LAKE BUENA VISTA – Drawn to Life, presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney, invites you to explore the enchanting profession of clowning with this behind-the-scenes look at its talented clowns in honor of International Clown Week from August 1 to 7, 2023. These skilled performers take on the roles of key characters in the show, adding to the storytelling and creating an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages.
Drawn to Life is a unique collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and Disney, combining Cirque’s breathtaking artistry with Disney’s timeless storytelling. This captivating show takes the audience on an immersive journey through the art of Disney animation in Cirque’s signature production style.
“Aside from infusing the show with laughter, emotion and enchantment, our clowns play an integral part in the storytelling of Drawn to Life,” said Heather Reilly, Company Manager for Drawn to Life. “Each of our clowns accompanies the main character, Julie, on her road of self-discovery by either guiding, teaching or even interfering with her journey.”
Clowns have an age-old origin, flourishing in ancient Greece and Rome as buffoons who parodied serious characters and engaged in physical humor. Over time and with the influence of various cultures, different types of clowns emerged, each having distinctive costumes and signature characteristics. Among these were the Arlecchino of the Italian commedia dell’arte and the English clown, which drew inspiration from characters in medieval mystery plays. Contrary to popular belief, clowns are not always funny; their versatility in humor and emotion makes them powerful storytellers in the worlds of circus and theater, evoking a wide range of emotions beyond just laughter.
“Circus is a mesmerizing tapestry of storytelling, and clowns are among its most integral storytellers,” said Guerassim Dichliev, the talented physical actor behind Mr. Pencil, one of the show’s principal characters. “Drawing inspiration from various theatrical styles and the everyday experiences of life, we explore the boundaries of humor and emotion, infusing our characters and performances with poetic depth and complexity. This allows to evoke a wide range of feelings, captivating and connecting with the audience through relatability and by tapping into the free-spirited essence within each of them—a nostalgic connection to the childlike wonder of life.”
Each character in Drawn to Life has a unique story and personality, especially the clowns. Dichliev, as Mr. Pencil, takes on the role of a lucky pencil that sketched great moments in Julie’s father’s life and is now guiding Julie through her quest. Miss Hésitation is a bulbous ball of crumpled paper, feeding Julie’s self-doubt—but beneath her villainous veneer lies a soul of compassion and warmth. Lastly, the four Animators—who pay tribute to Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, the icons of Disney Animation—befriend Julie on her journey, teaching her the principles of animation and helping her complete her father’s unfinished drawing.
The clowns in Drawn to Life embody various types, such as the clown blanc—a clever and sophisticated, often a leader or “boss”—and the Auguste clown—clumsy, curious and accidentally mischievous, often getting into trouble. Mr. Pencil and Miss Hesitation are considered clown blanc as they both attempt to guide the main character on her journey (although one positively and the other negatively). In contrast, the Animators are considered Auguste clowns. Although they help teach Julie the principles of animation, their teaching style is innocently and joyously chaotic, comedic and all-around fun.
Additionally, many of the clowns in Drawn to Life are also skilled and experienced in mime—another well-known branch of physical acting—and have infused aspects of the art into their characters. The connection between clowning and mime forms the foundation of physical theater, the art of gestures and expression. Clowns and mimes share common ground in their reliance on non-verbal communication to convey emotions and stories, creating a mesmerizing blend of artistry.
Drawn to Life’s talented and experienced physical actors combine the influence of mime and the different styles of clowning to breathe life into their characters, resulting in a captivating interplay and an entertaining experience filled with laughter and emotions.
This one-of-a-kind show, which has been delighting audiences at Disney Springs West Side since November 2021, is also filled with gravity-defying acrobatics, captivating choreography, new musical arrangements, whimsical characters, unique set design and playful costuming. Drawn to Life reconnects adults to their childlike selves while introducing a new generation to the wonders of Cirque du Soleil and Disney’s hand-drawn animation. At the heart of the story is the love of family and the universally unshakable bond between parents and children that remains undimmed by loss or the passage of time.
It tells the story of the love between a father and a daughter and the inheritance of talent and passion for art, drawing inspiration from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 100-year heritage of storytelling. The show celebrates iconic Disney stories and characters through innovative design, acrobatic performances, dazzling choreography, musical scores and brand-new animation lovingly created by Disney Animation artists.
For more information on show tickets, dates and prices, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/drawn-to-life. For a limited time, with the current Sizzling Summer Savings Offer tickets are available starting at $59 for adults and $44 for children (excluding taxes and applicable fees).