Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Clown Fest Interview - Olivia Lehrman of Ms. Pretty Smart, Secret Agent

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Olivia Lehrman
Show: Ms. Pretty Smart, Secret Agent
Relationship to show: Creator/Performer

Tell me a little bit about your show and what inspired you to create it.

I play a waitress who longs for any life other than her current one. So she takes a job in Chinese restaurant because her heroine, Secret Agent Gal, doubles as a waitress. In the restaurant, the waitress creates a mission for herself and the audience, finding other agents in the theatre, doling out fortune cookies and realizing that sometimes adventure can be found in your own clogged toilets.

This is my first foray into a full-length clown theatre piece. Normally accustomed to leaping off trapeze platforms 40 ft in the air for Ringling Bros, and sliding down circus fabrics at 30 miles an hour for local Cirque Boom, clowning is a much bigger challenge than all the acrobatic work I've done.

This show in particular, honestly, was inspired by a coat I bought at a drag queen's boutique! And I really like sneaking around.

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

HA! Well, it IS the clown THEATRE festival, and in many ways, the theatre aspect outweighs the clown flavor. Think of Shakespeare's clowns; in this kind of theatre setting, we are striving to get closer to the regular joes with whom we can all relate, who might help reveal something about ourselves. And I won't wear a wig or big shoes. There may, however, be polka dots involved.

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

I was just accepted into Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Uptown/Downtown performance program to develop pieces of the Secret Agent show. I also teach flying trapeze to adults and acrobatics and physical comedy in afterschool programs. Hopefully this winter I will re-join Cirque Boom co-creators to develop a new show, "We'd Rather Be Shucking!"

Olivia Lehrman
New York, NY

NY Clown Theatre Festival
The Brick Theatre
575 Metropolitan Ave.

Sunday, September 5th @ 5pm
Monday, September 6th @ 8pm
Tuesday, September 7th @ 9pm
Saturday, September 11th @ 8pm
Sunday, September 12th @ 7pm

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