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Corteo, which means "cortege" in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.
The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music, by turns lyrical and playful, carries Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.
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The Clowness is an actress, a veritable grande dame of the stage, who somehow found herself a part of this nutty troupe. Her professionalism and her strength of character allow her to bear the foolishness of her partners, whom she never fails to charm.
The Dead Clown is the central character of the story, the one whom this fantastic funeral is honouring … but could it all be a dream? A former member of the troupe surrounding him, he dons his costume to perform onstage one last time.
Although only an amateur opera singer, the Giant Clown imagines himself to be a great artist of worldwide renown. Without doubt, it is with him that the Dead Clown is closest, almost like brothers.
A diminutive clown who’s in love with the Clowness, the Little Clown is always ready to play tricks on his associates. Impish and lively, he is both an endearing companion and a force to be reckoned with.
The origins of the Loyal Whistler lie in the classic role of “Mr. Loyal”, the ringmaster of traditional circuses. The Loyal Whistler evokes images of a former military man, one who has retrained in the circus arts but never quite lost his former ways. When he starts to whistle, his boundless artistic passion comes to the fore.
For the White Clown, appearances are what matters most. Like the Loyal Whistler, he is an authority figure … at least, he’d like to be. Of all the colourful characters, he admires only the stars and scorns the others. It is the White Clown who opens the door to the magic of the circus for the Dead Clown.