BrouHaHa arose out of our ensemble’s desire to make a six person “clown” piece that would be superbly tourable. No set. One costume and one suitcase per performer.
This summer is Fringe’s 10th Anniversary and Happenstance Theater started at the first Fringe in 2006, so we also liked the idea of premiering this very Fringe-y show at the festival, as a sort of return-to-our-roots.
We started the development process with an intensive clown workshop with a teacher/director from Philadelphia, Emmanuelle Delpech. All we knew about the theme was that we wanted to place these clowns at the end-of-the-world. What could be more theatrical than apocalypse?
In the workshop we discovered our statuses and roles and we began to generate material. In our research for inspiration we referred to several films including Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Fellini’s La Strada, and we also thought about Samuel Beckett, Pina Bausch, and looked at lots of images of refugees and immigrants walking only with what they could carry before fleeing, and butterfly collections pinned under glass.
We have been learning how hard it is to make a “pure clown” piece. Especially with six characters! Pure clown needs a very simple premise. The clowns will make it plenty complicated and intricate with their incessant incompetence and distraction.
We have also learned that we cannot escape precision. We just love moments of elegance even in the midst of messiness and chaos. Ultimately, we have created a piece that is Clownesque. It has the recognizable qualities of a Happenstance show, but we have all pushed ourselves to amplify in new ways, and have built in extra room to play.
When the performance is over we hope the audience feels like they have been on a journey, their imaginations have been sparked and their hearts engaged. We hope that people will leave nourished and will want to see us again.
Sabrina Mandell spent several years working on traditionally rigged schooners, sailing up and down the East coast of the United States. She stopped for a spell in Charleston SC to study Art History. Sabrina is the founder and Artistic Co-director of Happenstance Theater. She has written, produced and performed prolifically since the company’s founding in 2006. As the company’s manager she has secured grant support and as the costume designer she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Cabaret Macabre. Sabrina performs regularly with the Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care Program in DC and Baltimore. She has also taught Theatrical Clown and Physical Comedy at the Shakespeare Theatre, Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, Round House Theatre, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Sabrina is also a visual artist and poet. http://www.SabrinaSelmaMandell.com
July 9 — Aug 2, 2015
BrouHaHa at Sprenger, Atlas Performing Arts Center
starting July 14
Capital Fringe 2015
1358-60 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
and other locations
Details and Tickets