After a critically acclaimed run at the 2017 Camden Fringe, Richard Canal’s tale of a clown seeking redemption through honesty and heartfelt truth returns to the Cockpit for a limited run in January 2018. Drawing from his own experiences, Canal’s personal story wipes off the make-up to reveal the face of himself, his persona and the United States’ first decades into the 20th century.
It is November 16th, 1932. The Depression is at its greatest, and vaudeville – the roaring heartbeat of the ’20s – has ceased to beat. Isaac Solomon Loew, a Jewish Mississippian, performs on Broadway as Blueberry, a happy-go-lucky Pierrot. Wrestling with guilts of times bygone, he frequently flees from his pain not only into performance, but also into sex. His increasingly addictive escapes have finally lost him his wife, at the same times as he loses his employment. He enters his dressing-room
for the last time; and as he pours his heart out to the audience, shedding his painted mask, he wrestles with his memories, mistakes and misdeeds – either to their conclusion, or his own.
Cry, Blueberry is not, however, a tale of gloom and woe. Blueberry is a trumpeter of life, whose dreams fly above storms and tears; and his twisting, turning, heartfelt and honest-to-God journey – through saloons, towns, cities, brothels, circuses, churches, synagogues, theatres and more – touches on themes including racial injustice, the accountability of bystanders, the profundity of clowning and the ethics of repentance and forgiveness. This magical-realist play presents a poetic, enchanting perspective on the nature of encounters and escapes; on how people detach and isolate themselves from pain and painful truths; and on gladness, sadness and everything in between.
Richard Canal is a London-based actor and playwright from Spain and the United States, currently studying towards an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS. Aside from his studies, he aims to become involved in theatre for reconciliation, and is working on a couple of one-person historical pieces for other actors.
Cry, Blueberry is at The Cockpit Theatre 15th – 19th January 2018.