Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Paradox of the Clown

I have been studying clown for one month now with a clown master Ronlin Foreman. The journey has been amazing. Next week we embark upon production week to put up a clown show that will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I anticipate this week is going to be just as chalk full of wonder and despair as the past four weeks. The journey of discovering one's clown is the journey of discovering one's self. They are not only parallell tracks, one may argue, they are one and the same track, weaving in and out from time to time, colliding smack dab into each other as well. Ronlin said the other week that the paradox of the clown is that clown is in conflict with herself/himself. So true for the human being as well.

One major theme that I have been exploring is that there is a stillness required in all movement and a movement required in all stillness. The clown exists in the world between utter tension and total relaxation. This middle ground is not one of half-hearted easiness, it requires a heightened level of attention and balance. Performing clown demands the same level of attention and precision as tight rope walking with no net below. The stakes have to be that "high." No pun intended, er, maybe a little.

I am exploring a character named Sgt. Pepper. She is an evocateur. She demands attention at all time and talks incessantly. She does not ever apologize and says whatever may be on her mind. She wants to rule the world but not until the world has reached its perfect state of chaos and anarchy. She speaks not from mind but from emotion. She swears a lot, but tries not to. And fails miserably. She chastises her fellow clowns and works to deconstruct every assumption possible. She works to create joy through chaos. She is a delight and total pain in the ass. I love her.

As an ensemble member, working with this character Pepper is throwing all the biggest lessons of the year into my face. She is not a very good listener and always wants to be the boss. Learning how to navigate both energizing these qualities in my clown and releasing these qualities as an ensemble member is a TRICKY process. One that I approach with great humility and humor.

No comments: