David Larible, a world-famous “clown of clowns,” stars in Cirque Musica, a show he says “joins the best of both worlds” of circus acts and classical music.
“It’s a new, exciting combination of the very old craft of circus performing,” Larible says, “and symphonic music.”
Previously a headliner with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circuses, Larible says he joined Cirque Musica because he wanted to do something unusual.
“I get bored,” he says, “and I’m attracted to new challenges.”
With its fusion of classical music, high-wire thrills and circus clowns, Cirque Musica, appearing at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex on Tuesday, provides the excitement Larible seeks.
Growing up in a family that included seven generations of circus performers, Larible decided early on that he wanted to be a clown.
“Charlie Chaplain was my idol,” he says. Larible also admired Charlie Rivel and Oleg Popov, two of the greatest clowns and performers he was able to observe while appearing in European circuses.
Larible performs as an Auguste character clown, which normally involves wearing white paint around the eyes and mouth, or “muzzle,” as well as the traditional bulbous red nose. According to Larible, the full white-face clown represents power and the Auguste clown represents the people.
“I used to wear more exaggerated makeup, but later on, once I become more confident in my ability,” he says, “I started to minimize the paint.”
Larible has performed in Europe, Asia and America, and says that audiences can differ not only from country to country, but state to state.
“The reaction you get from an audience in Alabama, for instance,” he says, “can be different from those in California or Florida.”
His secret as a performer is to adapt to each situation.
“Our role as artists,” he says, “is to give everything you have, every night, to every performance.”
During the Cirque Musica performance, Larible enjoys selecting three random volunteers from the audience to be part of the show.
Videos from previous productions show the newly created members of the production fully engaged in the hilarity of a satirical opera skit.
In the few free moments he has between performances and traveling from city to city, Larible enjoys golfing, going to museums and attending musical performances.
At the age of 56, he is in the prime of his profession, and, while he has no plans to retire, Larible says when the time comes, he’d like to teach.
“I would love to work with young performers and artists,” he says, “and pass the torch to the new generation.”