Aside from empowering the patient, entertaining everyone and working with a partner, a hospital clown must always keep safety in mind. I’ll have more about that in a future post, but for now let’s focus on juggling.
Scarf juggling is of course the easiest, safest and most convenient form of juggling. Not only does it look pretty, but scarves also fit easily in any pocket and weigh almost nothing. Most importantly though, they won’t hurt anyone if they go out of your control. A hospital clown, however, should be professional, always upgrading their skills and polishing them. We should never appear to have woken up one day and decided to become a clown. Juggling balls or bean bags is therefore the natural next step.
Bean bags that are shaped like balls are the better choice for safety because they don’t bounce or roll away if you drop one. With lots of practice, a hospital clown can safely juggle bean bags almost anywhere.
As I mentioned in my Rope Trick post, we do not perform in the hospital to simply show off a skill. Skills are to be a backdrop for comedy to occur. Many of us are novice jugglers, however, and may drop the bean bags sometimes. It’s ok. Use it.
Following is an idea [from my juggling mentor] for hospital clowns that juggle...and sometimes drop the ball.
Materials needed: bean bags for juggling
Step 1. When someone shows interest in your bean bag juggling, you may become self-conscious and drop one. Great! (If you don’t, drop one on purpose.)
Step 2. Ask the spectator very sweetly if they would please pick up the “ball” for you, as you hold the other two bean bags, one in each hand.
Step 3. As they pass you the prodigal bean bag, drop one of the ones you had and take it from them. Say “thank you” with lots of gratitude.
Step 4. Look at the newly dropped bean bag, apologize profusely and ask them to please pick it up for you. (Act like you have no idea how cruel this is.)
Step 5. Go back to step 3 and keep going until you decide to show mercy.
Seriously, I’ve seen this go on for several rounds. People are so nice!
Lucy E. Nunez has been a theatrical performer since 2002 and an improv performer since 2003. She created Nurse Lulu for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care program in 2014. She is now Baptist Children's Hospital first-ever resident clown! For more information please visit: www.sunnybearbuds.wix.com/buds.