The clowns come to town, and other funny stuff

The Portland-based group, Nomadic Theatre Co., moves to Capitol Hill and the Odd Duck Studio this weekend. Unlike the usual angst-ridden drama associated with fringe theater, "The See-Saw Project" celebrates clowns and clowning.

Created by Nomadic members Heather Pearl and Sarah Liane Foster, "The See-Saw Project" relies on characters in red noses to get across its messages. The subtitle of the work is "Two Clowns, One Mat, No Rules."

"These are not birthday party or even circus clowns," said Foster, "but two clowns bringing their world into the theater."

Called "great freakin' performers" by their blogger fans, Nomadic Theatre Co. makes the usual fringe company pledges to transform the world through art but they add the caveat that they want to be funny while doing it. Besides discussing the Shakespearean history of clowning in the traditions of theater, their Web site,, also includes instructions on how to build your stilts and create your own red nose.

While in town, Pearl and Foster, along with the director Jeff Awa, will make a stop at the Seattle School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts to present a Clown Workshop for ages 8 and up on Sunday, Jan. 23, from noon to 2 p.m. at 624 S. Lander St. The hands-on workshop will let the participants try their hands, feet and whole bodies in the art of clowning.

Given Seattle's strong support for offbeat, acrobatic theater groups like Baggy Pants and UMO, Pearl thinks the local audience will enjoy "The See-Saw Project" and understand its underlying craft.

"We've been all over the world with our work, but we haven't yet visited our Seattle neighbors," she said. "We're very excited now to perform and teach in a town with such a smart and adventuresome audience."

"The See-Saw Project" plays Jan. 21 through 23. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave. Tickets are $8 for children 16 and under, $10 for students, and $12 general. Nomadic Theatre Co. can take reservations by calling 503-358-3441 or e-mailing

Pork-Filled Players return

The Pork-Filled Players certainly can get physical, especially in their long-running "Sex in Seattle" series, but the group draws their laughs from the Saturday Night Live skit tradition rather than commedia dell'arte clowning.

Their latest outing starts in February and has the Valentine Day's theme of "In the Mood for Lard: bacon' whoopie and other participatory sports."

Like past shows, the PFP present the rude, the crude and the often hilarious pitfalls of modern life from the point of view of young Asian-Americans.

With "Mood for Lard," the group tackles such social issues as the secrets of female arousal, fantasy male exotic dancers, slutty fairy godmothers and a mafia that provides "protection" to gay couples.

Back in December, Roger Tang, who acts as PKP's producer/writer/designer, said that his New Year's resolutions were "to produce sharp, thought provoking comedy and to lose 35 lbs." But what he really hoped the New Year would bring was "full houses and rowdy laughter!"

The "Mood for Lard" runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. throughout the month of February at the Cabaret Space of the Northwest Actors' Studio (1100 E. Pike St.). Tickets are $9 to $12 at the door.

Off the Hill funny

If you're feeling a bit blue on Thursday and need a belly laugh, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo opens a four-day run tomorrow at Meany Theater on the University of Washington campus.

This all-male, cross-dressing ballet company makes a comedic statement while performing sur les pointes in full tutu and feathers. These gentlemen are both the darlings and the clowns of the ballet world, physically able to perform the fiendishly difficult demands of classical dance while being more than willing to skewer its conventions.

Tickets are $40 and available through Ticketmaster. The show begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 20 to 22, but go early and catch a pre-show conversation with the Trocks and fans at 7:15 p.m. in the Meany Hall West Lobby.

Rosemary Jones writes about arts and entertainment for the Capitol Hill Times. She can be reached at editor@capitol

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