Cirque du Soleil Artists spent 7 days together at Vegas Theatre Hub, under the guidance of Clown Director Shannan Calcutt, in the workshop: "Make 'em Laugh: The Art of Creating an Act". Come and witness the comic acts they've created. This is ensemble generated lunacy at its very best! Only 2 chances to see 'em sink or swim.
Clowns Erez Kaplan (O)| Noah Bremer (The Beatles LOVE) | Vinicius Masteguim (BLUE MAN GROUP) | Gabryel NogueiraDasilva (KA) | Ricci Kemko (O)| Marylene H. Cameron (KA) | Maggie Mart (KA) | Bill Cunningham (MYSTERE) | Mikey Ross (O) | Darin Good (KA) | Darren Pitura (ZUMANITY)
Clown Act Designers: The Ensemble
Clown Director: Shannan Calcutt
Assistant to Clown Director: Nate Marble
Clown Crew: Derek Shipman
Imagined By: Pierre Parisien | Shannan Calcutt
Special Thanks: Pierre Parisien | Tim Smith | Katy Renaud | Matt Nickel | Cirque du Soleil | Vegas Theatre Hub | Brien McCrea
LocationVegas Theatre Hub, 705 Las Vegas Blvd N, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Clowns are a necessity. Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas productions may not make you think of a traditional circus, but there are clowns in most of these shows and their role is essential.
For example, in the sexy, adult-oriented “Zumanity,” there is Izzy, an over-the-top personality who performs a routine that feels like a late-night infomercial. The product? “Scotch baggies,” a makeshift breast implant that doubles as a convenient cocktail.
“I think the clowns at ‘Zumanity’ offer a time for the crowd to breathe, relax and laugh,” says Shannan Calcutt, who created the character and performs as Izzy. She joined Cirque du Soleil in 2005 shortly before moving to Las Vegas from Vancouver. “'Zumanity’ is a sexy show. You see extraordinary artists with bodies of true perfection and while I think it’s awe-inspiring, it can also be intimidating. We don’t all look like that, move like that, walk like that. The clowns come out and flaunt their flaws so the audience can forget their own.”
Calcutt started developing her clown Izzy at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in 1998 and performed as Izzy for the first time at the Ottawa Fringe Festival the following year. When she joined “Zumanity,” she adapted the character for the show, so she’s been playing Izzy for 20 years.
The comedic side of Cirque will be on full display at the Clowns After Midnight performances at the Vegas Theatre Hub this week. The presentation will showcase 11 Cirque artists — none of whom perform as clowns — in 13 acts created during a seven-day workshop series led by Calcutt, who describes the resulting show as “Saturday Night Live” with clowns.
“What’s unique about this program is that it features 11 artists that have all taken three workshops with me. They were hand-selected by Cirque do Soleil’s senior artistic director, Pierre Parisien, to go through the three-level program, which I specifically developed for this troupe,” says Calcutt, who has taught clown and comedy workshops throughout Canada, Australia and the United States since 2000. “They’re all working courageously out of their comfort zones. I couldn’t be more proud of them!”
The Clowns After Midnight performances began as two sold-out, late-night soirees, after which Parisien thought the improv clowns should have another opportunity to perform for a live audience. In comedy, Calcutt says, the only way to perfect your act is to work it out in front of a real audience.
“It’s sink or swim time,” she says. “So we’re presenting four more shows, three late-night and one matinee experience.”
Clowns After Midnight will start at 11:59 p.m. April 4, 6 and 7 at the Vegas Theatre Hub (705 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 702-569-9070). The Sunday show on April 8 includes a party bus (with Champagne and clowns) from the Orleans to the show starting at noon. For more information on all shows, visit vegastheatrehub.com.
Clowns After Midnight
In January, 11 Cirque du Soleil Artists spent 7 days under the guidance of Clown Director Shannan Calcutt at Vegas Theatre Hub in the workshop: "Make 'em Laugh: The Art of Creating an Act".
We started with nothing, and within the week created 13 new Clown Acts! We presented the new material to thunderous applause!
Only 160 people got to witness our LUNACY! So we're doing it again!!!
Get your tickets to one of our Late Night Shows or Join the Clowns on their Party Bus for our Sunday matinee! Tickets are limited.
