BILLOSOPHY: LIFE, CIRCUS, DEATH (Bill Forchion): 2016 Fringe review 58

Bill Forchion. Photo credit: Vincent Cotnoir.

Bill Forchion. Photo credit: Vincent Cotnoir.

A likeable guy with a positive message, Bill Forchion combines the key points of his autobiography with his life-affirming philosophy in BILLOSOPHY, a one-hour existentialist monologue filled with expressive movement, colorful costumes, funny props, apropos music, and audience participation. Presented by Dreamcatcher Entertainment, the affable performer, dressed as a clown, is prompted by the voice of God (Zebulon Forchion) to reflect on the big question “Why am I here?” while waiting backstage for his show to begin.

Under the direction of Peter Gould, Forchion’s delivery is slow-paced and deliberate as he recounts in words, action, and mime death-defying episodes from his career with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, his work as a juggler with Cirque du Soleil, and his time as a lifeguard. He then becomes loud and impassioned in his calling as a minister, as he preaches and proclaims “You’re livin’, you’re livin’, you’re livin’!” While some of his experiences have been out of the ordinary, those that seem to have affected him the most deeply are common and universal, from watching TV as a child, to losing a friend, to fearing mortality. In the end, he directs us to cry, but makes us laugh, while comically enacting his own funeral and leaving us with the fervent exhortation to live. Amen to that!

[Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, 5904 Greene Street] September 15-24, 2016;

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.