#1 Son

by Natasha Mercado in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, United States

Total raised £445

£5,000 target 24 days left
8% 10 supporters
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by 17th June 2024 at 10:25am

Clown my way to take on structures of power & difficult subjects to make people feel joy by leading with heart, responsibility & positivity.

by Natasha Mercado in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, United States

Hey there! I'm Natasha and I'm a Los Angeles based clown. I'm self-producing my Edinburgh Fringe debut and bringing my new solo clown show "#1 Son". It's about spirituality and living with your demons.

A lil about me-- I'm a huge clown nerd! I truly think it's the most holistic way to approach performance and ever since I got into the LA scene, I've never turned back. I now teach clown full time to adults and help children devise theater with the Unusual Suspects Theater company.

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My first one "Tree" did really well in the North American fringe circuit. I made it during quarantine over Zoom with Deanna Fleysher. It was wild debuting it to audiences while we still we were wearing masks (I got really good at reading eye contact). I have way more info about it here if you're curious.

Past accolades include:

3x SOLD OUT RUNS (Orlando, Victoria & Hollywood)

MOST FRINGE BUZZ AWARD Orlando 2023

GEORGE WALLACE PRODUCER PICK Orlando 2023

BEST CLOWN/ PHYSICAL THEATRE Victoria 2022

ENCORE PRODUCERS’ AWARD Hollywood 2022

FRINGE SCHOLARSHIP Hollywood 2022

FRUIT LOOP SCHOLARSHIP Edmonton 2023

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I'm building this new show "#1 Son" completely differently. I make a plan every month and have been doing a series of work in progress shows in front of a live audience at different theaters across Los Angeles. It's been exercising all kinds of different performer muscles for me (mostly curbing any kind of ego that I had left). 

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This whole endeavor is... very expensive! But I believe it's important work to keep taking up space as a woman and person of color. And I love encouraging other folks like me to keep making work and give them tips that I learn along the way! So here's a little more "formal" language about the show and me and what I have coming up:

Why Did God Make Me His Sexiest Son?” asks Natasha Mercado, in ambitious LA Work in Progress Clown Show, #1 Son

Co-directed by Chad Damiani, LA clown Natasha Mercado brings her outrageously funny misadventure #1 Son to curious live comedy lovers for a series of Work in Progress LA shows – before taking this sure-to-be fringe hit to the 2024 Edinburgh Fringe.

Natasha Mercado explores everything sacred and profane in #1 Son, where holy meets horny in an off-the-wall absurdist comedy about God’s ‘fave’ child and his irresistible quest for ‘Freaky Girl’.

Father Greg Orian hosts a Mass that is a religious awakening like no other, as he tries to solve the age-old question: “Why did God make me his sexiest son?” Desire and devotion. Divine and degenerate. It's like church, but with ‘smash or pass’ revelations about lust, lies and living with your demons...

“I’m aiming to make #1 Son like camp church – a wild mashup of drag, clown and puppets,” says Mercado. “Devising #1 Son in front of different Los Angeles audiences has been extremely inspiring. There’s always something new that I find each night and that’s what’s been making it my favorite piece of work yet! I’m so excited to feel how audiences will react when Father Greg goes off to bless the people of Edinburgh for the show’s world premiere and my debut at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.”

As seen in the TBS reboot of The Joe Schmo Show, as well as on Adult Swim, Amazon, HBO and stages across LA, popular comedy artist Natasha Mercado first trained in clown at the Idiot Workshop and broke new ground with her creation Send in the Clowns, the first monthly clown show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. 

Natasha’s #1 Son follows hot on the heels of the international fringe success of her award-winning solo show Tree, which LA’s Stage Raw and Victoria’s Times Colonist named “one of LA’s Top Ten Shows” and “a must-see”, among a list of prestigious accolades that this wildly popular show picked up.

Equal parts endearing and outrageous, #1 Son channels Mercado’s teaching heart as much as her clown and performance talent. Known for tackling taboo subjects with optimism, positivity and joy, she teaches her original Soft Clown performance workshops to adults at The Elysian Theater – the biggest clown hub in Los Angeles. These unapologetically sensitive and earnest workshops give participants the chance to explore vulnerability as a path to connecting with their most authentic comedic voice. 

“Natasha has an uncanny ability to foster a beautiful, curious space, while also facilitating folks to take risks and explore the depths of their vulnerability and humanity in genuinely playful ways.” – current Soft Clown student, Alyssa Klein.

