Not Just Some Clown from New York City

Mark Gindick brings his 'Wing-Man' to Austin

Up in the air, junior birdman.
Up in the air, junior birdman.

The thing is, Gindick is a clown – but he's a professional clown.

And by "clown," we don't mean he's a stand-up comedian. We mean Mark Gindick is a Clown, capital C, one of those classic purveyors of physical comedy that you see at the circus – except with a modern spin, the sort of style that's landed him on "The Late Show with David Letterman," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," the Fringe Festival stages at Edinburgh, the big-top spotlights at Ringling Brothers and the Big Apple Circus and –

We'll cut the rap sheet short and just note that what Gindick – the recipient of three Golden Nose Awards – is presenting this week at Salvage Vanguard Theatre is Wing-Man, the work that won 'Best One-Man Show' at the United Solo Theatre Festival.

[Note: Those performances are Wed.-Fri., Jan. 2-4, at 8pm.]

But what brings the man to Austin in the first place, right? Gindick's not currently on tour, he's just decided to brighten the stage at SVT because – why?

Because Caitlin Reilly invited him, that's why. And that's Caitlin Reilly of Schave and Reilly, Austin's own popular, husband-and-wife team of clowning professionals. And what led Reilly (who'll be doing a solo performance of her own as an opener for Wing-Man each night) to extend the invitation?

"Mark himself," says Reilly. "He's been performing and workshopping Wing-Man with the idea of running it off-Broadway at some point and was looking around for places to perform where he's not known. I was looking for a project – I've not been doing much since our son was born – and somehow it all worked out, thanks in part to SVT, Gnap! Theater Projects, and Shannon McCormick, who are partnering with us to bring him here."

So: A chance to catch Mark Gindick cutting his acclaimed capers onstage (and an opportunity for aspiring clowns to take a Physical Comedy workshop with him, too). With, as noted, the bonus of a performance by the ever-delightful Caitlin Reilly. But – why no Ben Schave this time?

"Ben's always encouraging me to do some solo clown work, since I always work in a partnership situation," says Reilly. "Frankly, working solo scares the pants off me. And so, here I am: Making it happen."

Depending on the success of this event, Reilly might be making similar things happen in the future.

"I'd love to keep bringing excellent clown theater to Austin," she says. "We don't get much of it here, and there's some amazing clown and physical theater being performed all over the world. There are performers such as David Gaines (7(x1)Samurai), Yanomi Shoshinz (Miss Hiccup), and the Happy Hour clown trio, who are performing very successfully at theater festivals. Their work is refined, funny, touching, skilled, and beautiful. I think Austin audiences are very ready for it."

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Mark Gindick, Wing-Man, Caitlin Reilly, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Gnap! Theatre Projects, Golden Nose Awards

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