an Improv Solo

Nick Trotter performs a new iteration of the solo Circo de Nada improv form, in advance of his trip to the Alaska State Improv Festival!

This special half-hour show at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse is the proving ground for new elements in the form. The show features a buy-one-get-one ticket deal, using the code TALKINGHANDS at checkout, and the Voodoo bar will be serving drink specials including the custom cocktail The Talking Hand.


We are sad to announce that the show has been cancelled for February/March 2019. We hope to mount it this summer. Stay tuned!

Fusing the dramatic territories of Clown and Tragedy, this gut-wrenching piece of physical theatre explores the liminal state between balance and falling, and the consequences of the human heart’s choice between the two. Arising from Trotter’s own experience with addiction, anxiety and insomnia, Idiopathic is a hallucinatory vision of a life whose purpose and meaning have eroded from within, and whose stability has become simply impossible.

The title is a term used by doctors and scientists to identify diseases or conditions that they can’t explain: the literal translation from classical Greek is “self-caused”. It is an assertion of nonsense, a surrender to absurdity in the face of our own ignorance and misunderstanding. This show explores the emotional condition of cycles, of actions that apparently have no beginning—and no end. If we don’t know how we get into these cycles, how can we find out way out? Is there a way out at all? Or is our condition congenital: is our Self, in fact, the cause?

The player is presented in a fractured vision of the Clown, with a red nose and the wreckage of whiteface. Clowns are often maligned as fake and trite, or as blandly “scary”. But they have the potential to illuminate the extreme difficulties of the human condition with humor and poetry. By offering themselves up for public humiliation, they can turn degradation inside out and produce empathy. 

The music for the show, partly composed and partly improvised, is a collaboration between Nick Trotter and Saladin Thomas, who will be performing live during this production. The instruments are circular saw blades, rusted brake drums, sheet metal and other found objects and noisemakers. This junk: broken, corroded, and used against the intentions that created it, replaces the notion of charming harmonies and melodies with the sound of what is cast off from human activity, and is therefore an echo of real human experience.

Principle artists include:

Nick Trotter is a graduate of the MFA program at Dell'Arte International in California, and has also trained at the Boulder Circus Center with Giovanni Fusetti, and at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He specializes in Clown, Bouffon, Commedia dell'Arte, and puppetry, and is a mask and nose maker. His project Circo de Nada regularly performs improv at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse in Denver, and he also teaches Mask, Commedia and Clown classes in Denver. He performs as King Henry and Falstaff, and created shadow puppets, in Henry Four, an adaptation of Shakespeare's King Henry the Fourth parts I & II, a production he created with Amy Driesler.

Saladin Thomas is a freelance musician and improviser. He is the drummer for the local band To Be Astronauts, and performs in the Dinner Detectives interactive murder-mystery show, and with the improv group Full Spectrum.


Henry Four

2019 Production

We are planning a full production for Denver and Portland in 2019! Stay tuned for details!

We are actively fundraising for this show! Please visit our page at Fractured Atlas, our fiscal sponsor! Some donations are tax-deductible. Contact us for information.