By Byrne Harrison
Photos by Jen Petrashock
Name: Matt Mitler
Show: Cirkus Luna!
Relationship to show: Director/Performer/Creator
Tell me a little bit about your show.
Cirkus Luna is the best East Molvanian circus in the world. It's also the only East Molvanian circus in the world. There is nothing this family troupe does that comes even remotely close to demonstrating skill. So, the audience becomes tantamount in creating some semblance of a performance. Dzieci uses team building and trust techniques under the guise of inspired idiocy to create community between themselves and their audience. For Cirkus Luna, this audience is most often children with severe disabilities, but has also on occasion included late night revelers in NYC nightclubs.
What inspired you to create it?
The original inspiration was a completely inept one ring Bulgarian family circus that I saw when I was living in Poland in 1977. At one point, they brought out a small wooden circular stage and the daughter of the family got up on it and did a really bad tap dance. The finale was a farm animal act; all the goats got loose, and it took them 20 minutes to round them back up. The performers were very good at posing and shouting, "Hey!" We've made that a big part of Cirkus Luna!
What is your clowning background?
Clown, and comedy in general, is like music to me. There are rhythms and beats. But the challenge here, is to instill in my actors a sense of this timing. For Cirkus Luna, the comedy is one of humiliation, so we work be acutely vulnerable. A valuable effort no matter what kind of theatre we're after.
What would you tell someone who is afraid of clowns to get them to come to your show?
Don't worry, the clowns are more afraid of you.
What is next for you after the New York Clown Theatre Festival?
The very next week, we make our first tour to Toronto, where we're presenting our signature piece, Fools Mass, and our gypsy, chamber version of Macbeth, Makbet. Neither of which are clown pieces. It's good to explore range.
Theatre Group Dzieci
New York, NY
NY Clown Theatre Festival
The Brick Theatre
575 Metropolitan Ave.
Friday, September 10th @ 7pm
Tuesday, September 14th @ 7pm
Wednesday, September 15th @ 9pm