Mockus by George Johnson
“A fairy tale is a very wary tale with a tail that turns, and a fable is able to turn the world inside out and upside down.”
Mockus tells the thrilling tale of a mayor desperate to save his city and the clown who inspires him through a world of imagination. The clown’s antics, and his success, provoke fear and jealousy. Will the mayor and his clown survive, armed only with laughter and love?
Featuring spectacular acrobatics and exhilarating music and dance, Mockus will transport you to the sublime world of the three-ring circus.
In the expressionist play Mockus, a prologue enacts a drive-by shooting by chorus members who then intensely question MAYOR JUAN ANTONIO, as the stage becomes a three-ringed circus: the political, domestic and personal. His woes, including suspicion that his wife FAUSTINA is unfaithful, reach a crisis when an intruder attempts to strangle him at night, an act foiled by the entrance of his daughter SOFIA.
Juan’s chief of security and rival, GARIPISSIMO takes advantage of the attack on Antonio to increase control, but Juan realizes this is not working. During a speech, while being heckled, Antonio’s frustration comes to the fore when he moons his audience, an action perceived as his first honest statement since obtaining office. Although Antonio initially suspects the clown MOCKUS AURELIUS as the perpetrator of the attack, he eventually allows Mockus to perform at his daughter Sofie’s 12th birthday, after which Mockus spurs Antonio on into trying creative and humorous approaches to the problems.
With a touch of magic realism, a mystery unfolds as to how much Mockus actually tells Antonio and how much the Mayor projects his own psyche and trauma onto Mockus. However, Garipissimo, threatened by Mockus’s influence, arrests Mockus as a suspect in the attack on Antonio. While interrogating Mockus, Garipissimo’s strong-arm, PAREDES, shoots Mockus. Despite this tragedy, Antonio finds that he is still uncannily connected with Mockus, possibly his anima, and that Mockus’s influence helps him to achieve a balance between his political, domestic and interior lives.
Keywords: Colombia, circus, clown, expressionist, political, tragi-comedy, environment, social justice
Produced by Chimera Theatre, Kamloops BC, February 2017, 2020 production at Jupiter Theatre, Calgary AB, postponed due to Covid19
Run time: 105 minutes
Suitable for students 14+
Content note: Not suitable for children, contains scenes of violence
Cast size: 6 actors
Male roles: 3
Female roles: 3
Casting note: The six actors includes doubling of several characters in minor roles. One character, Sofia, is stated to be 11 turning 12, but can be played by an adult.
"A highly original concept of what the world would look like if people learned to be simple and happy.” - Austin Film Festival Playwriting competition judge
"Mockus tells a new story with a unique resolution for solving the world’s impending problems. While the state of Gobota is extreme, unfortunately, the world within this play is not too far from the state of our own world’s reality. Mockus asks its audience to be brave enough to use joy and kindness in finding such solutions. This script demonstrates a great awareness of effective theatrical devices, especially the brilliant inclusion of the Chorus… this play will be captivating.” - Austin Film Festival Playwriting competition judge