500 Clown Macbeth
Last week, for two nights only, patrons gathered in Galaxie Chicago for the return of one of this city's best performance troupes: 500 Clown. In preparation for their new show premiering this summer, 500 Clown & the Elephant Deal, they returned to their roots and presented their signature show that launched the group. They hadn't performed this show in a couple years, but you couldn't tell that as they returned to their solid performance that reaches across Shakespeare, clowning, acrobatics, and genius.
500 Clown Macbeth boils the plot of Shakespeare's Macbeth into one idea - ambition. The three company members begin the show "playing" at being king until a crown ascends from the flies. They then work together to try to attain that crown until it is virtually within reach and then the coin drops and they begin fighting and killing to get it. All this takes place on a set that is simply a rickety scaffolding that they must climb and balance on in order to obtain the prize.
The brilliance of the concept, beyond distilling the plot to a single line of action, comes in the calculated danger each performer is putting themselves in. The audience cannot help but be engaged by what is happening before them. While attending you will often hear gasps of fear and concern coming from the audience as the clown takes that one more step past "safe." Their physical abilities are really quite impressive and it allows them access to emotions within themselves and their audience that are normally more difficult to obtain.
While you may have missed their two day stint, they'll be back. And I highly recommend any show that this troupe creates. They are a Chicago treasure and we are grateful for them.