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Clowning Around 

Life with Bozo, in the company of professional eccentric Sara Moore

Wednesday, Nov 6 2002
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We've all fantasized about running away and joining the circus, never having to grow up or get a suit-and-tie job. But how many people have actually done just that? Sara Moore has, and she tells all in Show Ho, a solo performance in which she embodies more than 20 characters -- and I do mean characters.

A semi-autobiographical account of Moore's time spent under various big tops, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's, the unconventional piece follows Rhonda Hammerstein, a dorky outcast from Hell's Kitchenette, who discovers that the only place she truly belongs is in the ring with other oddballs. Rhonda finds kinship with clowns, a flying trapeze troupe, plate spinners, illusionists -- even Tasty St. Claire, whose act involves shredded seat covers and mannequins. Ginger Nietzsche, a boisterous, spandex-clad booking agent, suggests that Rhonda do bar mitzvahs between circus gigs; another gag features the circus owner, a failed Southern princess. In this deranged atmosphere, Rhonda not only comes of age, but also comes out and finds love. Even death appears in this otherwise goofy setting, as AIDS devastates the circus community in the late 1980s.

Moore's well-rounded portrayal of life with Bozo proves that talented clowns don't merely make us laugh with their pie-throwing, pratfalling antics; they also reveal a darker side of the human condition. To laugh at them is to laugh at ourselves. And who better to hold a mirror up to our misfit side than Moore? Her recent acting résumé is a laundry list of eccentrics: She appeared in Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same and originated the role of Valerie "I Shot Andy Warhol" Solanas in Solanas' lost play, Up Your Ass. Maybe we'll discover that we have more in common with Rhonda than we imagined.

About The Author

Karen McKevitt

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