Venue Details

Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre
1650 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614
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4.4 / 5 Rated by 10 members
Review from Robert L. Oakes
42 events 5 reviews

Different from their previous work, this is a cabaret driven piece inspired by a play by Bertolt Brecht. Molly Brennan and crew really shine in a work that is exteremely humorous while being full of all the meta-theatrical tension and existential...continued

reviewed Jun 24 2009 report as inappropriate
Review from Goldstar Member
1 event 1 review

Great fun because I had no idea what the hell was going on! 500 Clown is about being engulfed by talented clowning chaos that splashes the line between illusion and reality, the rehearsed and the improvised.

reviewed Jun 21 2009 report as inappropriate
Review from LunchLadyU
50 events 46 reviews

Entertaining, but not nearly as good as 500 Clown McBeth.

reviewed Jul 09 2009 report as inappropriate
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More Information


A Steppenwolf Visiting Company Initiative

By 500 Clown and John Fournier

Directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig

Featuring Molly Brennan, Adrian Danzig, Gerald Dowd, John Fournier, Matt Hawkins, Jessica Hudson, Paul Kalina and Matt Thompson

500 Clown Theater presents 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal – a musical missile aimed at the tenuous border between fiction and reality – as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Visiting Company Initiative. Inspired by (not based on) Bertolt Brecht’s Man is Man, 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal is an original theater production for adults with music, co-created with composer and lyricist John Fournier, who also collaborated on 500 Clown Christmas. A rocking three-piece band, an alluring Mistress of Ceremonies, and a daring stage crew have everything they need for a night of theatre … except for the story, which has gone MIA. The players find themselves on a collision course with this fierce runaway tale, which is riddled with spontaneous characters and dangerous stunts, utilizing a steel truss as cabaret stage and obstacle course (outfitted with custom-designed weight-bearing pulleys and lots of rope).

About 500 Clown 

500 Clown uses action-based performance, improvisation, and circus arts to tell long-form dramatic stories that catapult the performers into extreme physical and emotional risk. Their mission is to shift the audience from passive to active observers and create a charged environment that celebrates the unpredictable power of the moment. 

500 Clown and the Elephant Deal takes Brecht’s Elephant Deal as its inspiration. Over years of making shows (since 2000), 500 Clown noticed that they had stumbled into Brechtian theatrical territory. Their clown-theater form had a popular and thought-provoking fluidity between the real world of the theater (occupied by audience members and actors) and the fictional world on stage. This made them curious to stage a Brecht play. 

500 Clown chose Man is Man to be their launch pad and inspiration, though the group quickly departed from the play and instead created an original production for Steppenwolf’s Visiting Company Initiative. 

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