Six Figures Theatre Company's Clowning the Bard, which runs at the second annual New York International Fringe Festival Aug. 22-30, has something in common with previous Shakespeare spoofs. Like The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkpr (Abridged) and other like-minded comedy productions, Bard comically condenses Bill's greatest works, dispatching King Lear in under three minutes, Othello in one.
One thing Bard has that those shows don't, however, is Dick Monday, a performer who truly puts the clown in Clowning. Monday has worked the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and was the founder, artistic director and "producing clown" for the L.A. Circus. He was also half, with Peter Pitofsky, of MADhattan, the signature production of the New York, New York Hotel & Casino, the Las Vegas entertainment palace that apes Manhattan in everything but grit.
Monday and cohorts will get a crack at the real New York Aug. 22-30, when they take up residence at the Recital Hall at the Henry Street Settlement (466 Grand St.). Bard is directed by Monday, Tiffany Riley, Julie Hamberg and Linda Ames Key. Key worked behind the scenes on such Bill Irwin pieces as Full Moon and Largely New York, and some of Irwin's "new vaudeville" technique has been incorporated into the Six Figures piece.
Clowning the Bard will be performed on Aug. 22 at 11 PM; Aug. 24 at 9:45 PM; Aug. 25 at 9 PM; Aug. 27 at 3:30 PM; Aug. 28 at 8:30 PM; Aug. 29 at 12:15 PM; and Aug. 30 at 4 PM. For information, call 1-888 FRINGENYC.
-- By Robert Simonson