GOING DOWN IN FLAMES Runs May 30-June 9 at Headwaters Theatre
"What if we write a play about a clown who gets dementia?"
That's the question that renowned actor and professional clown, Joan Mankin asked her brother in 2010. A few years later they would find out the hard way.
Based on a true story, the world premiere of Going Down in Flames by Danny Mankin runs May 30-June 9 at Headwaters Theatre and is directed by Angela Van Epps. Joan Schirle, award-winning actor, playwright, director, deviser and teacher, and the founding artistic director of Dell'Arte International in Blue Lake, CA., will play Joan Mankin and Mankin's legendary clown character, Queenie Moon.
Through clown and physical comedy, Going Down in Flames is both funny and tragic as we travel with Queenie Moon in and out of the circus ring and through her twisted versions of reality.
"I began working on this play with my sister in 2010 to explore the intersection of comedy, tragedy and mental illness," said the play's writer and producer, Danny Mankin. "It is a unique journey about one remarkable woman that I hope will also provide comfort and comedic relief for people who are dealing with family or friends suffering from dementia."
A few years into their writing process, Joan was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia. She passed away three years later, in September of 2015. After several years, her brother was ready to return to the work they started together.
"Joan Mankin was a superb performer and a woman I admired greatly, both as a friend and colleague," said Joan Schirle, the acclaimed actor who will bring Mankin/Queenie Moon to the stage. "We worked together onstage more than once. It's a real honor to be able to 'play' with Joanie again."
Schirle's acting work was recognized with a 2006 Fox Foundation/TCG Resident Actor Fellowship, and in 2004 she was honored at the 16th Cairo International Experimental Theatre Festival as a leader in the field of experimental theatre. She has performed with Yale Rep, San Diego Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, the Arcata Playhouse, and has been a principal actor-creator with the Dell'Arte Company since its founding.
Going Down in Flames is generously sponsored by a successful Kickstarter campaign supported by over 100 people including family, friends, fans and people who know the ravages of dementia.
Mankin Arts, in association with the Circus Project, presents
GOING DOWN IN FLAMES
by Danny Mankin
May 30-June 9, 2019
DIRECTOR: Angela Van Epps
CAST: Joan Schirle (Joan Mankin/Queenie Moon), Michael O'Neil (Max) and Jeff Desautels (Musician, other roles)
PRODUCTION TEAM: Christopher Kehoe (Stage Manager), Mikelle Kelly (Lighting Designer), Summer Olsson (Costume Designer), Laura Loy (Props Designer)