Cover art by Hanna Moors

The Wild Goose Circus

Russell Davis
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The story of a dysfunctional circus in which a fortuneteller has wrested control of the circus from her ringmaster. Beasts and dark shapes never seen on earth come forth to present, or disrupt, their acts. Until an absent clown, or child, finally comes back to lead the circus's opening parade.

Production Info

Cast: 9 total (5 female, 4 male)
Full Length Drama (about 120 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“There is something tragic about [in the] askew big-top setting, even before the disheveled, vaguely European ringmaster explains that his menagerie of minstrels is somewhat ‘dysfunctional.’ Banners are frayed and tutus are tattered, but the colors still gleam and the tightrope is taut, giving this gaggle of grotesques just enough dignity to hold their shoulders square. Within this broken calliope frame, Davis piles a fantastic compost of meaty metaphor and biblical allegory, bears on unicycles and sad French clowns. The rich, layered text gives way to inspired surreal absurdity that isn’t merely a self-conscious jab at surrealism and absurdism … From trapeze to pirate ship to a monster walrus head, the staging is visual poetry, making THE WILD GOOSE CIRCUS all the more strange and beautiful and rare.” —Tom Orr, The Seattle Times

“I remember the community at Sundance after two and a half weeks of work and the play’s final reading: everyone was deeply, deeply moved. Some were stunned. Both Oskar Eustis and Steven Dietz who had worked on the play — and had had reservations about how completely the play might work — were shocked — registering that it amazed them, with all their professional work, that they hadn’t seen the real power and potential of the play up until the final reading.” —David Kranes, Artistic Director, Sundance Playwrights Lab

“Maybe it was the emotion at the end of the Lab, or the incredible work of the actors especially Walter Bobbie who read the lead, but the reading was the most memorable and moving in my ten years with Sundance.” —David Chambers, Managing Director, Sundance Playwrights Lab

About the Author


  • Russell Davis

    Russell Davis grew up in Europe and the Middle East and then went to college in the United States. His plays have been produced at various theatres, including People's Light & Theatre, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Long Wharf Theatre, Center Stage, Yale Repertory, and Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival. He has been a 2008-10 recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. He was resident playwright at People's Light for the residency program of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group. He has received grants and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, McKnight Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, as well as two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a past member of New Dramatists. He has been a visiting artist at institutions such as Lehigh University, Yale University's Divinity School, Virginia Tech. University, Ohio University, University of Utah, and University of Puget Sound. He is also a juggler and was one of four jugglers featured in 'The Best Jugglers You've Never Heard Of' (cover story JUGGLE magazine, Winter 2007, published by the International Jugglers' Association). He has performed as a juggler and unicyclist for The Road Company's Flying Lemon Cirque, for The Instant City Circus at Pittsburgh's City Theatre Company, and in People's Light's production of his new vaudeville piece for all ages, The Thoughts & Travels of Nicki. He worked with Jon Held, a juggler and former member of Airjazz, to develop Jon Held's solo performance piece Tales of Lunacy which was produced by Touchstone Theatre. He directed Tony Duncan who won the juggling championships at the 1994 International Jugglers' Association Convention, and worked with the juggler Michael Moschen in Michael Moschen in Motion at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's 1988 Next Wave Festival and at the Lincoln Center's SERIOUS FUN! Festival 1990. He has led circus workshops at various theatres, universities, and schools. He has been a juggling/unicycling instructor for the Big Apple Circus' education program and at HB Studio in NY.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/17/2020
Pages 102
ISBN 9780881458039

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Wild Goose Circus is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC