Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Summer Theatre 2013  

After nearly four years on tour with Cirque du Soleil, master clown Jesse Buck is bringing his innovative one-man hit show BUBKUS, back to his hometown, to celebrate the show’s ten-year anniversary. BUBKUS will be performed in Ottawa as part of the Gladstone Theatre’s One Night Only series, on July 12, 2013 (with Artbeat Theatre Group’s, Barely Even There).
The purpose of BUBKUS is to show the audience the beauty and possibility of a play without words. The word “bubkus” is Yiddish for “nothing”, and BUBKUS was in fact created out of nothing. Using only a blanket, a pillow and a toothbrush, Jesse’s clown takes the audience through an epic fairytale, featuring fearsome snakes, giants, and dark magic. It is a timeless story told only with play and imagination.

With BUBKUS, Jesse’s clown envelopes the audience in a world of make-believe that can simultaneously be beautiful and alarming, joyous and tragic. As the story unfolds, Jesse’s clown begins to lose himself in his own fantasy and must fight to retain control of his own creation.
Originally created in 2003 by Jesse Buck and Micheal John Dubue, BUBKUS has developed into a mature and provocative piece over its ten years. Nevertheless, Jesse’s outrageous energy still drives the story along at a breakneck pace, leaving the audience little time to catch their breath between laughs. Now directed by Jesse’s long-time clown collaborator and Cirque colleague, Aron De Casmaker, Jesse is pleased to usher BUBKUS into a new, more evocative direction. While highly entertaining, BUBKUS also retains a purity and honesty that reflect this artist’s broad range and in-depth training. So much more than just funny, BUBKUS has all the value of the classic fairytale, including haunting lessons of choice and consequence in the true spirit of the Brothers Grimm.
Throughout its decade-long run, Jesse has performed BUBKUS to much acclaim twice at the Ottawa Arts Court Theatre, at the Toronto Clown Festival, the Uno Festival in Victoria, the Pivot Theatre Festival in Whitehorse, the New York Clown Theatre Festival, the North American Clown Festival in Nanjing, China, and most recently at the Black Box Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Cirque du Soleil’s clown,
Jesse Buck, brings BUBKUS home to Ottawa for its 10th anniversary.
“These are things that make you appreciate live theatre all
over again…it is always nice to leave the theatre lighter than when you entered it.” Chris Harcum,
“…this actor is a whirlwind of breathless energy…you have to
see Jesse Buck.” Alvina Ruprecht, CBC Radio
For almost twenty years, Jesse has been creating, studying and performing in the styles of Clown, Bouffon and physical theatre, and has created more than twenty-five full-length theatre pieces. Jesse is currently completing a four-year tour as the principal clown in Cirque du Soliel’s, Alegria, where he performed to millions in close to 1200 shows, throughout 123 cities and 25 countries. Before Cirque, Jesse began his career by attending Ottawa’s Canterbury Arts High School, where he was a two-time, silver medallist in the Canadian High School Improv Games. Jesse is also a graduate of the internationally renowned L’École Philippe Gaulier in Paris, France, has studied extensively at the Dell Arte School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California, and has participated in numerous international workshops. He was one of the founding members of Counternotes Theatre Group and Theatrophy Undead Theatre, as well as a performer for organizations including A Company of Fools and Metaphysical Theatre. Jesse is also a veteran performer with Ottawa’s outdoor theatre company, Odyssey Theatre, where he most notably held the title role in Odyssey’s 2005 production of Molière’s Scapin.
BUBKUS will be performed at the Gladstone Theatre, on July 12, 2013, at 7:30pm, and is not recommended for children under 10. Tickets are $15 (for both shows).
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Photo by: Petr Maur