Circus Gothic
Written and performed by Jan Kudelka
March 12-30, 1997

Jan Kudelka's acclaimed Circus Gothic revived at Artword

Circus Gothic, Jan Kudelka's acclaimed show about life in the circus, came to Artword Theatre for a three-week run March 12-30, 1997. Circus Gothic is the true story of some naïve young clowns (students of European clowning) who join a rough and dirty real circus (an American circus).
A fluid and compelling performer, Jan Kudelka uses acting, clown techniques and music to create twenty-three characters, including Steve the Roustabout, Jolly Duke, Eddie Rawls (the Vietnam vet who walks the tightrope), Rory Carr (the New Brunswick lumberman and circus goer), as well as Lump the wicked cat and Elly the Elephant.
Kudelka first created Circus Gothic in 1978 (in workshop at Theatre Passe Muraille). She toured the show across Canada (Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver) in 1979-80, to great critical acclaim. Now she is bringing Circus Gothic back, on a cross-Canada revival tour.
Kudelka launched the revival tour in February 1997, in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, where she now lives. Next was Artword Theatre, for the show's first full run ever in Toronto. Then on to Carleton Place and Kingston in Ontario. The musician on this tour was Cameron Shook.

Jan Kudelka studied clowning in the '70s with the late Richard Pochinko and developed Circus Gothic under Pochinko's guidance. She is also known for her show about rock-and-roll American Demon (also starring Ian Wallace) and her solo show about Janis Joplin, Janis/Janus. Since moving to British Columbia in the 1980s, Kudelka has been involved in a number of productions at the Caravan Farm Theatre.

"Miss Kudelka's writing is a side-show of startling insights and strong ideas.... Gothic is alarming, possessive and exciting theatre." Ray Conlogue, The Globe and Mail, October 27, 1980.

"The incredible Jan Kudelka in Circus Gothic, a stupendous one-woman show guaranteed to dazzle... Shouldn't be missed." Laird Rankin, Winnipeg Tribune, November 29, 1979.

"It is one of the leanest pieces of theatrical writing I have even heard and at the same time, it has a heady, intoxicating quality." Montreal Gazette, 1980.

"Her play is beautifully and consistently written... A personal statement about survival - and the survival of dreams despite their being shattered." Wayne Edmonstone, Vancouver Sun, 1980.