Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Editor-in-Chief: Los Angeles’ premier clown troupe, Four Clowns, will soon be premiering the show, Lunatics & Actors at The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. How did you first become involved with Four Clowns?
Alexis Jones: In 2010 I was taking classes at The Clown School, and Jeremy Aluma came into class to look for people to audition for a clown show he was putting on for the inaugural Hollywood Fringe. The show was the original Four Clowns show. I auditioned and got the part of Sad Clown. A couple of years later, the company formally formed and the rest, as they say, is history.
Andrew Eldredge: This is my very first involvement with Four Clowns. I've never even seen a show! I heard about the audition through a Four Clowns announcement on one of their social media outlets. I had been curious about their work for a little while, so I jumped at the opportunity to work with them.
BD: What initially intrigued you about Lunatics & Actors and motivated you to participate in the performance?
AJ: The concept of a mad scientist manipulating emotion via electro-shock therapy was very interesting to me. Also, when David Bridel told us about the lunatics and their experience with the doctor, it seemed like a super fun role to be able to explore.
AE: I come from a clown background and am pretty new to L.A. I've had some friends perform with Four Clowns and talk highly of their experience with the group. It was a comedic pocket in the city that I've been wanting to explore. When I read the script, I loved the presentational aspect of the show. I enjoy performing directly with the audience, and this show allows for that while telling a larger story. Plus, my character Pepe is a mad man, and I needed me some intensity. There is a buffoon aspect to this show and my character, and I enjoy confronting people with a wicked smile.
BD: How would you describe the format of the show for readers who may not have attended a previous Four Clowns performance?
AJ: This show is a very "classic" Four Clowns experience. Yes, we are putting on a show, but for us the audience is very much a part of the show. This show has a symbiotic relationship with the audience; we do not exist without them and they are able to, to a certain extent, instruct us as to what they would like to experience.
AE: Well, there is no fourth wall. I have never seen another Four Clowns show, so I can't speak to their typically aesthetic, but this show is a darker comedy. The show is based on a presentation that the main character gives. It happens directly for and to the audience. So, it's a show within a show. Kind of meta. It's funny. Relax. Go and see it.
BD: You have quite a talented cast and crew involved with the production, including playwright David Bridel who is the current Interim Dean of USC’s School of Dramatic Arts. What can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing Lunatics & Actors to life?
AJ: The experience of creating this show was unique in that all of the cast had a hand in sculpting the final outcome. We would try things out, then David Bridel would pick from what we had done and would write it into the script. There are parts that the cast didn't have as much to do, with like Ducenne’s monologues and such. It was much more of a collaborative effort then just being handed a script and being told to just stay in our actor lane.
AE: Hmm, good question. My experience has primarily been with the other actors and the director, Jeremy Aluma. Our rehearsal process has been collaborative as a group. Not much was set in stone prior to rehearsal. So, we've got to explore a variety of possibilities in bringing this thing into life. Then, we get to enjoy the fruits of labor from the larger production team. David Bridel has been present at some of our rehearsals and is in communication with the director. It's an original show, so it's all hands on deck.
BD: The show will be running from April 29 through May 28, 2016. What is the best way for our readers to garner tickets for the show?
AJ: They can go to the website or the ticketing page.
BD: Are there any other upcoming shows or projects that you would care to share with our readers?
AJ: My husband and I are trying to have a baby, so if the sex goes well, I'll let you know.
AE: I hear the presidential election is supposed to be good. Real scary.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Lunatics & Actors, as well as Four Clowns?
AJ: I think the only real way to get to know this Lunatics & Actors (and our company as a whole) is to come to the show and have your own experience with it. The cool thing about this show is that it's not over just because we have stopped performing. This show lives on through discussion long after the lights have been turned off and the props have been put away. The entire cast will be around after the show to discuss and explore people's feelings and reactions. Come to the show, hang out afterwards, and let’s see where the evening takes us. If you have a dog, Andrew will buy you a drink… and then steal your dog.
AE: I would just say come and see it. It's unlike most other things being performed right now. It's clown-esque, not exactly clown. It's absurd and surreal and very relevant for any creative person.