Fringe Festivals have firmly taken root in the world of arts festivals and with its nascent beginning in Hawai’i it has introduced the community to this worldwide event. So it is with great excitement that a homegrown show is off to Santa Cruz Fringe Festival.
In 2012, Tara Mariquita Makua A.K.A Kachuzzi the Clown with director Enda Breadon and cast member La Femme Rikita premiered Kachuzzi Presentare! at O’ahu Fringe Festival. On the eve of their departure to Santa Cruz we put forward some fringey questions to Tara.
Tell me about the origin of Kachuzzi the Clown?
I discovered the clown within me when I was studying theater at New York University in the 1990’s. Clowning is about stripping away layers of socialization and inhibition and discovering the pure person underneath it all. But it wasn’t until I was a mom in Hawai’i that Kachuzzi got her name. My daughter was a little toddler and she couldn’t say Jacuzzi, it always came out Kachuzzi! I thought, “that sounds like a clown name!”
What is your background in theatre and clown performance?
I started with dance when I was a child and in my teenage years found that theater was more meaningful for me because it incorporated story. I was blessed to study De’ll Arte in a special program they did for youth while still in high school. Then I went to New York University and studied at the Experimental Theater Wing, or ETW. This was a program for actors, which centered on physical theater, choreography, self-scripting, creating contemporary, experimental, and personal theater. We used techniques developed by Anne Bogart, Meisner, Grotowski, Feldenkrais and many more.
When did the idea of going to Santa Cruz Fringe start?
When we performed at the O’ahu Fringe Festival in 2012 a scout approached us. He was recruiting applicants for a trio of fringe festivals which were popping up in California. We decided to apply to Santa Cruz because it’s a great town and many other reasons having to do with family, money and schedule.
What challenges have you encountered this time around in gearing up to do another Fringe Festival?
Well, the biggest thing has been raising the money. It costs a lot more to fly everybody to the mainland than to just drive down the street. We did a Kickstarter campaign for both shows but the first time we only set our goal at $500. We ended up making almost twice that much! This time we needed to raise $4,000 just to cover the basics. We almost didn’t make it! It was pretty stressful, but in the end we did make it, thanks to the help of many friends and family members. Being supported like that has been so rewarding and humbling.
What can the audiences at Santa Cruz Fringe expect from Kachuzzi Presentare!?
The show is just under an hour long. There are two characters in it, one that speaks a gibberish dialect of Italian and one who doesn’t speak at all. They are both women. There is a lot of audience interaction, some dance and even a little bit of martial arts. But mostly it’s a lot of good old-fashioned self-effacing clowning.
Kachuzzi Presentare! deals with a very specific topic. What was the motivation behind this?
This show is about the ridiculous state of modern womanhood in our culture. It makes a mockery out of our societies unrealistic and frankly misogynistic pressures on women. The motivation is that I am a woman. In clowning “you are your game” as Arne Zaslove says. In my life I have always been interested in female empowerment, self-love and sisterhood. As women in this time we are under an incredible amount of pressure to be flawlessly beautiful, successful professionally, financially independent and also to have children and run a household which lives up to a certain caliber of cleanliness and organization which is honestly just not realistic. And the most interesting part of this to me is asking the question “what are we giving up in this relentless pursuit of perfection?” We have become jealous, mean spirited and competitive and lost our sense of compassion, friendship and playfulness. These are undervalued in our culture but the message of Kachuzzi Presentare! is that they are precious and worth holding on to.
How excited are you in going to Santa Cruz Fringe?
I’m elated! This has always been a dream of mine, to travel and perform…kind of like running off with the circus! Santa Cruz is such a beautiful place with the redwoods and the ocean, and I can use a break from the pressures of motherhood, running a business and being flawlessly beautiful all the time! Haha!
After this, what will you be working on next?
I’m glad that people like the show and I am proud of what we have created. But when I watch myself I see so much room for improvement. After this festival I want to get back to basics. Give Kachuzzi a rest and let her mellow out…I feel she has gotten more manic than I can handle. In the meantime I want to work on improving my physical strength and flexibility because clowning is really a physical art and like an athlete or acrobat the clown must maintain the highest caliber of wellness.
Thank you so much. O’ahu Fringe Festival wishes Kachuzzi Presentare! all the very best.