Some artists thrive by taking risks, exploring unknown territory, living on the edge. The title character in The Snow Clown takes this literally, flying tiny planes out to Eskimo villages in the dead of winter to teach kids who have never seen a circus. The unforgiving tundra and triple-digit wind chill are the least of his worries as he navigates a world where traditional Yup’ik culture is fighting off TV America and missionary teachers.
Years later, the Snow Clown finds himself in Nebraska, America’s Heartland, performing a comedy about the Holocaust and his father’s suicide. It doesn’t go well. He is a Jewish artist out on the plains where Jews are as rare as buffalo but burning crosses are not. Using skills he honed on the Alaskan tundra, he writes plays with students that blow the lid off of “Nebraska Nice” and eventually get him run out of town.
Jeff Raz has performed nationally and internationally for decades, starring in circuses (Cirque du Soleil, Pickle Family Circus and more) and plays, including Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors on Broadway. He is a graduate of Dell’Arte International, has written 15 plays and has directed dozens of circus, puppet and theater productions. He co-founded Vaudeville Nouveau in 1982, the S.F. New Vaudeville Festival in 1985, The New Pickle Family Circus in 1993, The Clown Conservatory in 2000 and the Medical Clown Project in 2010. His first book, The Secret Life of Clowns, was launched at the Smithsonian in 2017; his second book, The Snow Clown, is hot off the presses. Jeff continues to write, perform, direct, and teach as well as work globally as a communications consultant with Stand & Deliver.