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Circo De Nada Brings PSYCHOSOMATIC To The People's Building

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A new work of one-person sketch comedy and post-apocalyptic Clown.

Circo de Nada and The People's Building present Psychosomatic, a new one-person sketch show and post-apocalyptic Clown performance, created and performed by Nick Trotter.

A follow-up to last year's Idiopathic, this show gives stage time and a spotlight to the voices in our heads! An obsessive nonsense-talker, a tyrannical Doctor, a gender-fluid storyteller, and Circo de Nada's signature Talking Hands puppetry all make their appearances, with new original music by Bonejesters. Slipping between the conventions of Clown, Commedia dell'Arte, Horror, and Cabaret, Psychosomatic explores the liminal space between the psychologist's office and a nightclub!

The title is a term used by doctors and scientists to identify diseases or conditions that manifest in the body, but that the patient causes with their own thoughts and feelings: the literal translation from classical Greek is "from the mind to the body". It follows the peculiar logic of last year's show Idiopathic, with its "self-caused" comedy and drama; this comedy, though, is more self-inflicted than self-caused. This show explores the way our thoughts manifest physically, as characters, narratives and even their own languages.

Red-nose Clown is the ideal form for this show because it physically manifests the intersection between the absurd, the poetic and the deep, inner struggle that can be heartfelt and poignant, yet also ridiculous and even grotesque. The comic image of our Selves is often the truest! The white-faced Clown is almost exclusively associated with horror now, and this has a long history: in Western civilization, Clowns have always been devils! But Psychosomatic shows that the monster inside knows it's a monster, and it often just terrifies itself. The solution, of course, is to become a nightclub act!

The show was conceived as a follow-up to Idiopathic when the first run of that show, in February of 2019, had to be cancelled because Trotter experienced crippling back spasms caused by his anxiety disorder. Following the Idiopathic's narrative of depression, addiction and insomnia, Psychosomatic represents a step out of the crisis condition, and the questions of how to re-order one's life following devastation. The show also incorporates the more recent diagnosis of AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), which has caused Trotter to reconsider his whole life, especially his relationship with work and art.

In addition to the live-stream of the show, there will be a small, live audience present in the theater. The People's Building is following strict state-mandated guidelines:

The audience, limited to 20 in-person guests, will be socially distanced from the performers & masks are required to enter the facility. Temperatures of staff, performers, and guests are taken upon arrival. Performers test themselves weekly. Doors are propped inside to minimize contact. We're mopping and disinfecting all surfaces between uses. The lobby is spray cleaned every 10 minutes and there will be touch-free pay at the bar.

The music for the show is by Bonejesters, a cross-continental collaboration between David Leicht and Nick Trotter that has been active since 1998. The all-original music is heavily electronic, but based in their shared interest in Brazilian rhythms and the intriguing possibilities for interaction between live performance and recording.

This show also involves a special collaboration with artist Sammy Lee, whose architectural sculpture Baoli will serve as the "set" for Psychosomatic. The Baoli is part of her installation Remind Me Tomorrow, on exhibit at the People's Building throughout October.

Baoli installation is funded by the INSITE Fund, an Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts regional regranting program administered by RedLine Contemporary Art Center. Baoli will travel to various venues throughout Denver and Aurora during 2020-21 and will include site-specific programming, like Psychosomatic.

Baoli project statement:

Shaped like an inverted pyramid, a baoli is an Indian step well. People assemble at baolis in order to draw water or to cool down from the heat, but beyond pure utility, they also act as sites of congregation. Like the seemingly endless number of stairs that cross their walls, they hold countless encounters, stories, and legends. Modeled after its namesake, Baoli is thus a dynamic place that cultivates interaction and the exchange of ideas.

Measuring 10 feet by 6 feet, this installation occupies the dimensions of a typical contemporary workspace. However, the use of tables and chairs is traditionally uncommon in India: locals are accustomed to repurposing existing elements in a space to accommodate their forms. A baoli's steps therefore offer a breadth of possible seating arrangements: elderly folks recline, crouching children play, squatting housewives converse, and girls lean as they do laundry. Clusters emerge, and the community gathering spot takes on a range of functions, whether as storefront, playground, parlor, or workplace. Baoli is likewise comprised of versatile, modular components that can be rearranged as needed.

At the convergence of the installation's two staircases, a table marked with devenagari reflects the potential outcomes of these social interactions. All spoken languages are lost if not recorded, and devanagari is the script that serves this function in India. The table has organic, henna-like stains listing verbs that articulate the possible activity within the space. As a baoli acts as a vessel to contain communal connections, devanagari is the medium which retains the content of its conversations.

Principle artists include:

Circo de Nada is a Denver-based ensemble theater, music and puppetry project. Its mission is to Entertain the Imagination, with bold, stylized and fantastical performances, and to Take It to the Street: tear down the traditional or habitual trappings of theater, to make these performances accessible to audiences who crave imagination. They perform as an improv ensemble, whenever possible, at Rise Comedy. Their productions include: last year's Idiopathic; The Book of Jonah, a shadow-puppetry adaptation of the story from the Hebrew bible; and Henry Four, an adaptation of Shakespeare's historical dramas, which is slated to receive its Denver premiere in 2021. Please visit for more information.

Nick Trotter is a graduate of the MFA program at Dell'Arte International in California, and has also trained at the Boulder Circus Center with Giovanni Fusetti, and at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He specializes in Clown, Bouffon, Commedia dell'Arte, and puppetry, and is a mask and nose maker. His project Circo de Nada regularly performs improv at Rise Comedy in Denver, and he also teaches Mask, Commedia and Clown classes across the country. He performs as King Henry and Falstaff, and created shadow puppets, in Henry Four, an adaptation of Shakespeare's King Henry the Fourth parts I & II, a production he created with Amy Driesler. He is the Training Director for Circo de Nada.

Sammy Lee (@sammy_seungmin_lee) Sammy Lee is an artist based in Denver, Colorado. Lee was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Southern California at the age of sixteen. She studied fine art and media art at UCLA and architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Among her many accomplishments is a performative collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma during the Bach project tour in 2018. Lee is recently a resident artist at Redline, serves as an ambassador for Asian Art at Denver Art Museum, and operates a contemporary art project and residency space, called Collective SML | k in Santa Fe Art District, Denver.

Lee's work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in collections at the Getty Research Institute, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, and the Spanish National Library in Madrid.

Circo de Nada Presents:

At the People's Building
9995 E. Colfax Ave
Aurora, CO 80010
And live-streamed
$10 for in-person seating (very limited/socially-distanced seating)
$20 for live-streamed video-feed

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