You are funnier naked", she promises, "metaphorically speaking", of course. Teacher and practitioner of Naked Comedy, a multivariate performance art form including clown, bouffon, physical theatre and improv, Deanna Fleysher (aka Butt Kapinski) has caught our eye as she storms in from Los Angeles to engage Toronto audience at the Toronto Festival of Clowns for the first time ever.
Fleysher discovered her inner clown at age seven midst a humble first performance. As she recalls in the most adorable show business anecdote ever:
"My first acting teacher was a clown, when I was seven. He would throw us on stage and yell SMALL at us, and we would have to be SMALL. He would yell TINY, we would be TINY. Then he would yell MINISCULE!!! I remember being especially MINISCULE!!! and the people watching me were laughing, and I did not know why. But I figured, well, if they are having fun, I must be doing something right. At the very least, I must be really really small. "
From that miniscule seven year old grew a tremendous powerhouse performance act and coaching phenomenon. Fleysher resides in Los Angeles where she directs the Naked Comedy Lab. Unstoppable, she is currently teaching and touring on tour across the continent. In fact, she just arrived from teaching one of her Naked Comedy workshops in Texas, during which she coached performers in "an enticing blend of clown, bouffon, physical theater and improv". The workshop is guided by her core performance principles which are listed on her website and well worth reading. While reading these guidelines for performance, I was actively assessing and motivating changes in my own comedy act so, I want to impress her influence strongly towards you. Her practice is dedicated to the audience, a principle that is so simple and yet, so easy to forget. Now, Fleysher exercises these principles on stage as Butt Kapinski, "an award-winning, noir-loving, gender-troubled clown who wears a trenchcoat and a streetlight strapped to his/her back and goes into crowds and solves mysteries".
You can check out the trailer for her show below. Come see her at this year's Festival of Clowns in Toronto or catch her at the Calgary and Edmonton Fringe Festivals this August as well as The Clutch in Vancouver and UBC Kelowna in October.
For information on her Toronto performances this weekend click here.