Yale Bulletin and Calendar

September 1, 2000Volume 29, Number 1

Canadian clowns Mump & Smoot.

'Clowns of horror' to open Yale Rep's new season

Yale Repertory Theatre opens its 35th anniversary season with Canadian "clowns of horror" Mump & Smoot returning in "Mump & Smoot in Something Else with Zug," Sept. 14-Oct. 7 in the University Theatre, 222 York St.

"As Yale Repertory Theatre associate artists, Mump & Smoot have generated the kind of energy and enthusiasm among Rep audiences that is perfect for kicking off the anniversary season," says Stan Wojewodski Jr., dean of the School of Drama and the Yale Rep's artistic director. "Their work is a terrific amalgam of imaginative innovation and centuries-old traditions of clowning."

Mump & Smoot -- a.k.a. Michael Kennard and John Turner -- have performed their brand of clowning to sold-out audiences throughout Canada and the United States. This is their fourth engagement at Yale Rep.

A series of humorous sketches ranging from manic to macabre, "Mump & Smoot in Something Else with Zug" is performed entirely in Ummonian, an invented language that is the tongue of the clowns' god, Ummo. Unable to summon Ummo, the clowns become exasperated and desperate, unleashing a menacing genie named Zug from his magic lamp. When Zug grants them whatever their hearts desire, the twosome live out Mump's fantasy of becoming a magician, Smoot's desire to become Chef Smoot, and several other dreams that inevitably go awry.

"'Mump & Smoot in Something Else with Zug' is a timely, pointed and very funny examination of where we are as a prosperous, market-driven culture, for whom wish fulfillment scarcely requires a genie any more," says Wojewodski.

Kennard, co-creator of Mump & Smoot, has been acting since the age of 12 and earned a B.A. in drama from the University of Guelph. Turner, the other half of the duo, attended three universities, but says he was never "inspired to finish." Both men studied clown, mask, physical comedy, improv and movement with The Second City, Richard Pochinko, Ian Wallace, Fiona Griffiths, John Towsen and Philippe Gaulier. In addition to teaching, Kennard has directed several clown-based shows, most recently "A Christmas Carol" at the Globe Theatre in Regina, Saskatchewan. Turner also works as a clown coach and teaches clowning at The Space. His directing includes Lisa Brokenshire's "The Lecture." Kennard and Turner also appear as Drock and Dirk, respectively, on the Canadian children's television series "Blue Rainbow."

Christian Laurin, who plays Zug, is a cofounder of R&B Productions and co-creator of the clown show "Penitentiary of Love," which was performed in Canada and the United States. Other cast members include Greg Morrison as Fingers, and Scott Macdonald as Scurry.

Director Karen Hines has collaborated with Mump & Smoot for the past 11 years, and has directed all their shows. Jim Warren is associate director of the show, which features an original score by Greg Morrison, who is also the musical director. Other artistic staff includes Michel Charbonneau, lighting designer and stage manager; Campbell Manning, scenic designer; and Fiona Griffiths, movement coach.

Show times are Mondays at 7 p.m., and Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with the exception of Saturday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday Oct. 4, when Yale Rep offers 2 p.m. matinees only. Individual tickets range from $10 to $36. Subscription packages, including Yale Rep/Yale School of Drama combination 10-play subscriptions, 6-play Yale Rep subscriptions, flex passes and 6-play student passbooks, are also currently available and range from $60 to $220.

For more information, or to order subscriptions, call the Yale Repertory Theatre box office at (203) 432-1234; box office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, extending until show time on performance nights.


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