With three productions behind them, now Summer Theatre Institute students at Stephens College are just clowning around.
No, really. The students have been working with guest artist Matt Weiss — a Stephens theatre alumnus and Ringling Bros. trained clowning specialist — to create an original company-devised clowning show.
“Devising Mischief” is 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave. The family-friendly play is free and open to the public.
Weiss has been teaching students the basics — how to get used to seeing yourself in a red nose or how to balance a broom on your head — and is now helping them turn those skills into a feature-length original production.
There’s no script, he stressed — students are responsible for creating the entire show.
“You have to think on you feet,” he said. “That’s so beneficial in theatre.”
In addition to coming up with original lines and scenes, the students are learning to develop character relationships, dramatic and comedic clowning and additional physical theatre skills. The latter follows the combat theatre training they received last month from guest artist, fight choreographer Martin English.
Weiss spent years as a regular in the Kansas City theatre scene before relocating to New York City. Today, he is an actor and director and currently is a cast member of the CBS hit show “Elementary.”
STI students are now spending this week polishing their original works. Based on what he’s seen to date, Weiss said audience members can expect a fun show.
“They’ve surprised me every step of the way,” he said. “Expect to have a roaring good time.”