Our Shows

500 Clown Trapped at Adventure Stage

First produced in 2011 at Adventure Stage Chicago

500 Clown Trapped was developed in the period after the original ensemble stopped performing together.  We brought Tim Heck into our ranks through our first audition since Molly had joined the company.  Tom Arvetis at Adventure Stage lent us his superior insight into making shows for young audiences. Paolo Coletto directed the first version, and the show was created from  a fairly complete idea that existed prior to the rehearsal process.  We were trying to develop a process which was financially feasible outside of working as unpaid ensemble members until the show was running.  We had huge support from Brian Jose and Brooke Horejsi at The College of St. Benedicts / St John’s University in Minnesota where we built and premiered the show. 

After we made the show in a post-mortem for the process, Brian and Brooke gave us the feedback that we had spent too much of our time there working, and not enough in contemplative practice.  If we worked together in the future, we would have to change that formula.  It was one of the most astounding gifts – to be told that the work had to be made in a more balanced and sustainable way.  There is a pottery studio on the campus that has been designed to last 300 years.  We are so lucky to have had partners of this quality and vision.

Mark Messing of Mucca Pazza came in to our rehearsals to clean up our rag tag drumming.  Billy Jonas gave us his “Ankle Rockets” to use.  One of the moments I will never forget was the first audience of three hundred 2nd graders who erupted into the most irreverent and chaotic noise that held in it the raw power of The Ocean. It lasted so long that Tim and I went from being frozen on stage to having a full TOP OF OUR LUNGS conversation onstage about how long we should hold for and how we might possibly get some kind of control back from the amazing audience.  500 Clown had finally met children where they lived.  People from the administrative offices ran upstairs to the theater, fearing that some tragic accident had happened, seasoned teachers eye-rolled us from their seats.  It was glorious! (Adrian writing here)

"...The essentials are still there: three performers...confront an overwhelming physical obstacle (a huge, cage-like device that swallows things, including them) and employ a brilliant array of Keatonesque solutions to overcome their problem. This time, however, there's none of the more risque comedy of previous shows. The result is both wholesome and hilarious."

- Chicago Reader


500 Clown's 2011 Premiere at Adventure Stage Chicago

Our 2012 tour to MASSMoCA after a second rehearsal process.

Press Clippings

  • "Chicago Stage Review- Highly Recommended ...This is a wonderful show for all to see. Although there were more 8-10 year olds than 12-16 year olds in attendance, 500 Clown Trapped is definitely worth seeing for children of ALL AGES. Taking children and young adults to the theater is always a brilliant proposition. It expands their perspectives and engages them on an immediate visceral and interactive level. 500 Clown Trapped pushes that experience over the cliff and alters the theatrical paradigm, not just presenting a staged story but also relocating the audience to a place where being trapped means looking outside of the box and exploring ideas they may have never considered. Don’t miss this fabulous adventure into imagination!"

    - Chicago Stage Review

  • "...500 Clown Trapped is the first collaboration between the city’s premier clown company and one of its largest children’s theaters, and hopefully it’s the start of a fruitful relationship between the two. 500 Clown’s history with more adult material makes their approach to children’s theatre one free of condescension, perfect for parents looking for a fun night of family-friendly theater. It may be light on plot, but the 500 Clown gang definitely brings the laughs, and Trapped is a joyful show for the kid in all of us."

    - Chicago Theater Beat