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Thursday, May 12, 2011

500 Clown Trapped (theatre review)

Hey, kids!

Do you like to laugh? To be scared? To contemplate empirical epistemology via social constructivism? I may have found the all-ages show you’ve been searching for.

To be sure, 500 Clown Trapped will dose you with enough wackiness, zaniness, and tomfoolery to keep even the sickliest ten-year-old buzzing around the house like a humming bird after a trip to the sugar globe. And if you kids love that sort of thing, boy are you in luck. Booger. But if you’ve been looking for a show to stoke your love of bleary-eyed nights spent awake in rigid contemplation, look no further. I’m sorry, munchkins, but unless you have a James Frederick Ferrier action figure in your toy chest, this show is going to go way over your head.


We meet our clowning friends, Adrian Danzig, Timothy Heck, and Leah Urzendowski as they are preparing a celebration of music and love. Our beloved trio enters through the audience banging drums, cymbals and each other. However, due to an “oversight” by “stage management” a massive white platform has been left onstage. Despite the clearly placed caution-tape, the clowns—full of whimsy and wonder—venture on to the stage with their instruments and are promptly trapped in a rather flimsy “cage.” Over the next sixty minutes, we watch these three hilariously attempt to escape the easiest trap imaginable via the most complicated solutions ever conceived. It is absolutely hilarious, but pause for a moment, children and ask yourself, “Why am I laughing?”


Your standard teleological argument could steer you away from modern tendencies towards belief in self-determinism. And you can retreat into that trope if you need to feel safe at night. You can say, “Some outside force has captured our heroes and is holding them against their will!” But what 500 Clown Trapped investigates so thoroughly, children, is the truth that you—in fact—trap yourself. And worse than that, you do it because you like it. And even worse than that: You do it better with friends.

Now go upstairs and do your homework.

500 Clown Trapped: A

-John Taflan

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