A Thousand Clowns at the Intiman

If you suffer from coulrophobia (an exaggerated fear of clowns), that does not mean that you need to avoid Intiman Theatre’s current production of A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner. There aren’t actually 1,000 clowns (much to the relief of the costume department! How many shades of plaid and polka dots can you even find!?). There is one, cardboard cutout of a clown, but you can easily avert your eyes until the danger has passed. The good news is that even without clowns, the play remains laugh-out-loud funny!

The play is set during the early 1960s when America was standing at a cultural crossroads. On the one hand, there were the traditional ideas of the nuclear family with 2.5 kids, a picket fence and a reliable station wagon. The challenger to these ideals came in the form of the free-spirited 60's which attempted to turn all conventions on their side. This push-and-pull dynamic is embodied in Murray Burns (played with perfect comedic timing by Matthew Boston). Burns is described as “not being a person, but an experience.” He refuses to find a job, loves randomly yelling out his apartment window, but also summons enough responsibility to raise his parentless nephew. 

There are some very serious and thought-provoking themes regarding individuality versus public responsibility, but the play addresses these issues with humor. How can a play not be hilarious when it incorporates ukeleles and a dancing hula doll with lighted breasts?!?!   Even better, you can laugh your way all the way to the bank since tickets for the Tuesday, June 16 performance are only $25! Catch it before it closes entirely on June 17.

-Deanna Duff