CLOWN HEAD, Scratch Media, at Theatre Building Chicago. Writer-director Greg Silva’s eclectic multimedia confection recounts the saga of Jeffrey, a lonely young LA comic who imagines a magical circus, Club Paradise, that gives him a place in the sun. At first the fun house mirror provided by Club Paradise exaggerates Jeffrey’s real-life problems with parents, booze, and women–but ultimately it redeems him. Told in poorly developed blackout scenes, Jeffrey’s story lurches from gritty realism to outlandish fantasy, complete with techno dance routines; trapeze, rope, and juggling acts; symbolic stunts; and a clown head on TV monitors that delivers the cryptic narrative.
The circus acts and a pulsating score by Burton L., Jason Novak, and Miles Polaski are impressive. But they’re weakly integrated into the meandering plot, whose psychobabble dialogue sheds little light on Jeffrey’s often arbitrary self-discoveries.
Silva keeps the circus swirling, and Krishna Le Fan brings to elaborately troubled Jeffrey considerable gymnastic skills, acrobatic grace, and charisma. He’s supported by an attractive if uneven cast who seem to have escaped from an entirely different play. Bob Wilson gives a sardonic edge to the title character, and Laura Sturm has her moments as a disfigured circus refugee wandering the streets of Chicago.