Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Clown Fest Interview - Sabrina Mandell of Diz and Izzy Aster: Vaudeville's Late Bloomers

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Paul Gillis

Name: Sabrina Mandell
Show: Diz and Izzy Aster : Vaudeville's Late Bloomers
Relationship to show: co-Performer/co-Creator

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Diz and Izzy Aster are a married couple, classic Vaudeville song-and-dance duo, who bring their baggage to the stage in harmonies from Between-the-Wars and cheery songs of the Great Depression. Slapstick comedy, ukulele and musical saw in a sweet little music hall show.

What inspired you to create it?

We were working with a great clown director, Ami Hattab, on one of our other shows and began to discover the humor in our husband and wife relationship dynamic. We were then invited to perform for a cabaret night and thought to develop these dynamics into characters. Diz and Izzy were born. We explore a variety of material through the classic Auguste and White Clown lenses. We are also both (Mark Jaster and myself) in love with the late 19th and early 20th Century so have chosen Vaudeville as our vehicle.

What is your clowning background?

We are both clowns with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Program. Mark has been performing 3 solo, mute, clown shows for over 30 years and I have been using clown as a performance and devising tool in the development and production of our company's work.

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

We don't look like "clowns". There are no red noses in our show. No white face make-up. No wigs. And we won't embarrass or harass you.

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

We are in the throes of a 9-week run of 2 shows at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD (which is, sadly, why we can only do 2 performances at the NY Clown Theatre Fest), and then we open an Edward Gorey-esque, Halloween show called Cabaret Macabre at the end of October at the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Visit us at for what lies beyond.

Happenstance Theater
Rockville, MD

NY Clown Theatre Festival
The Brick Theatre
575 Metropolitan Ave.

Tuesday, September 7th @ 7pm

Thursday, September 9th @ 7pm

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