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Performance

By Doris Peel / May 15, 1985



Who weeps with the clown while others in the crowded stands guffaw closest may remain to the beating heart of this blundering slapstick human-kind through just such unlikely interstices glimpsed. The mocked and the self-mocked, the ludicrously caught-out: being beset -- not by princes on fields of honor, not adversaries who by their own pre-eminence can confer upon the defeated a reflected credit -- but these niggling indignities, these midget mishaps with no awards dealt out (at the end of the show) for time and again spunkily scrambling up after still another skid on that same old banana-skin or -- with a despair so hilariously mimed -- diving, headlong into puddles too shalow for the drowning of so much as a mewling kitten. . . . The band plays on. The stands are packed. And who, in the dazzling nonsense of it all, knows (or will tell) how fragile the frame lurking within the baggy garb? Or what this compulsive painted-on grin is charged to sustain until (to a climax-roar of applause) the whole act's got through once again, and the tent empties, the lights dim . . . O laugh! Laugh! In a circus world. With

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(all the time unheard) the cry ``But it's me who's here -- '' Me.Not him.