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Categories: Comedy & Improv, Theater

Dates: September 16, 2021 - September 25, 2021

Run Time: 60 mins

Venue: MAAS Building Studio


YU·RO·DI·VY – Russian nominative plural noun – юро́дивые
1. holy fools

An improvised night of comedy and music from four holy fools. An uproarious celebration of the wisdom and lunacy of these modern village idiots. Performed by improv guru Nick Gillette, clown poet performance art maven Alexandra Tatarsky, and physical theater artist absurdist Aram Alan Aghazarian. Live music by my friend Fred Brown.


This show aims to make us laugh until we cry. This clown trio will ask, quite pointedly but not without care, what is the show you want to see before you die? We will then improvise, as serviceably as we can, your impossible requests.

This show wants to apply the analgesic of laughter to our tenderest existential sores. To give a rest from our anxiety, a reprieve from routine, and a celebration to euthanize the night, this one night, which we hold for a brief hour and then mayn’t ever return to again.

Yurdodivy, holy fools, were once an Eastern Orthodox ascetic tradition. Eschewing traditional social conventions in favor of purposeful divine weirdness, these proto clowns would provoke their communities to more closely inspect their habits and presumptions. The holy fool and the clown may benignly violate these rules, in order to illuminate their flaws and idiosyncrasies. We laugh at what we recognize, and the holy fool or clown mirrors back to us only ourselves.

I find the fear of clowns unsurprising, because we’re unpredictable. The presence of a clown removes the surety of all of our automatic social habits; the old tried and true rules just can’t apply here. We all have mental or social shortcuts to quickly get to the comfort of knowing the answer to “what the hell is going on here.” The clown, just by existing with the charged potential of unpredictable presence, awkwardly blocks these shortcuts. An

Nick Gillette Improv

NICK GILLETTE is a physical theatre artist, co-founder emeritus of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, and an instructor and performer at the Philly Improv Theater. Graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, 2014 New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks resident artist, 2016 Colgate University Christian A. Johnson resident artist. With Almanac he has devised and performed dozens of critically acclaimed nu-circus works. Co-creator of improvised absurdist plays as The Wadsworth Constant. He has performed with Cabaret Red Light, BRAT Productions, Lighting Rod Special, Pig Iron Theatre Co., Alex Bechtel, International Contemporary Dance Festival of Mexico City, and Vancouver International Improv Festival’s International Ensemble.

ALEXANDRA TATARSKY Writer and performer Alexandra Tatarsky (she/they) makes performances at the in-between zone of performance art, comedy, dance-theater, and deluded rant—sometimes with songs. She has performed at venues such as MoMA PS1 and The New Museum, and she has published several chapbooks, including Vacant Love and Embrace the Tree. She teaches workshops on masks, bouffon, and holy fools in theory and practice. Their work often explores the ways in which words and worlds come together and fall apart and utilizes the logic of the clown as an antidote to despair and a model of one who keeps trying despite (repeated) failure.

ARAM ALAN AGHAZARIAN is a performer, theater creator, and teacher. He is a founding member of Strange Attractor Theatre Company. Theater work includes Pig Iron Theater Company, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, Swim Pony Performing Arts, Lightning Rod Special, Perseverance Theatre, Alaska Perseverance Theatre, Alaska. Aram teaches in the Pig Iron MFA/Certificate program and at Community College of Philadelphia where he teaches Movement and Dance for Actors, and Rehearsal and Performance. He is a graduate of Temple University and the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA).


Lead Artist/Performer: Nick Gillette, Performer: Aram Alan Aghazarian, Performer: Alexandra Tatarsky, Music: Fred Brown, Producer: Almanac Dance Circus Theatre


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