The Clown of God—A Stunning Spectacle of Commedia Dell’arte


Jack Shadden '24

Before the semester ends, make sure to catch a performance of Chaminade Drama’s all-school production The Clown of God—a classic retelling of a French legend that revolves around the themes of hard work, perseverance, Italian culture, and religion. Set in the Italian town of Sorrento during the Renaissance, this play by Tomie de Paola follows an exceptional juggler named Giovanni through three stages of his life. The story begins with an orphaned and homeless Giovanni using his wonderful talent of juggling to help local vendors sell their food. When he witnesses a traveling troupe Commedia dell’arte performers, he realizes his true calling for performance and begs to travel with them. As time goes on, Giovanni navigates life as a performer as he encounters various challenges on his journey and learns to overcome them. Through its compelling performances and emotional climaxes, The Clown of God teaches the lesson of sharing our gifts, talents, and passions with the world.

To provide further insight into this production, I asked Jane Nordmann (Visitation Academy, ‘25) to answer a few questions about her experience as stage manager for Tomie de Paola’s The Clown of God. On her experience as a stage manager, she said that the most difficult part of managing this show was “remembering people’s blocking, especially since so many people have been sick and the breaks have made it difficult. There are also a lot of cool pieces in this show, and navigating that with the kids has been interesting.” As for her favorite moments in the play, Jane said that it was a difficult decision: “There are some fun scenes where the boys get to juggle, and that’s really exciting to watch. There are also dramatic scenes between our love interest characters, and those are great too.” She continued by saying that “[The Clown of God] is a show that talks about what is important in life in a different way—through juggling and Italian accents. That’s what makes it so special.” To conclude this interview, Jane was asked which three words she would use to describe The Clown of God, to which she responded “exciting, insightful, and dramatic.”

The Clown of God will be performed on December 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th in The Little Theatre in the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts. General admission tickets are now available online, starting at $5 for children and $12 for adults. Chaminade students are granted free admission, but tickets must still be purchased online to reserve seating. No tickets will be sold at the performance, so make sure to purchase tickets at the site online!