Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Four Clowns: Noah & Jonah (Blog #1 by Jeremy Aluma)

The journey of bringing adaptations of Noah & Jonah with our company Four Clowns to the Annenberg Beach Community House started many years ago. As a young Jewish boy, I was taught the Old Testament as a book of lessons or parables. They were guiding stories of humanity and man's relationship to God. What I appreciated most about them is the same kernel of wisdom scholars love about Shakespeare; no one is purely good or purely evil, and the key to a person's character is their motivation. I've been struck by these types of stories my whole life, stories of good people making hard choices, or stories of what makes us perceive people as evil. 

As a theater director, I've been wanting to work on these stories for over a decade, they've been rolling around in my head waiting to come to fruition. About 6 years ago, I started discussing it with another theater company I founded in Long Beach, but we felt we weren't ready for the undertaking. Then about 2 years ago, one of the members of Four Clowns made the suggestion of doing the stories with our company. I actually hadn't previously thought of them as ripe for clowning, I thought they were too epic and too sacred for the shenanigans of our company.

But when I brought it up with the rest of our company, and specifically David Bridel, we realized what a fantastic creation it could be. What better way to tell the earliest stories of humanity than through the heart of a clown. A clown is in touch with exactly how he is feeling, but is free to share it with the audience. A clown is not bogged down in philosophy, she is reactionary. And a clown can make anything funny.

So about 1.5 years ago, David Bridel and I started working with our company on stories from the Old Testament. About twice a month we would get the company together and just play with the stories. It was some of the funniest and poignant material we ever worked on. We continued to play with it for about a year and then felt ready to start pitching it to programs around the country.

The Annenberg Beach Community House seemed a perfect fit for two of the stories we most enjoyed dabbling in, Noah & Jonah. They both have such a strong relationship to the ocean, and both are such full and vivid tales. This is the first opportunity we have to present our adaptations of the Old Testament but future collaborations include going to Brazil to work on Abraham & Isaac at the Stanislavsky Institute, and we're waiting to hear back from a few more applications.

We couldn't be more proud and excited to offer these first two stories in what will ultimately be a many yeared journey for our company.
- Jeremy Aluma
Four Clowns Artistic Director
Co-Director of Jonah


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