I think this is a question worth posing due to a recent clown encounter I had while watching Cirque de Soleil’s Allegria on Saturday. As you might imagine, whilst the rest of the show was truly brilliant, and culminated spectacularly with some insane trapezing. But the clowns – they verged on irritating.
If perhaps I’d bought the programme I might have discovered that Alegría is a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show, whose name means “jubilation” in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth—it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings’ fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it.
Jeepers. So that was it. The clowns are cleverly resisting the passing of time and the social transformations. How did I not get that? OK, I think I’ve got it – because the clowns are boring, time seems to pass really slowly while they’re playing Laurel and Hardy and thus they’re resisting the passing of time. Genius.
I don’t get it though. I didn’t realise it was about power. Power and jubilation. Right.