Are You For Real?
You’re probably thinking, “Wow, what a way to start an article! With an existential question.” This question, however, is a very important one because it will help you not only find what kind of clown you are, but it will also help you stay consistent and genuine to yourself.
The seasoned clown will admit, kids can easily see right through you. Kids have a 6th sense for clowns. They can tell if you’re a real clown or an....dare I say it...an imposter!!! Dun, dun, DUN! I can’t tell you how many times I have went shopping, in boring regular clothes, going into the soup isle (perhaps the most boring isle to be in) and a kid is shopping in the same isle along with their parents and I just naturally make a face at them which in turn makes them laugh. Then I’ll pretend to not notice them and make faces to myself, hearing them giggle. Then the kid will shout something like, “Funny clown”, or “You’re a clown!” How did they know?!
Seriously though, how could that kid guess I was a clown without makeup, a costume and a red shiny nose? I’d like to think that genuine clowns and physical comedy artists, such as ourselves, give off an energy in our lives that people, especially children, can easily pick up on. If this idea is true, then how can we harness that inner clown energy and apply it to our performances? But most importantly what IS that energy they’re picking up on?
The Inner Clown Energy is YOU!
What do I mean by this? First of all, the energy that I mentioned above is who you are as a person deep down. It’s not just something you put on like a mask. It’s genuine and it’s you. So, then, how can we apply this to find out what kind of clown we are? Honestly, I think that question is a bit of an odd one. If we as humans don’t like labeling ourselves in regular life, why should we start doing so as clowns? Ok, sure, you’re going to a convention and you have to mention the style of clowning you perform (for me it’d be a mix of lite auguste and character). But honestly, the type of clown you are is a “You Clown.” You are your own type of clown.
Wow, take a couple of deep breaths here. The freedom can be overwhelming to some.
Are you good? Awesome sauce! Let’s continue.
The moment you not only realize but also accept that the style of clowning you “belong to” is your own style, the building of your clown persona as a performer becomes so much easier and freer. Sure, you can still use the traditional labels if you need to, but inside, you know that you don’t need to subscribe to such a title. I think this is partially why I really enjoy the Ringling style of clowning (may the circus RIP). Although they still subscribed to the traditional titles of clown styles (auguste, white face, tramp...etc.) they also made sure you stayed as true to yourself as possible by making you stick with your personal name as your “clown name”. This way it becomes more personalized and genuine to yourself and also with guests. I’m not saying that this is what you need to do to stay genuine, but rather it’s a useful thought to illustrate my message.
The question remains, how can we apply this knowledge to figure out who we are as clowns? Especially if you are just beginning this discovery. Tune in next week for part two of this blog series for the answer to that question.
In the meantime, keep being funny and don’t stop laughing!