Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Clown Fest Interview - Julie Goell of Carmen the Mopera

By Byrne Harrison
Photos by Steve DiBartolomeo

Name: Julie Goell
Show: Carmen the Mopera
Relationship to show: Performer

What inspired you to create Carmen the Mopera?

My writing collaborator on the project, Mark Ross, proposed the basic concept of a person with a hum-drum job who reveals a fantastic inner life in the privacy of four walls. I had been looking to do a clownesque treatment of a well-known opera heroine, singing being my only skill. I am hopeless at juggling, balancing, magic and that sort of thing. Our two visions merged over time into one mopera, with Bizet's Carmen as its center piece.

What is your clowning background?

I started as a mime in Boston (Pocket Mime Theater), but soon gravitated toward clowning. Once I opened my mouth, I never shut it again. This transformation of mediums occurred while doing my street act in Piazza Navona in Rome, where mime didn't really fill the space enough. I was making a bit of a name as "Il Clown di Piazza Navona" and the daily exposure gave me lots of visibility, enabled me to pay off my college loans in 100 lire pieces, and led to nine working years in Europe, clowning with La Compagnia i Gesti and with the Schaubude Circus, as well as teaching at Teatro Studio, Rome's equivalent of the Celebration Barn. It also led to TV and film work. Between touring I moonlighted as a singer in a Big Band and other jazz ensembles.

What would you tell someone who is afraid of clowns to get them to come to your show?

If you hate clowns or opera you might enjoy Mopera.

What is next for you after the New York Clown Theatre Festival?

I'm in the final stages of developing and directing a large puppet play in Boston, based on a native creation myth of the Tagish People of the Canadian Northwest. It's called Star Sisters.

The Eccentric Company
Peaks Island, ME

NY Clown Theatre Festival
The Brick Theatre
575 Metropolitan Ave.

Monday, September 20th @ 7pm
Thursday, September 23rd @ 8:30pm
Saturday, September 25th @ 8pm

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