BLS Theatre’s “Clown Show” Is No Joke


BLS Theatre clowns around in A Clown Show About Rain. (Source: Alex Strand (II)

Overalls, camping chairs, sandwiches and… silence? All are vital components of the Boston Latin School Theatre Department’s production of A Clown Show About Rain. A sharp contrast from their other productions, BLS Theatre’s newest piece is silent, with the exception of a monologue towards the end. Despite the new production style, the show has been met with appreciation and success both at home in the Black Box and on the road at competition.

A Clown Show About Rain was originally created and staged by Silent Faces, an English theatre company that specializes in using clown and physical theatre in a political context. The idea for a BLS production of Clown Show was conceived at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018. Deeply inspired by the performance, Head of BLS Theatre Department Mr. Joseph Gels acquired an exclusive script from the creators themselves. With some minor adjustments to its duration, BLS Theatre released its own version of the show, making them the second group ever to stage this unique play. “It’s a beautiful show,” remarks Mr. Gels, “It’s really so solid on every level.”

After countless hours of hard work, BLS Theatre took the show to competition at the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Festival (METG). The group set out for Brockton High School on March 19 to face 84 other schools in a preliminary round. Students and faculty alike were elated to return to the festival in person, and that excitement translated into a stellar performance. They emerged victorious and advanced to the final round, where they were chosen as the METG 2022 regional winners. Co-director Gwen Trueblood (I) reflects, “It was a big, proud moment.” 

The show delivers a message of the significance of mental health. By the final scene, the struggling characters find the support they need in each other’s friendship. Trueblood explains, “I think it’s just telling a story about the importance of letting other people into your heart.” The play’s themes of mental health and friendship strike a chord with the BLS community. Here, conversations on mental health are no novelty, and the play manages to capture these same struggles that students have in a more hopeful light.

A Clown Show About Rain was such a success that BLS Theatre gave an encore performance on April 1. If you missed the show, a recording of this final show will be available on YouTube. 

Although this production is now a wrap, the curtain has yet to close on discussions of mental health at BLS. As the play emphasizes, it is essential to communicate these struggles and foster healing through strong networks of support. Reflecting on the sense of unity she felt among the audience, Mirabelle Berman Reinhardt (II) says, “I realized that even though sometimes it feels like you’re the only one feeling something, there’s likely more people close to you experiencing the exact same thing. […] Even though you can’t make it magically go away, having other people to lean on will get you through the toughest times.”

If you or anyone you know is grappling with mental health difficulties, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the people around you and your guidance counselors. While it may seem like a long, lonely road at times, BLS Theatre continues to affirm that even in the darkest moments, the arts never fail to bring us together.