Meanwhile, Mercado is also taking clown to young people in need, helping to train the next generation of exciting artists and challenging the status quo along the way. As a teaching artist, she guides kids in devising theater at The Unusual Suspects Theater Company non-profit, which is committed to creating – with Yield Giving’s recent $2M award – a Youth Theater Conservatory that will provide youths from underrepresented communities in Los Angeles with free access to college-level education in acting, playwriting, directing and production design.

“I teach kids in communities in need and incarcerated youth, yet I’m doing a show about ‘God's sexiest son’, which may seem contradictory and even shocking! But really, my view is that clowns take on structures of power and difficult subjects – and I believe there's a way to do that with heart, responsibility and positivity,” Mercado affirms.

Co-directing #1 Son is the one and only Chad Damiani – a pioneer of LA’s contemporary clown scene and a featured performer at The Elysian Theater as the creator and star of such shows as Stand Up And Clown, Clown Zoo and Rory and Chad Win Comedy Tonight, and a cast member of the international variety show, Stamptown.

As she prepares to bring #1 Son to the Edinburgh Fringe for the show’s official world premiere – not to mention her own EdFringe debut – Mercado will give Father Greg his final polishingone final polish in Los Angeles at both the Lyric Hyperion on 7 April, 9 May, 4 June and 6 July and at The Elysian Theater on 27 April, 25 May, 22 June and 20 July. In fact, the #1 Son was tapped to Work-in-Progress shows will be a part of The Elysian’s ‘Edinburgh Percolator’ Work-In-Process spotlightevent featuring theater artists in development of boundary-pushing and genre-bending work on their way to the 2024 Edinburgh Fringe. , It will be held over four Saturdays leading up to the Fringe in August, which will include a series of ‘Edinburgh Anonymous’ open workshops following the showcases including Q&A’s with the artists. 

“Natasha is a rare performer, on the front line of modern clown that’s choosing to tackle taboo subjects, while always taking care of the audience and making sure that silliness and joy are the focus,” adds Damiani. “The mischief comes from a kind place, so people feel permission to follow her to some risky places. No other Edinburgh Fringe show will do clown quite like this.”

Natasha Mercado’s #1 Son Work in Progress shows play at The Lyric Hyperion on 7 April, 9 May, 4 June and 6 July 2024, and at The Elysian Theater on 27 April, 25 May, 22 June and 20 July 2024, as part of its ‘Edinburgh Percolator’ events. More information is available at www.lyrichyperion.com and www.elysiantheater.com. 

Praise for Natasha Mercado

“Mercado is a master comic storyteller, who pulls you in from the outset, swiftly incorporating crowd input and reactions throughout. Even when she is not speaking, she conveys a world with just a look and a nod.” – Stage Raw

“A master of crowd work, the Los Angeles comedy artist manages to pull even the most hesitant participants into the action, winning them over in the process.” – Winnipeg Free Press

“This show was exactly what Fringe is about, seeing something weird and amazing that you would never see anywhere else. The show was creative, daring, and gut-bustingly funny!” – Jenny Revue

“Uninhibited... semi-scripted absurdity” – Orlando Weekly

“Natasha Mercado has roots in the Upright Citizens Brigade (whose alumni includes Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll and Aubrey Plaza), so her improvisational and sketch comedy skillset is clearly elite.” –Times Colonist

“Natasha Mercado is a ridiculous and mischievous performer, with a glint in her eye that promises fun and laughs for those lucky audiences who are smart enough to buy a ticket” – Eric Davis (Red Bastard)

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£30 or more

Bit Punch-Ups

Feedback over e-mail about your 5-minute performance/ bit/ clown piece. Either send a 5-minute video of you performing or pitch me the idea in writing and I'll give you feedback/ punch ups/ pitches + Playbill Shoutout

£15 or more

Playbill Shoutout

Your name is going in my playbill for now and forever! All of Edinburgh will recognize that you are a true patron of the arts

£20 or more

~Father Greg~ Special Vid

Father Greg Orian will send you your own special video thanking you and singing a gorgeous song for you. +Playbill Shoutout

£50 or more

2 of 20 claimed

Limited Edition "#1 Son" Merch

A gold name plate bracelet that says "#1 SON"! It has dangling little wings on the side of the name plate. It is... VERY CUTE! + Playbill Shoutout

£100 or more

0 of 4 claimed

Freakiest Girl Award

This is not a bit-- this is a real role in the show! You are guaranteed to be "the Freakiest Girl" at one performance of "#1 Son". You will be an incredibly important part of the show while making a room full of people laugh! This is a fun one! + Playbill Shoutout and "#1 Son" Bracelet


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