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Cirque du Soleil's Comic Genius

"One of the great and unique performers of our time – of any old time……I do hate to call it "clowning" when in fact he’s no more clown than Chaplin, Keaton, Harpo Marx or Danny Kaye……….
HOYLE raises clowning to new heights, achieving a nongravitational state of airborne brilliance, reinventing, refining, and blending mimicry, mime and monologue, maybe magic, so seamlessly devised."
San Francisco Chronicle

27 years after arriving in the U.S. from England, Geoff Hoyle has made his mark in the worlds of theatre and circus. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area he began performing with the Pickle Family Circus, clowned with Cirque du Soleil and Circus Flora. He has performed his award-winning solo shows "Feast of Fools" and "The Convict’s Return" (commissioned by Berkeley Rep) in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Russia and at various regional theatres in the U.S. and England. He created the role of Zazu (Drama Desk Nomination: Best Featured Actor in a Musical) in the original Broadway cast of the Tony Award winning musical "The Lion King".

Working in classic commedia fashion, the clown Geoff Hoyle and his "midwife" -- as the director Tony Taccone dubs himself -- give birth to antic entertainments that are hard to categorize. "I would call it clown ballet," says Taccone, the artistic director of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where the duo's latest opus, The First Hundred Years, was produced.

Dedicated to raising circus arts to just plain art, they were in the vanguard of the new vaudeville movement. Subsequently Taccone started Hoyle's legit career when he cast him in a Dario Fo farce.

The First Hundred Years promises darker shades of hilarity than Boomer! and Geni(us), two previous original creations. The premise is that an aging clown has made his home in a condemned theater, surrounded by the detritus of his life. Refusing to be evicted, he resists with all his might even as his theater begins to be razed. Taccone sees Beckettian overtones: "It's a little like Buster Keaton meets Krapp's Last Tape."

Film and television appearances include Joyce Chopra's "Smooth Talk" and Robert Altman's "Popeye."

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