Larry Clark says he has a very clear picture of who he is and who he isn't. The lifelong performer who once juggled chainsaws on tour with Nine Inch Nails has been a sideshow geek, a circus clown, a daredevil, and a burlesque performer. A Memphian through and through, he got his start in show business working at Libertyland performing a jungle-themed comedy act.
"I've never really seen myself as an illusionist," says Clark, who has been the host clown for Ringling Brothers and has driven nails up his nose for Jim Rose. "I've just never seen myself like that — up on stage with the wind blowing my hair around like David Copperfield. But when you've been doing something for a long time and you know who you are, you start to ask, 'What if that was me?' What would that sort of thing be like if I did it?'"
Clark will answer that question and give audiences a taste of life inside a circus sideshow when he opens "Theater Bizarre!" this week at TheatreWorks. It's his second one-man show.
"There won't be as much juggling this time," says Clark, whose previous shows have attracted capacity crowds to see this world-renowned clown do his thing. "Most of the things I'm doing this time around are brand new. They've never been road-tested." So there may not be any flying chainsaws, but there will be glass walking. And while there may be no wind machines to muss Clark's pompadour, there will be illusions.
"JustLarry's Theater Bizarre!" at TheatreWorks, Friday-Saturday, January 31st-February 2nd, 8 p.m. $10. theaterbizarre.brownpapertickets.com