500 Clown is a Chicago-based ensemble that use circus arts, extreme acrobatics and on the spot improv to tell their stories, celebrating, according to their avowed mission, “the unpredictable power of the moment”.
The troupe’s renegade re-imagining of Frankenstein has its performers struggling with ungainly period costumes as they recklessly build the laboratory set, literally riding a large, heavy, limb-threatening wooden table that slides open, snaps shut and gets thrown and tumbled about. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the craziness “will have you laughing and holding your breath at the same time”.
In a sudden twist that conjugates comedy with tragedy, according to the program notes, “Comic mayhem takes a sharp turn to a devastating climax when one clown is forced to play the role of the creature and suffer abuse and abandonment. The result is the creation of unexpected horror.”
500 Clown Frankenstein was conceived and performed by Molly Brennan, Adrian Danzig and Paul Kalina, with the collaboration of director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig. The troupe also performs a variation on Macbeth, and a demented Christmas show.
The 500 Clown website has lots of info, photos and reviews.