Aga-Boom has performed all over the world, but its director believes an American audience could be a little harder to please. Often, Dimitri Bogatirev said, Americans suffer from “coulrophobia,” or a fear of clowns — just think of the creepy clown in the “Poltergeist” movies.
Which is a problem, as Aga-Boom is a trio of, well, clowns.
But Bogatirev isn’t worried — not all clowns are creepy, and he’s sure they’ll succeed in making Chautauqua Institution’s audience laugh. The group will perform at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater as part of the Family Entertainment Series.
Bogatirev said people remember characters and not scenes from their performances.
“No matter what the American TV cartoon SpongeBob does, people will always remember he is funny and that he made them laugh,” he said. “They may not remember the details in the scene.”
Bogatirev, a veteran of Cirque Du Soleil who said he was born a clown, is one of three on stage: Aga, Dash and Boom.
The trio has performed in more than 30 countries, including Canada, Mexico, Chile, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. As artists, they have had various reactions from the audience.
“Japan was very quiet during the show, but they loved it because we were presented with flowers after the show,” Bogatirev said. “Hong Kong was the opposite; they were noisy and loud throughout. Canada loves the performances, but gives us advice after each show.”
The worldly group also sports a worldly name. In Russian, paper is called “boom aga,” and the show uses a lot of paper as props. If “boom aga” is said multiple times, Bogatirev said, it sounds like “aga boom.”
In tonight’s show, Bogatirev and will do everything within the powers of their bright red noses to entertain the audience. They will ride tiny bikes, use balloons, toilet paper, fans, confetti and garbage bags — among other props — to entertain the audience.
“American movies, like ‘It,’ make clowns scary when they are not,” Bogatirev said. “Why did America choose the clown as the enemy? Look at Batman — he looks like a Halloween killer, but the Joker is the one everyone is afraid of. Clowns are here to make you laugh.”