Lorenzo Pisoni has a bit in Humor Abuse when he explains that circus folk don't say goodbye to one another after the makeup is scrubbed off, the backdrop is lowered, and the props are packed away. Instead, they say, "See you down the road." It is a fitting farewell to give Lorenzo now that the San Francisco run of his heartfelt and hilarious one-man circus story has come to a close. This was not his first time on the A.C.T. stage; it is unlikely it will be his last. Still, it is bittersweet to see this joyful show come to an end. Thankfully, the beauty of working in theater is that there is no time to wallow, especially when Wajdi Mouawad's thrilling Scorched is being brought over to the theater at this very moment!
Look for more Scorched posts soon, but before Humor Abuse rides off into the sunset, it has one final gift for you. Those of you who saw the show—and we hope all of you did!—know that during every performance Lorenzo Pisoni (acting as his father, Larry Pisoni, acting in his clown role, Lorenzo Pickle) chose a volunteer from the audience to help him with the impossible task of retrieving a balloon that had floated away. In her daily performance reports, stage manager extraordinaire Hannah Cohen recounted each hilarious encounter. Below are some of our absolute favorites. And thanks again to Lorenzo, Hannah, and director Erica Schmidt: We'll see you down the road!
Lorenzo Pisoni in Humor Abuse. Production photo by Chris Bennion.
1/12 Evening Performance
Fantastic first preview tonight! We are all thrilled to be working on this wonderful show again. Thanks to everyone here in San Francisco for welcoming us and working so hard this last week. The audience tonight was great. They applauded Lorenzo's first entrance and kept it up though out the show. They especially liked Little Lorenzo and the Staircase Act. The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a good sport. Lorenzo complimented her on her fancy scarf and pretty hair. When Lorenzo tried to boost her up to get the balloon she pushed down on him so much that he did the splits and fell over. She couldn't stop laughing and blew him a kiss on the way back to her seat.
1/14 Matinee Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was fantastic. He was an older gentleman with a great laugh. He was very excited that Lorenzo chose him, so they had to do some breathing exercises to calm down. All of the deep breathing made Lorenzo very dizzy and he almost fell over! The man really didn't understand what Lorenzo wanted him to do in trying to get the balloon down. Every time Lorenzo bent over to give the man a boost, the man would also bend over. This went on for a while until Lorenzo finally sent him back to his seat.
1/15 Evening Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a man, and he was a bit of a show off. Lorenzo got him all the way down on one knee on the floor when trying to get the balloon down. He stood on the man's hands and tried to lift off Superman style, but to no avail. When Lorenzo went to give the guy a boost up, the man tried to escape via the stage-left wing. Lorenzo caught him and dragged him back to his seat, and then taped him to his chair so he wouldn't cause any more trouble.
1/18 Evening Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a young woman. Lorenzo took her pashmina away and threw it to someone a few seats behind her before bringing her onstage. She wasn't much help getting the balloon down because she was wearing very high heels. But Lorenzo liked her hairdo and spent some time coiffing it for her. In the end he sent her back to her seat, got her pashmina back, and wrapped it around the person sitting next to her.
1/21 Matinee Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a nice man in a leather jacket. He took the whole thing very seriously and stood very, very still while Lorenzo tried to get the balloon down. This made Lorenzo's flailing look even more spazzy than usual.
1/22 Matinee Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a great sport and caught on to what Lorenzo wanted him to do right away. When Lorenzo tried to give him a boost, the man kept lifting his feet up really high, and this made Lorenzo fall over on his face. The man put a foot on Lorenzo's back and waved his arms over his head like a boxing champion. This was too way too much spotlight-stealing, and so Lorenzo had to tape him to his chair. The two women sitting next to the man were laughing so hard they were both crying.
1/24 Evening Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was fantastic. When Lorenzo shook his hand, the man offered to switch hats with Lorenzo. Lorenzo took the man's hat (a cool black fedora) and balanced it on his nose. The audience went nuts. Their endeavor to get the balloon down was hilarious: Lorenzo ended up flat on his face trying desperately to get his hands under the man's foot.
1/25 Evening Performance
Lorenzo Pickle was great tonight. The volunteer was a man, and he was very tense when Lorenzo first pulled him up onstage. To loosen up they did some deep breathing exercises together. This made Lorenzo very dizzy, and he passed out momentarily. When the man was giving Lorenzo a boost, Lorenzo's leg got hooked over the man's arm, and they spun in circles for a while before they both fell over. Then, when the man stood up and tried to give Lorenzo a hand up, he fell down again. Then Lorenzo was up and tried to give the man a hand, and this made Lorenzo fall down again. And so on and so on until they were both on the floor and Lorenzo pinned the man and declared himself the champion. The guy was a great sport and the crowd loved it.
1/26 Evening Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a very surly woman. When Lorenzo bent over to try and give her a boost, she slapped him on the behind!
1/28 Evening Performance
Lorenzo Pickle was very funny. The volunteer was a man who was a little reluctant to come up, but once he got onstage he was great. He just kept shaking his head in disbelief at the crazy things that Lorenzo wanted him to do. Lorenzo ended up on the floor with his hand under the man's foot, squirming around trying to lift him up. The guy just stood over him, looking down and slowly shaking his head.
1/29 Matinee Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was a lovely woman who just couldn't stop laughing. She wasn't really catching on to what Lorenzo wanted her to do so he cleaned her glasses and fixed her hair so that she could see better.
1/31 Evening Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was kind of strange. He may have been an actor or just really liked being onstage. He kept acting up and wouldn't play along so Lorenzo ended up giving the guy his hat and taking his seat in the audience, next to his wife. Left alone onstage, the guy tried to balance Lorenzo's hat on his nose. Lorenzo ran up and dragged him back to his seat, and then taped the guy to his chair.
2/2 Evening Performance
Lorenzo Pickle went a little off the rails tonight. The volunteer started acting up right away so Lorenzo gave her his hat and went to sit with her husband. She tried to make a break for it, so Lorenzo chased her back up onstage and then taped her feet to the floor so she couldn't get away.
2/5 Matinee Performance
The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer didn't want to come up onstage so Lorenzo did a chicken dance to taunt him. When he finally did come up, he actually played along beautifully. In their attempts to get the balloon down, Lorenzo ended up doing the splits between the volunteer's legs. The guy couldn't stop laughing.
2/5 Evening Performance
Brilliant final show here in San Francisco. We were overwhelmed by the full, rowdy, supportive house that came out for this added performance. The Lorenzo Pickle volunteer was awesome—he was a very cool man with a great sense of humor who thought the whole thing was hilarious. Lorenzo cleaned his glasses, messed with is hair, pushed him around all over the stage, and he was a great sport about all of it. Thanks to everyone here for such a great run! See you down the road!