If you haven’t read ‘Part One’ of this two part series, you can read it by clicking here (insert hyperlink).
Intro To Part Two
In ‘Part One’ of this blog series, we found out that children can easily see the clown within you and we also learned that the inner clown energy is literally YOU. Simple enough, right? Here’s what I aim to do next:
- We will apply this knowledge and philosophy into figuring out how to create a clown persona that is genuine to ourselves for performances.
Before we continue, please allow me to first say that this is not something that happens overnight. Or even within a week or a year. This is something that we will keep working on our entire lives. This is why clowning and physical comedy is an art and science. We will constantly work on our skills, work on ourselves and learn from others. It’s a lifestyle more than something you throw in the closet and forget about until the next show.
Mapping Out The Inner Clown
I have learned, and still learn, from some of the most talented physical comedians and clowns in the world. They all have absolutely amazing insights into how to better yourself and your clowning skills. However, they all have different approaches and ideas on the matter. The obvious reason is because there is no set way to follow. You may be traditionally subscribed to a specific style of clowning, but every clown is unique to the person. Literally because the clown IS the person.
One thing I have come to enjoy doing is making a brainstorming chart. Find a piece of paper, dry erase board, or find a journal to write in. What I would like for you to do is just meditate on who you are.
How tall are you? Eye color. Hair color. Accent (yes, you do have one). Age (or at least age range). All of these can play a great role in discovering your clown within. If you’re tall, perhaps stilts aren’t necessary. Eye color can determine what makeup you may want to use around your eyes so it looks good together. If you’re blonde (like me) it’s totally ok to play the “blonde stereotype” in an exaggerated form. If you do something clumsy, you can just point to your hair and the audience most likely will get the reference.
Age is a fun thing to play with too. No matter what your age is, our inner age tends to be different. That inner age can and should play a role in your clown persona. For me, I’m young in age, but within I feel like an old soul. My clown is an old man, from the 1920’s, who likes to think he’s still young and tries to do the things that kids and teens do today. But very awkwardly. Kind of relatable isn’t it? That’s the point!
Next, make a list of things you like and dislike. It’s ok to be vague and straight to the point. I like dogs and cats, but not equally. I enjoy big band swing music but I also listen to modern music as well. I enjoy reading. Hiking. Traveling. So on and so forth.
This list, although may seem mundane and pointless, can and will serve very well as a foundation for your clown wardrobe and even gags and props you may decide to buy or make! I like to travel, so perhaps i’ll make a tourist outfit for my clown and he can go around acting like the typical tourist. I like reading so maybe I’ll buy the magic newspaper routine where you pour milk into the paper and it remains dry.
As you can see, I simply started with a vague thing about myself and it can easily turn into a full gag, prop or costume piece. When you do things like this, it keeps you honest to yourself and you can play off of genuine feelings. Along with this, it makes you more relatable to not only the audience, but most importantly to yourself. At some point, you will get so sucked into creating your clown’s background, as it relates to you, that the line between the two becomes almost nonexistent.
Being a clown isn’t putting on makeup and a nose, then juggling for kids. Being a clown is literally who you are. This is why, in ‘Part One’ of this blog series, I mentioned how many times kids can tell you’re a clown even outside of makeup and costume. However, this is not to say these things don’t help. They do! They are there to exaggerate your expressions and make you more cartoonish. But even the makeup and nose are custom to your face. Again, the clown being one with who you are.
Get a journal and start writing things about yourself. Make a list. A long one. A very, very long one. Then visit those things often, and brainstorm on how you can incorporate them into your clown personality and usage for performances. Have fun with this and don’t be afraid to talk to yourself while doing it, or even ask friends and family things they observe about you.