As Experienced at the La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 WOW Festival
The Show & How it Works:
One clown isolated in a bubble works to connect with the audience… and succeeds.
Why it’s Interesting, IMHO:
Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage,” but most of the world doesn’t broadcast that a show is going to take place there later. Pierrot’s bubble was set up on the grass from the start of the festival to the end and, during daylight hours, did nothing but pique the curiosity of passersby.
“What d’ya think THIS is for?”
Initial Impression & Critical Discussion:
From the start, this show was very cool. He drew a lifesize self-portrait on his bubble and then started recruiting “models” from the audience “on the other side” and drew lifesize portraits of them as well. It’s rare to see this light board technique on stage, though La Bulle may be part of a burgeoning trend, as it was just used in The Lehman Trilogy at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
The show definitely had a classic mime feel and, yet, somehow the bubble added something—or perhaps it took away the awkwardness of the mime feeling in another world, one apparently silent and colorless. The bubble leant that imaginary world of the mime shape—and confines. It made sense that we couldn’t hear him and he didn’t speak. And inside the bubble, everything was white, not just the mime.
And in fact this white world leant itself well to excellent stagecraft. In the wedding scene, he tossed white rose petals into the air. They remained on the ground and, in a following scene—one accompanied by Christmas music—Pierrot the clown took a leaf blower and, aiming at the petals, turned is bubble into a real live snow globe. The kids in the audience couldn’t contain themselves.
It’s worth noting that the music also added a welcome element that drowned out the silence. While the show was sparse, the elements it did incorporate were used well. Some props were already mentioned; additionally, a fog machine in the final scene provided a truly unique curtain to close out the show.
Experiential Viewpoint Expression (E.V.E.):
Disembodied, 3rd person visual, 2nd person narrative, participant, mortal.
Who Should See This?
Families and kids. As mentioned, when La Bulle started to snowblow the white rose petals, they went WILD. Between that and the drawing and the audience interaction, it is very family friendly, with enough sophistication for the adults to appreciate it as well.