These clowns aren’t clowning around

These clowns aren’t clowning around
Photo by Neil Muscott

Who would have thought that actors with red noses were meant for the silver screen?

The nation’s only clown theater festival is returning to Williamsburg next month — and this year it boasts a “clown-sourced” silent film.

Clown troupes from around the world filmed simple scenes inspired by prompts such as “find a banana” or “fall down” using an iPhone app with a jerky hand-cranked camera aesthetic and edited the footage into one collaborative piece accompanied by piano for inclusion in the New York Clown Theatre Festival at Brick Theater in Williamsburg.

“There’s a broad range of tradition and interpretation,” said organizer Audrey Crabtree. “It’s an emotional journey.”

Other cinematic displays at the festival include a clown interpretation of the Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” — a rendition in which a nomadic traveler strikes up a relationship with a pig.

Don’t expect all of them to look like Bozo: some performers use the classic red nose; others don’t.

And they all consider their craft a true form of art, Crabtree said.

“These actors express vulnerability and true emotions,” she said. “Most people think about birthday parties or circuses when they think about clowning — but we don’t do any of that.”

New York Clown Theatre Festival at the Brick [575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907–6189], Sept. 7–30. $15.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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