Set in Madame Claudette’s Shadow Circus of 1915, this stirring play follows the life of a foundling infant who grew up to be known as the “Prince of Clowns.” Alfie’s life is narrated by the Bearded Lady, who offers us an insightful philosophy of life. Meet dynamic characters such as the Fortune Teller, Madame Claudette herself, and the refined young woman, Nedda, who is running away from a dark past. Nedda and Alfie become a popular circus act and live peacefully. However, Alfie’s family is threatened ten years later by the villainous mobster Olympia. Nedda’s past and future collide, and she must decide to return to the mob—in exchange for the safety of her daughter, Calliope. This tale provides powerful and dynamic acting roles for all actors. For the designer, there are a myriad of possibilities in creating a “shadow circus of freaks” from the early 20th century. Running time: 50 minutes.
With Nelly E. Cuellar-Garcia
What inspired you to write this play?
I have always loved opera, and one day I was watching "Pagliacci" on PBS and was inspired to create a tale about a clown with the pathos of the opera and the heart of Hugo's Quasimodo.
What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
"Life never turns out the way you expect it to. Does it?" We are taught from a very young age to dust off ourselves when we fail and rise up and try again, and sometimes, we spent our whole life railing against our tribulations, and then life reaches a point where you look back at what you've done or left undone, and think to yourself has my life measured up to what I expected for myself... it is at that point that you find your truth.
Where did the characters come from?
The characters are based solely on my imagination.
What did you try to achieve with this play?
Universal truth; we are all looking for a place to call home and people to call family; we all want to have a purpose in life and meaning for our life, and we want to be accepted for who and what we are without reservation.
Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
This play has many facets and levels to explore in characterization, design, and direction. It is a beautiful show to explore.