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TEMPTING FATE Comes to Little Boxes Theatre


Antic in a Drain (Artistic Director, Ross Travis) proudly presents its world premiere production of Tempting Fate, a satirical sideshow entertainment reflecting the house of mirrors called climate change. Balk at the science, bemoan the social impacts, and scream in horror at the political divide. You'll find yourself laughing at the grotesque hyperbole, and the fantastically fecund characters bedecked in disdain and hubris. See Mother Earth talk trash to those who bite her tit while suckling her life-giving abundance.

Ross Travis teams up with legendary clown pedagogue and director Ronlin Foreman to create an original one-man bouffon show. Bouffon is a traditional, grotesque, satirical form of physical theatre codified from many traditions throughout history (including the Feast of Fools celebration during medieval times and the Satyr plays of the ancient Greeks) by the French theatre provocateur Jacques Lecoq in the 50s and 60s. Tempting Fate is full of climatological characters, from a tempestuous Harpy straight from the land of mythology bringing an ominous reminder from the gods to a former Oil Executive, now a sustainable farmer at a Climate Changers Anonymous meeting, struggling with the difficulty of his new off the grid life in a yurt with a backed up compostable toilet.

"The climate change debate is complex," says Ross Travis, "and there are a lot of different perspectives and a lot of smoke and mirrors around the issue on all sides. As a bouffon, I do my best to have a neutral perspective and soak up as much as I can from all sides of the issue I'm making a show about. During my research and development period, I take a head first plunge into the issue, conducting interviews with experts, listening to podcasts, reading books and articles and watching documentaries and films about the issue. I try to become as much of an expert as I can. Then I find what games I see being played and who all the players are, who is complicit and in what ways, and I replay these games and scenarios for the audience through gratuitous ritual, song, and ecstatic play. I believe a bouffon performance's powerful combination of comedy and tragedy is an innovative way to foster empathy, connection and action between those with diametrically opposed viewpoints on (in this case) climate change. My goal is to create satire that is not agitprop but gives weight to how complex an issue like climate change is. Bouffon is a vast and dynamic territory that spans all the way from broad comedy to grotesque tragedy. I believe in the cathartic and empathetic power of the form."

This piece is Written and Performed by Ross Travis. Direction, Set Design and Mask Design by Ronlin Foreman. Costume Design by Lydia Foreman. Graphic Design by Ernesto Sopprani. Photography by Eric Gillet.

Founded in 2014, Antic in a Drain combines circus and bouffon to develop extreme characters and tell stories from the fringes, igniting dialogue and change within communities around ignored or taboo social issues.

Antic has developed two works thus far: The Greatest Monkey Show On Earth and Bucko: Whaleman!. The Greatest Monkey Show On Earth is a primate circus extravaganza that takes a bite out of animal/human agency. The show toured to the Edmonton and Vancouver Fringe Festivals in Canada in 2014, receiving a four-star review from Global News and the inaugural Artistic Risk Award in Vancouver. In 2016, the show was nominated for two Theatre Bay Area Awards for Makeup and Costume Design and won for Costume Design.

In 2015, Antic received an Individual Artist Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission and a Zellerbach Family Foundation Grant to create and develop Bucko: Whaleman!, a high seas whaling voyage launching a harpoon into the heart of human greed and natural resource consumption. Bucko premiered on Hyde Street Pier at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park in 2017.

Ross Travis (Lead Artist) is a professional Actor/Creator, Bouffon, Clown and Circus Performer who has studied with world-renowned master pedagogues including Stephen Buescher, Dodi DiSanto, Giovanni Fusetti, Ronlin Foreman and Master Lu Yi. Ross's lineage of training and experience allows him to create unique and provocative performances that combine buoyant humor, cutting satire, physical spectacle and unscripted audience interaction to provoke and challenge his audiences. He has developed multiple works in this vein including Apocalyptika, a satirical romp that took a sledgehammer to the convenient stories we tell ourselves about how our world will end, and You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting At A Play, which skewered the ways in which Western society avoids death. This show won critical acclaim while touring from San Francisco to Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal. The piece was awarded the San Francisco Best of the Fringe Award, the Vancouver/Plank Magazine Talk of the Fringe Award, a nomination for Vancouver's Georgia Straight Critic's Pick Award, and was an Official Selection of the Toronto Festival of Clowns.

Ronlin Foreman (Director) served as the director on the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre from 2011 - 2015. He joined the full-time faculty of Dell'Arte in 2003 as Director of Training after a 20-year association as a master teacher when he and Dell'Arte founding artistic director, Joan Schirle, developed and implemented the first Ensemble Based Physical Theatre MFA program to be accredited in the United States, and the first MFA to focus on Devised Theatre.

His career in theatre began in 1976 and encompasses areas of performance, playwriting (devising), directing and teaching. As a performer, Ronlin has received numerous awards including Alliance for Arts in Education and Solo Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His solo works include Pigeon Show: a Play of Fools; A Happy Fellow; Images; Adagio; Terre a Terre; and Donkeys, Donuts, Feathers and Floats.

In 1991 he was invited to participate in the Playwrights Laboratory at The Sundance Institute. As an author and director of devised works, he has collaborated on many solo and ensemble projects including Fool and Angels for Touchstone Theatre, Hunchbacks of Notre Dame for Under the Table Productions, and The Fools of Roseles, which received Best Play and Best Director awards from the Memphis Arts Council. Other directing/coaching credits include: The Visit at Washington's Arena Stage and The House of Bernarda Alba at The Center for Creative Arts APSU.

Location: Little Boxes Theatre, 1661 Tennessee Street, Suite #2s, San Francisco, CA, 94107

Dates: May 24-June 2nd (Fri-Sun), 2019

Times: 8:00pm

Tickets: $25-$50

Tickets available at:

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