Adrian Chamberlain / Times Colonist
October 27, 2016 06:00 AM
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/uvic-grad-a-proud-member-of-the-clown-tribe-1.2374449#sthash.JLaOkcr0.dpuf
PREVIEWWhat: Burnt Tongue with Shannan Calcutt
Where: Phoenix Theatre, University of Victoria
When: Continues through Saturday
Tickets: $26 (250-721-8000)
Clowns creepy? No way, says Shannan Calcutt, a University of Victoria theatre grad and professional clown.
Calcutt is back at the University of Victoria to perform her show Burnt Tongue for the Phoenix Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Alumni Festival. For the past 11 years, she has been a clown with Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, a risqué La Vegas celebration of erotica featuring men in cages, a mock orgy and Silly String orgasms.
A graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, as well as UVic (class of ‘97), Calcutt performs with Cirque du Soleil 475 times a year. Her audiences have included Judy Dench, Eddie Murphy and Sting.
After thousands of performances, she knows her stuff. And to be frank, the whole creepy-clown phenomenon grates her nerves.
“I just think it’s a bit ridiculous,” Calcutt said this week. “These are not clowns. These are people who dress in a costume.”
For those who missed it, the creepy-clown craze refers to those who wear clown costumes and go around scaring people. Fuelled by social media, the spread of this fad has given clowning something of a bad name.
There have been creepy-clown reports all over North America. This month, the Associated Press reported non-creepy clowns are losing gigs because children — and some adults — are now afraid of them.
The World Clown Association said clowns are being asked to give performances without makeup and traditional clown costumes. The retail chain Target pulled its scary clown masks from its shelves. McDonald’s said its Ronald McDonald character would be downplayed due to mounting clown fears.
In Burnt Tongue, Calcutt wears traditional red nose and white face. Interviewed in the Phoenix Theatre’s lobby, she said mistaking “creepy clowns” for real clowns is like believing people in police or doctor costumes are the genuine article.
“You would never say: ‘Look out for the [real] doctors, they’re creeping out children. They’re terrifying. They’ve got knives,’ ” Calcutt said.
“You’re clearly disturbed if you want to scare a child. Obviously, there’s something wrong with you.”
Far from being baddies, clowns are good — even healers, Calcutt says. She notes at Israel’s University of Haifa, there exists an undergraduate degree program in clown therapy. Post and pre-surgery, patients who have an anxiety-reducing clown session require less pain medication and anesthesia.
Burnt Tongue is the story of Izzy, a waifish girl who waits for the arrival of her date, a rendezvous arranged online. Written in 1999 was she was just 24, the show was last performed in 2005 at the Neptune Theatre. Filmed with a live audience, it was broadcast on Bravo!
After being noticed by a talent scout, Calcutt joined Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity in 2005. She performs at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. She participates in four clown routines in the show — all of which she has co-written.
In Zumanity, a show aimed at adult audiences, Calcutt does routines about sex toys and a dance club. She and a clown partner also do an act called Vegas Hookup, in which male and female audience members are invited to jump onto a bed and pretend to engage in sex.
“Silly string shoots up, so it’s like they’ve had a big orgasm,” she said.
Her other Cirque bit is culled directly from Out of My Skin, one of her old solo shows. In the routine, a satirical comment on societal attitudes toward women, Calcutt’s character wants breast implants. She makes them out of sandwich baggies, and then fills them with scotch (actually tea) in case her date requires a cocktail.
For this part of Zumanity, she is topless. Elsewhere, she’s required to perform in the nude. Performing sans clothes doesn’t bother Calcutt. But she admits it can be daunting to appear with acrobats possessing the bodies of “Olympic athletes.”
“You have to own it,” she said. “You can’t think about it. I just tell myself I’m here to show my flaws. I’m the clown.”
Originally from Indian Head, Sask., Calcutt is married with a daughter and a son. Her “show-must-go-on-attitude” was apparent when she was required to return to the stage three months after giving birth to each of her children.
“That was intense. I was nursing, so you’re pumping [breast milk] in the dressing room,” she said. “And then you’re naked 12 weeks after you’ve had a child. You’re at your most vulnerable.”
As for those creepy clowns, well, Calcutt isn’t worried they’ve damaged the reputation of a time-honoured art form. She says being a professional clown was never an easy career path. In any case, she’s proud to be a member of the tribe.
“The clown reminds us, get over yourself, you’re just human … we’re all equal,” Calcutt said with a smile.
© Copyright Times Colonist - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/uvic-grad-a-proud-member-of-the-clown-tribe-1.2374449#sthash.JLaOkcr0.dpuf
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