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'Circo Comedia' aims to deliver laughs and gasps at Westport stop

Updated 1:47 pm, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
  • Montreal-based Circo Comedia, which features Jean Saucier, above, and Patrick Cote, will perform at the Westport Country Playhouse as part of its Family Festivities series on Sunday, Dec. 15, for two shows. For more information on tickets or show times, visit www.westportplayhouse.org. Contributed photo Photo: Contributed Photo / Stamford Advocate Contributed

    Montreal-based Circo Comedia, which features Jean Saucier, above, and Patrick Cote, will perform at the Westport Country Playhouse as part of its Family Festivities series on Sunday, Dec. 15, for two shows. For more information on tickets or show times, visit www.westportplayhouse.org. Contributed photo

    Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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It's one thing to say you want to join the circus, quite another to do it. But such a distinction was never difficult for Jean Saucier, who early on knew where his talents would take him.

"I was always interested in the circus," said Saucier, who grew up in Montreal, where he still lives.

With his eyes on the prize, he made a crucial purchase at age 11 -- that of a unicycle, which he quickly mastered. In fact, it was the vehicle of choice as he made his rounds on his newspaper delivery route.

Such talent, it would seem, eventually seeks a broader audience. And, after years of teaching himself the acrobatic and juggling skills he would need, his dream came true. At 18, he was accepted into the Ecole National du Cirque de Montreal, and not long afterward was accepted into Cirque du Soleil.

"I was very lucky," he said during a recent interview. "I was able to start with Cirque du Soleil right at the beginning."

That was about 30 years ago, and, in that time, Saucier has increasingly honed his talents, becoming a master balancing artist, acrobat and juggler, as well as a trick cyclist.

Still, all those feats of daring have served less as a way to amaze -- even though they do -- and more as a way to serve the comedy that Saucier has always wanted to deliver.

"For me, the acrobatics and the skills are more there as a set up for the comedy," he said.

For the past 10 years, Saucier has teamed with a fellow multitalented performer, Patrick Cote, to bring "Circo Comedia" to stages across North America.

Saucier promises tricks, daring feats and magic, but don't expect him to crack a smile when it comes to the humor in the show. As the straight man, he must deal with the bumbling efforts of Cote, who takes on the role of burlesque clown, drummer and, when needed, expert roller skater.

"Sometimes Patrick's character gets carried away with the excitement of being on stage and forgets his cues," Saucier said, laughing. "He does his best, but sometimes he is a little awkward."

The award-winning duo is set to perform on Sunday, Dec. 15, at Westport Country Playhouse as part of its Family Festivities series.

"It is really a mix of comedy, physical comedy and circus acts," Saucier said. "There is also a part of the show that is improvised ... which is always a place for surprise. It helps to keep the show fresh and dynamic."

The show serves as a way to bring new and innovative children's theater to the playhouse stage, said Angela Marroy Boerger, director of education and community programs for the playhouse.

"For our December show, we wanted something that was festive and a bit of a spectacle," she said.

"We are very excited about the show," she said, adding that both men play their roles to "fantastic comic effects."

And it is the humor that Saucier hopes audiences will enjoy as much as the tricks.

"I think think it is a good mix and a good match for our talents," he said.

Christina.hennessy@scni.com; Twitter: @xtinahennessy

Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport. Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 and 4 p.m. $20. 203-227-4177, 888-927-7529, www.westportplayhouse.org.