No laughing matter

At the Israel Children’s Festival in Holon, a play about clowns reveals the pathos behind the paint.

May 23, 2013 11:19
2 minute read.

Démodés. (photo credit: Courtesy)

As the saying goes, laughter is no laughing matter. To the three performers of Démodés, this statement is a kind of mantra that follows them to stages around the world. Their show, which brings the trials and travails of three sad clowns to children’s theater, will open this coming week as part of the Israel Children’s Festival in Holon. A product of Spain’s Companyia Cia La Tal and acclaimed director Leandre Ribera, the performance blends satire, slapstick and a touch of nostalgia.

Démodés literally means “out of fashion.” The clown characters presented in the show are a special breed of relics, out of work, out of makeup, broke and without an audience. They are at once pathetic, clever, funny and unstoppable. For creator Ribera, this play on performance held great intrigue.

“I want to bring the audience into contact with this magical world and the particular universe of the show,” he said in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Ribera has been honing his skills as a performer for nearly three decades. He has taken part in countless productions, showcasing talents from mime to movement to comedy. In 1993, while busking in Australia, he discovered the notion of street theater. Captivated, he went on to research the genre, and within a few short years he was firmly embedded in the outdoor performance community. Today he is hailed as something of a legend in the field.

Ribera and fellow performers Enric Casso and Jordi Magdaleno created Démodés in 2007 in Spain. Their creative process spanned six months; however, the show continues to evolve with every performance. With no particular age group in mind during creation, Démodés has been enjoyed by children of all ages, not to mention their parents. In Ribera’s words, “striking the perfect balance between comedy and drama” is the most fulfilling thing about participating in this show.

“Behind clowns, sources of empathy, masters of the absurd, of humor, they who draw me into an inexplicable space-time capsule, who make my tears flow for no reason. Behind clowns, I am surprised to sense over and over again humble people, insignificant we might even say, stubbornly incapable of explaining, outside the ring, the unique magic of their art; individuals who are amazed by the transcendence of their craft, taking refuge in a gag, shocked by the epic proportion that the figure of the clown has in our imagination. It is this thought, these people, who inspire us to create this show,” says Ribera.

This is the eighth year of the annual Israel Children’s Festival at Holon’s Mediatheque, which kicked off last night with a performance by local band Balkan Beat Box. For the festival, the museum invites the best of Israeli and international productions to delight the little ones with magic, miming, dance, songs and theater.

“Once a year it is important to us to focus our efforts also internationally in order to expand the cultural range of our young audiences to direct them on a path that will turn them into quality culture consumers,” explains Alon Safan, director of the Mediatheque compound.

Démodés will run at the Holon Mediatheque on May 29 & 30 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Related Content

Yigal Amir
August 18, 2019
Following talk with singer, Yigal Amir sent to solitary confinement


Cookie Settings