Six live actors transport the audience to a movie house in 1923, when glamorous stars told larger-than-life stories without a single spoken word. Grab a bag of freshly popped popcorn, take a seat, and watch the hilarious and heartrending story of Gwynplaine, a clown whose face has been surgically disfigured into a permanent smile.
Performing with his adoptive sister and father, Gwynplaine gains fame and a very modest fortune for his comic acts—and his comical face. Secretly he yearns to be more than a freak and a joke—but when his yearning leads him into the arms of a debauched duchess fascinated by grin, the results are disastrous for Gwynplaine and for his family.
Based on Victor Hugo’s novel The Man Who Laughs, the play is performed in the style of a silent film, complete with live piano accompaniment, projected title cards, and vibrant black-and-white sets, costumes and makeup. First performed to critical acclaim in 2005, The Man Who Laughs transforms silent film into live action, taking us back to a time when performers didn’t need to speak to pull on our heart strings and tickle our funny bones.
Sumptuous... [a] lovely, creepy little show.
Magical... Breathtaking... The attention to detail and commitment of this production is phenomenal.
While "Les Miserables" would love...to hold our attention all the way through Oscar season, yet another Victor Hugo adaptation is stealthily having its moment....It's pure movie magic.
A stunningly beautiful work of art...This is truly a not to be missed experience.
[an] ingenious simulation of silent film...impeccably cohesive.
A remarkable achievement...captivating ...inspired stagecraft. A triumph of stylized acting and directorial artistry.
Heart-wounding...Extraordinarily clever...Rivetingly rendered.
Written by Kiran Rikhye
Directed by Jon Stancato
Dramaturgy by Emily Otto
Music by Eugene Ma
Set Design by Michael Minahan
Costume Design by Julie Schworm
Lighting Design by Daniel Winters
Makeup by Jaclyn Schaefer
with Stephanie Cox-Williams
Props & Graphic Design by Aviva Meyer
Stage Management by Colin Miller
Featuring Raife Baker, Dave Droxler, Jon Froehlich, Molly O’Neill, Noah Schultz, Rebecca Whitehurst
Presented at Urban Stages
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