Not All Clowns Are Bozos

Some people love clowns. Some fear them, a condition known as coulrophobia. (“That’s because most people first encounter them as huge men with white faces and polka dots who demand that children be happy,” explains clown performer Valerie Moseley.) And some of us just don’t get them—I’ve always viewed clowns as a different culture, like aboriginal hunters or Goths, with interesting but not actually amusing rituals. To help us work through our clown prejudices, Ear to the Ground Productions is presenting Not All Clowns Are Bozos (through Sat.), a clown performance showcase co-curated by Moseley and fellow clown Cecelia Frye. Featured are Portland performers Sarah Liane Foster and Jack StockLynn, dancer Jenna Bean Veatch, soloist Linda Severt, and the Hammerheads duo. So what should those of us who just don’t get clowns look for past the red noses and pratfalls? “When the clowns are on stage, there’s no fourth wall,” says Moseley. “When we see the classic slip on the banana peel, what’s funny is not the accident itself, but the clown’s embarrassment that we saw it.” Ah-ha! It turns out that we aren’t laughing with them, but at them! Well heck, I can do that. JOHN LONGENBAUGH

Thu., Jan. 15, 8 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 17, 8 p.m., 2009

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