LORENZO PISONI – A.C.T. extends “Humor Abuse” to Sunday, February 5th

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Due to popular demand, sold-out houses, and nightly standing ovations, American Conservatory Theater has added an additional and final performance of its hugely successful hit, Humor Abuse, for this coming Sunday, February 5th, at 7:00 pm.

“The Bay Area has simply fallen in love with Lorenzo and Humor Abuse,” says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. “Watching audiences, young and old, experience this incredible story of art, adolescence, and pratfalls has been one of the great joys of the season. We’re thrilled we are able to add one final performance this coming Sunday.”

“I feel so lucky to be able to perform Humor Abuse at A.C.T., where I grew up going to see theater. That audiences have reacted with such overwhelming enthusiasm to this journey is beyond expectation,” says Pisoni.

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LORENZO PISONI – as his father Larry Pisoni
Archive photo, Terry Lorant. Production photo, Chris Bennion

At the opening night performance actor/comedian/clown Lorenzo Pisoni delivered a virtually flawless performance of his one-man show – a solo reminiscence of a little boy growing up as an entertainer in the legendary Pickle Family Circus. Co-created with director Erica Schmidt, this compelling stage memoir is a masterfully timed lesson in Clown School and an impeccable gem in story telling. Lorenzo Pisoni takes us under the big top with the incredible true story of growing up as the youngest member of the Pickle Family Circus. Celebrating the complicated, no-holds-barred life of a performer, Pisoni shows off the tricks of the trade he learned from his father, Pickle co-founder Larry Pisoni. The production is packed with physical humor, treasured memories and classic routines – including a surprising take on “The High Diving Act”. Presented in association with Seattle Repertory Theatre, the show plays through February 5th at the American Conservatory Theater. Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Humor Abuse

Lorenzo Pisoni last appeared on the A.C.T. stage in 2005′s hugely popular The Gamester and recently performed in Broadway’s Equus alongside Daniel Radcliffe.  “Ever since Erica and I created Humor Abuse,” says Pisoni, “I’ve wanted to do it in San Francisco. I had a wonderful experience the last time I was on the A.C.T. stage, so now I am thrilled not only to have a chance to return to A.C.T., but also to bring this piece with me. I know many A.C.T. audience members will have a deep, nostalgic connection to what happens in the play because the Pickles were a part of San Francisco’s culture for so long.” A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff said, “From the moment I saw Lorenzo’s captivating performance of Humor Abuse in New York, I fell in love with its ineffable charm, heart, and honesty. Lorenzo is such a magnetic and charismatic performer that you cannot take your eyes off him, and his coming-of-age story has a universality that I believe our audiences will find extremely moving, as well as extremely funny.”

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LORENZO PISONI

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HUMOR ABUSE – Lorenzo PisoniPhoto, Chris Bennion

Pisoni was born into the Pickle Family Circus shortly after his parents, Larry Pisoni and Peggy Snider, founded the alternative big top in 1974 with their juggling partner Cecil MacKinnon. After Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle joined their ranks—creating the incomparable clown trio of Lorenzo Pickle (Pisoni), Willy the Clown (Irwin), and Mr. Sniff (Hoyle)—the Pickles became a venerable and beloved Bay Area institution. They toured the West Coast (and beyond) through the 1980s and ’90s and led the charge in the renewal of the American circus, exchanging animal acts and pyrotechnics in the supersized three-ring format with daring acrobatics and its famous show-stopping group juggle, all presented on one intimate stage so audiences would not miss a single moment. Lorenzo Pisoni grew up in this hotbed of creativity, first appearing onstage at the age of two. He became his father’s clown partner not long after, and he continued to perform with the troupe during his teens. Pisoni, a natural storyteller, gives the audience a unique take on the familiar coming-of-age story and creates a moving and hilarious portrait of a father-and-son relationship. His recollections are centered around physically demanding tricks – some newly created, others re-enactments from his father’s days with Pickle.

The creative team for Humor Abuse includes lighting designer Ben Stanton (Seminar on Broadway, Angels in America at the Signature Theatre) and sound designer Bart Fasbender (over 100 productions, including work at The Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Atlantic Theater Company). Original Pickle Family Circus member Randy Craig has composed music for the production. Audiences will remember Mr. Craig’s musical contributions to the production of Scapin.

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