Monday, December 18, 2017

Platt House Newsletter December 18, 2017

This article appeared in an email newsletter sent out to the Platt House community. The Platt Student Performing Arts House, named for Marc E. ('79) and Julie Beren Platt ('79) is the home of University Life Arts Initiatives and the Performing Arts Council at the University of Pennsylvania.

Alumni Spotlight on Adam Gertsacov, C'86

Adam Gertsacov is a professional clown.
Photo credit: Bill Wadman

We recently checked in on one of our PAC alums: Adam Gertsacov. Check out this article from Smithsonian Magazine about his modern-day flea circus!

At Penn, Adam majored in theoretical communications with a minor in theatre arts. After balancing Marching Band and theatre for two years, he launched fully into theatre, working with iNtuitons and Penn Players. Adam also worked for the Library and the Annenberg Center and was the Arts House program coordinator in Harnwell for two years. 

Adam has always felt the importance of the arts. He was inspired by his mom, a teacher, who used to take mistakes and turn them into art. Finding value and meaning in the mundane truly moves him. Adam explored his love of experimental theatre at Penn and beyond, working at the Guthrie and studying acting and directing at Trinity Rep Conservatory. In 1989, he attended Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Clown College and discovered his passion for being a clown and the sideshow arts. 

In addition to his flea circus, Adam is always pursuing multiple projects including "Buffoon Anonymous", a fictional autobiography of a clown who needs to quit, but can't; "The Barbie Oedipus", a version of Oedipus Rex using Barbie dolls as actors; and "Artistic Antics", a freeform clown improv show. Adam serves as the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland, despite making his home in Chicago. As if that weren't enough, he is also working on revamping an old show about PT Barnum to make it more interesting for kids, and he is planning a new podcast. You can check out his blogs here and here. 

Adam's advice to Penn students interested in pursuing the arts beyond college: “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Feel free to risk it all, but don’t burn it all down. It’s not all or nothing, all the time. Take artistic risks, but don't be afraid to take care of yourself, to have fun, and to do some easy stuff also. The last thing the world needs is another fizzled artist, so take your time and keep on working on your craft."

More info about Adam is available at or