Burnt Tongue runs Oct. 25 to 29 to finish the 50th Anniversary Alumni Festival. Visit finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/phoenix/ for ticket and showtime information.

Burnt Tongue runs Oct. 25 to 29 to finish the 50th Anniversary Alumni Festival. Visit finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/phoenix/ for ticket and showtime information.

Spontaneous clown anchors Phoenix festival

Third solo show finishes season-opening alumni showcase

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, including the adult antics of Shannan Calcutt’s clown character Izzy.

Writer, actor, instructor and clown extraordinaire Calcutt is a decade-long Las Vegas performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. The show’s co-comedic director and the clown coach for Cirque’s resident shows, Calcutt is best known as Izzy, the charming and radiant clown with the keen sense of timing and a razor sharp wit.

“I’m doing Izzy in Vegas but she’s certainly more grown up than she is in the play I’m bringing to UVic,” Calcutt said in a phone call from Vegas.

In Burnt Tongue, Izzy met a man on the internet. She decides he’s ‘the one’ and arrives for their blind date wearing a wedding dress.

“She’s just very prepared to be spontaneous. She’s ready so anything can happen,” Calcutt said.

It’s a return to the Island and a return to the show. The last time Calcutt performed Burnt Tongue was in Halifax more than a decade ago when it was filmed for Singular series.

She’s been back to UVic a number of times, as a guest artist in the early 2000s, and to teach a handful of clown intensives followed by performances.

“I have been back but it’s been at least 11 years. I am very excited to come back. It’s going to be very fun,” she said. “I love to be on the Island. It’s a pretty different feeling than being here. I’m looking forward to that sense of community.”

Burnt Tongue, co-written by Sue Morrison, has been running since 1999 and anchors the trio of solo shows that make the 50th Anniversary Alumni Festival at Phoenix Theatre.

Forever intertwined by their UVic connections, the alumni festival started with the the One-Man Marathon of Charlie Ross, which was directed by TJ Dawe who then took on the second show with The Slipknot.

“I’m honoured. They are extraordinary artists and incredible human beings as well,” Calcutt said. “We were all there at the same time. We all worked together, we were all in shows together and have and a relationship since the Phoenix.”

In the early days she wound up working in Barkerville with Charlie, and then just recently had him out to Vegas where he was working with her husband. They stay connected, and perhaps in part because of the similarities of how each crafted a career.

“TJ and Charlie and I have made our own breaks. For me I was interested in viewing my own work,” Calcutt said. A former mime teacher phrased it best: “He said ‘Why would you wait for someone to cast you in their project which you don’t believe in, which you’re not inspired to do, and work with someone who is not top top in his field.’ It was an eye opener.

“All three of us create our own material and tour it on a large scale, distance I mean. It’s huge. Even if you’re an actor who really wants to be cast in mainstream theatre a show of your own is a huge showcase.”

She’s grateful for her opportunities to first be a student, then guest instructor at UVic and anticipates a fond return, hopefully featuring a few familiar faces.

“UVic is a really special place. It’s one of those things where you leave and in reflection have an even greater sense of respect. To be invited back … and that they’re doing this big festival it’s an honour,” she said. “It’s a fun homecoming. UVic to me has always been a real sense of community. Everybody really wanted you to do well so it’s a special place to be.”

Each performance features a post-show talk back with the artist, quite a departure from Vegas. She goes from entertaining 1,300 a night to the more intimate Bishop Theatre.

“I’m also very excited about having that intimate opportunity to meet people and connect with them. … People have always connected so strong with Izzy,” she said. “I think that’s going to be very refreshing for me.”

 

Burnt Tongue runs Oct. 25 to 29 to finish the 50th Anniversary Alumni Festival. Visit finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/phoenix/ for ticket and showtime information.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests: Greater Victoria teacher union

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read