Those of you curious about (what my Granny would call) “street people,” should come join Spatz in One Clown’s Trash.
Dressed in drabs, with a red nose, Spatz is a hobo clown: not to be confused with a “homeless,” Spatz chooses to be on the street, surviving on other people’s trash. Whether it is a water-collecting container or a mid-day snack, Spatz’s livelihood relies on our wastefulness. Performed by U of A’s Lisa Dawn Daniels (U of A BA Drama alumna), Spatz is a resourceful and loveable hobo.
Daniels is very receptive to her audience, falling within the tradition of Pochinko clown. Founded by Richard Pochinko, this style of clown combines the French clown tradition with the First Nations/Native American medicine wheel. The medicine wheel can be described as an awareness of the “six directions”: north, east, south, west, above-above, and below-below. These directions influence our emotions and impulses, which sit at the core of every Pochinko clown. The mask that harnesses the power of the six directions is the red nose of the clown.
Influenced by their own impulses, as well as the impulses from the audience, Pochinko clowns have a skill of generating new opportunities for spectator-performer connection. Daniels has a keen sense of comedic timing, whether it’s following her impulses to have audience members follow instructions perfectly or ensuring that everything is prim and proper.
The show’s technical elements acted as the other characters at times: whenever Spatz performed the ritual of throwing a piece of garbage away, the waste container came to life with its roar, as red lights flooded the stage ominously.
If you are looking for plot, I would not recommend this show. Clown shows tend to be written in one of three ways: plot-driven, spectacle-based, or moment-to-moment. Spatz takes audiences through a typical day, which is not burdened with conflict. Rather, Spatz lives moment to moment, from eating garbage cake to hosting a funeral for a sock.
She may be low on resources, but her charm and creativity will make you laugh.