Last night, we went to SOS: A Summer Clown Cruise in Humboldt Park. The circus was a collaboration with El Circo National de Puerto Rico and Theater Oobleck. Still nothing like picnicking in the summer and watching wonderful free entertainment.
It was a wonderfully charming show. The basic premise of the show was that we were on a cruise ship that has been adrift for 39 days. There was a mild sense of desperation in the characters that ran through the show. It was the right amount without it being overwhelming. There were acrobatics, juggling, Diablo, storytelling, and delightful clowning. There was even a small band to accompany the show. There was limited aerial work since we were in the middle of the park. But it was totally worth it.
My favorite part was a story told by one of the crew, Chicago’s own Jay Torrence. He had a wooden apparatus that had painted sheets hanging off of it. He began by telling us all the things we should not do, like eat sea birds or say certain things on a ship. As he talked about various things and actions, he would flip to a painted sheet depicting that thing or action. For instance, he talked about how we had to beware evil monsters hiding in the ocean. As he talked about it, he flipped to a sheet with wonderfully grotesque monsters. Or later on, he talked about riding a Pegasus. Not only did he flip to a painting of a Pegasus, he began riding the wooden apparatus like a wooden horse. There was a touch of weirdness from Welcome to Night Vale. It was brilliant.
The acrobatics were pretty neat. One of the tricks that really impressed me was when one clown was lying on the ground holding the other clown upright with his hands. Slowly but surely, the prostate clown managed to get up to a standing position while still balancing the other clown. It’s such a neat trick! They also brought out a stick suspended between two ladders. Another story was told about the carnival on the cruise while clowns crawled, hung, and walked all across this apparatus.
Before the show, as we were picnicking, the clowns came into the audience to cause mischief. At one point, one of the clowns grabbed our tray of watermelon and ran off with it. Naturally, my fiancé took after her and eventually the clown stopped…by giving it to another couple. It was kinda amazing.
And I have a particular fondness for the park of Humboldt Park. It’s fairly extensive park with lovely gardens, some picturesque lakes, and interesting buildings. I’ve only been there a few times but it’s always worth going.
There is another show tonight at 7pm. It’s well worth checking out!