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Humor Abuse with Lorenzo Pisoni opens Seattle Rep season

Lorenzo Pisoni in Humor Abuse, courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club
Lorenzo Pisoni in Humor Abuse, courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club
Joan Marcus

Humor Abuse opens Seattle Rep 2011-2012 season

Who: Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Humor Abuse, created by Lorenzo Pisoni and Erica Schmidt, directed by Erica Schmidt

What: A funny, touching, acrobatic new play based on Pisoni’s unusual childhood in the Pickle Family Circus

Where: Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Bagley Wright Theatre

When: Sept. 30-Oct. 23, 2011 (Previews: Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 2, 4; Opening Night: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011)

Seattle, WA – While other kids dreamed of running away to join the circus, Lorenzo Pisoni was dreaming about running away from it. Pisoni spent his early years learning pratfalls, popping out of a trunk, and mastering juggling with his father’s Pickle Family Circus. Now an acclaimed actor and former Cirque du Soleil ringmaster, Pisoni’s funny, touching, acrobatic new play opens Seattle Repertory Theatre’s 2011-2012 season. Humor Abuse plays for three weeks only—Sept. 30-Oct. 23, 2011—in Seattle Rep’s Bagley Wright Theatre.

Tickets are available now through the Seattle Rep Box Office at 206-443-2222 as well as online.

“If you can imagine a circus in the Bagley, that is what you’re going to see,” said Seattle Rep Artistic Director Jerry Manning. “It’s colorful and bright, there’s always an element of danger, and Lorenzo is an acrobat. To see someone showing us acrobatics, but melding it with beautifully written text…it’s a heady combination.”

Humor Abuse had a successful run at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2009; Variety called it “funny, entirely theatrical and performed by somebody demonstrating (and deconstructing) his maniacal devotion to a difficult craft.” The Seattle Rep production is produced in association with American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and Pisoni will take the show there after the Seattle run.

The West Coast locations aren’t random: Pisoni’s father’s Pickle Family Circus was formed in 1974 in San Francisco, part of the revival of small, family-owned circus companies. Renowned actor and clown Bill Irwin was also part of the circus. Pisoni’s father, Larry, now lives in Seattle.

Pisoni has since gone on to appear on Broadway (in Equus as Nugget) and at Seattle Rep in The Great Gatsby and Tuesdays with Morrie. This is the first piece he’s written. He collaborated with friend and director Erica Schmidt (whose work includes As You Like It for The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival) to turn his memories into “a poignant love song to his father and a coming-of-age story,” Schmidt said in American Theatre Magazine.

Special Event: Circus 101, Saturday, October 8, noon-1:30 p.m.
Bring kids ages 9-16 to Seattle Rep before the matinee performance for a free circus workshop with teachers from Teatro ZinZanni. Learn juggling, basic tricks, and more at this fun and interactive special event. Tickets for children 16 and under for the 2 p.m. matinee to follow are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Performance Details:
Performances of Humor Abuse are at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, with 2 p.m. matinees on most Saturdays and Sundays and select Wednesdays. There is a Captioned Performance on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.; an Audio-Describedperformance Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.; and an American Sign Language (ASL)-interpreted performance on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. Post-play discussions will be held after the performances on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. The Pay-What-You-Can Performance is Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The Crew Event (social networking party for young professionals) is Friday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

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Humor Abuse Fact Sheet

WHAT: Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Humor Abuse, created by Lorenzo Pisoni and Erica Schmidt, directed by Erica Schmidt, produced in association with American Conservatory Theater

WHEN: Sept. 30-Oct. 23, 2011 (Opening Night: Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.)
Performance times: Wednesday–Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
with select Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m. (no matinees during previews)

WHERE: Seattle Repertory Theatre is located at Seattle Center at the corner of Second Ave. and Mercer St., Seattle, Washington.

TICKETS: Tickets to Humor Abuse are now on sale and range from $15-$64. Anyone 25 and under may purchase tickets for only $12 for any performance (with ID – call for details). Discounted tickets for groups of ten or more may be purchased by calling 206-443-2224. For ticket reservations, call the Seattle Repertory Theatre Box Office at 206-443-2222 or toll-free at 877-900-9285, or go online.

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