Matei Vişniec was born in Rădăuţi in 1956 and left Romania in 1987, requesting political asylum in France. He spent his childhood in Rădăuţi, a town whose patriarchal calm was now and then broken by the periodical visits of the circus, whose performances triggered his taste for theatre. The writer recalls this atmosphere in some of his texts, especially in Fair/Target Woman and her Ten Lovers and Old Clown Wanted. The plays written between 1977 and 1987 were censored and they used to circulate underground. After 1989, he becomes the most played author in Romanian theatres.
The tragic farce Old Clown Wanted - after receiving the Best Play Award at the 1991 UNITER Galas -, was published in print at the Unitex Publishing House, in 1993. In 1995, the French edition was published, with the title Petit boulot pour vieux clown. It was staged with great success on many stages from the country and from abroad. Critic Laura Pavel considers Old Clown Wanted a "text illustrative for the post-absurd playwrighting where the avant-guarde excesses of the 60s theatre are filtered through an irony toned down by lyrical accents".
Nicolló, Filippo şi Peppino are anonymous, interchangeable individuals. They can, in fact, be anyone. Waiting passively, they are suspended in an uncertain time. They tease each other, they are sarcastic, envious, ingenuous, and display a strange mix of raw childhood and loving tenderness. Their buffooneries somehow hint at parables of death, but also enable them to display the "knowledge" acquired throughout a long career. They are not essentially bad, but rather alienated by a society that suggests they are no longer needed: a topic which seems more relevant than ever.
Minutely explored in this performance, this conflict underlies all interpreters' physical actions. These are characters that "could stand for anyone of us, regardles of age, sex or profession". The production "suffers" of exuberant energy, of an authentic comic character rendered by the subtle combination of the deepest dramatism with sparkling humour.