When I was a wee, wide-eyed youth clowns represented merriment, joy, fun and wonder. I can picture the giggly innocent child I once was seated in front of the television mesmerized by the antics of Bozo the Clown.
Since then I have noticed a definite shift in the clown persona. Juxtaposed with those old happy images are others of creepy, evil clowns. These clowns dwell in the land of terror and nightmares.
How did that happen?
When I was planning a school trip to The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street, NYC, to see La Famiglia Dimitri the clown issue was on my mind.
One adorable little tyke with big eyes and lots of curly hair told me in utter seriousness "clowns freak me out".
Happily, Clown Dimitri (yes, that is his name) brought about no such fright. La Famiglia Dimitri is a small family circus. The five members consist of patriarch Clown who at 74 years of age can still bring on the laughs, his three children David, Masha and Nina and son-in-law, Kai.
David is a talented tightrope performer and musician.
Masha is a slack wire walker and musician.
Nina plays the guitar like Charo. Believe me this is a huge compliment (Coochie! Coochie!). She also performs solos in Italian with a knowing twinkle in her eye.
Kai is a clown and singer. One of his bits had a student in first grade belly laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. For a moment there we were really concerned.
They will be performing at The New Victory until April 19th so if you are in New York City please check out this enjoyable show. It is time for clowns to mend their soiled reputation and return to the positive force they once were. La Famiglia Dimitri is taking us a step in that direction.