New Millenium clown Bill Irwin ends his San Francisco run in Samuel Beckett's Texts for Nothing July 15, but he won't be leaving the City by the Bay. Instead, his vaudevillian companion David Shiner will join him July 20-Aug. 12 for a return engagement of Fool Moon at the American Conservatory Theatre.
Texts for Nothing, written in the 1950's at the same time as Waiting for Godot, finds one of Beckett's familiar tramps dissecting the universe even as he negotiates a steep and slippery slope. Irwin's work takes four sections — numbers 1, 4, 9 and 13 — out of Beckett's 13 piece prose work. Texts for Nothing was first performed in Sept. Oct., 2000 at New York City's Classic Stage Company.
Irwin was last seen at ACT in Fool Moon back in 1998, although he began his performance career as a fire-eater, mime and comedian in San Francisco in the 1970's. His past Beckett experience includes playing Lucky in the Robin Williams-Steve Martin Godot at Lincoln Center.
American Conservatory Theatre's Geary Theater is located at 415 Geary Street. For reservations, call (415) 749-2250. American Conservatory Theatre is on the web at www.act-sfbay.org.
* In Fool Moon, Irwin plays his sweetly mischievous persona off Shiner's more astringent one. Some of their routines incorporate music by the bluegrass band Red Clay Ramblers, who also perform solo during the show. The ACT press release promises the "grand masters of physical comedy will literally climb the walls of the Geary Theatre, turn audience members into performers, wrangle with everything from microphone cords to the stage curtain...all without uttering a word." This is the second engagement of Fool Moon at ACT after the sold-out run in Sept. 3 Oct. 11, 1998.
Irwin, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" Grant, developed his silent clown persona in such shows as The Regard of Flight. He directed and starred in an Off-Broadway production of Moliere's Scapin for Roundabout Theatre Company, co-starred in Waiting for Godot at Lincoln Center, and directed A Flea in Her Ear, also for Roundabout. He is currently filming the HBO production of "The Laramie Project" and can be seen as Lou Who in the live-action "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Shiner made his Broadway musical debut in 2000 as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical. His past work includs clowing with the Cirque du Soleil.
Designing Fool Moon are Douglas Stein (sets), Bill Kellard (costumes), Nanacy Schertler (lighting) and Tom Morse (sound).
Tickets to Fool Moon are $61-$15. For reservations, call (415) 749-2250.