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Juniata Theatre Premiere's 'Hoopl,' a Clown Play

(Posted February 12, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Comedy in the European tradition of clowning will be the focus of "Hoopl," a clown play created by Juniata theatre students under the direction of artist-in-residence Don Reider. Twice-nightly performances will be at 7:15 and 9:30 p.m., Feb. 21-23 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

Tickets for all performances are available at the information desk in the Ellis College Center lobby or at the door before each night's performances. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students. For tickets, please call (814) 641-3333.

Rieder, co-founder of the clown theater troupe Klauniada (pronounced clown-ee-ah-da), directed and conceived the play in collaboration with the six-person cast of students. "Don's work is not clowning in the Ringling Brothers circus tradition," explains Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre at Juniata. "His background comes from European clowning, which emphasizes movement, mime and characterization."

Rieder and his wife, Valerie Dean co-founded Klauniada in Montreal, Quebec in 1980. Klauniada is the Czech term for "clown play," and all of their performances are structured as small plays rather than the slapstick or sight gags associated with circus clowning. Rieder has toured throughout Europe and taught at international mime and theater festivals in France, Belgium Germany and the Czech Republic. He studied at the Ecole LeCoq in Paris, France and at Circus Alfred in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Reider describes "Hoopl" as "spending the evening with a really strange clown family." The play is structured as if a small circus has arrived at Juniata, but as the troupe is about to perform, accidents and calamities upstage the regular circus acts. Members of the audience will occupy some seating on stage as well.

Juniata students in the cast are: Raina Miller, a sophomore from Millington, Md.; Taro Shibuya, a sophomore from Tokyo, Japan; Rick Brazener, a junior from Rochester, N.Y.; Sean Mahoney, a sophomore from Huntingdon, Pa.; Tim Zentz, a sophomore from Freeland, Md.; and Sylvia Diaz, an international student from del Marmol, Mexico.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.