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From Emma – The Spirit of Follies in February

January 30, 2018

DSC07108Every year of Christmas City Follies is– somehow, impossibly– really special. No matter who’s in the cast or in the audience, no matter what the jokes/songs/characters are, no matter how much difficulty and drama leads up to the ever-looming deadline of opening, no matter this, no matter that, no matter the other thing– there’s always a sense by showtime that this is a rare and precious gift that we’re sharing with the audience and with each other.

And that “No matter the blah blah blah” is something we don’t just brush off– it’s a lot of work to get Follies together, and there is a lot of absurdity and silliness along the way, but it always, always gets to a point of something heartfelt and loving by the end.

And somehow, our first two events of 2018 are in the exact same line of thinking.

This weekend, we’ve got BrouHaHa, a wonderful little existential, apocalyptic clown musical (words I never expected to string together) by Happenstance Theater. As a theatre company, Happenstance’s background and methodologies are incredibly similar to Touchstone’s (rooted in clown, commedia, music, physicality, and the spirit of communitas with the audience), and a lot of BrouHaHa feels a bit like “What would the clowns and characters of Follies do on a trip to the end of the world? What songs would they sing? What ridiculousness would they find to distract themselves from the end of all things?” The whole play is gentle, playful, silly, thoughtful, and threaded with incredible love, sweetness, and camaraderie between characters; it’s really a perfect show to start off the New Year.
Happenstance Theater
And next week, we have Jakopa’s Punch Bowl, headlined by Jakopa’s Punch, a haphazard, eclectic construction of musicians that goof off and jam together. Our wacky little band practices often feel a little rushed and imperfect– it’s at the end of the day, time is limited, it’s hard to keep everyone focused, and I know I’m usually drop-dead tired by the time we pack up– but it’s full of goofiness and good times, and every now and then, we sound pretty freaking wonderful. Last year, the band played its first full-length events, including the sweet Jakopa’s Punch Processional with its moral of friendship and teamwork, important undercurrents to everything we do.
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“I can’t do it by myself, but I can do it with your help” was the simple message of the Processional. And really, that’s what makes Jakopa’s Punch; and the clowns of BrouHaHa; and always, always Follies. It’s a wonderful through-line of togetherness that follows us out of the old year and into the new.

As we plunge ahead in 2018, we hope you’re also keeping the spirit of Follies— a spirit of open-hearted compassion, hard work, and silliness– wherever you go. And we hope you’ll join us for BrouHaHa and Jakopa’s Punch Bowl, where we’re celebrating music, oddball characters, absurdity, good times together, and love for one another.

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