If you’ve chosen to pursue hospital clowning as a hobby, part-time job or volunteer service and you’ve been at it for over a year, you’ve begun to see that your clowny belongings may need freshening up a bit. In my post, To Purchase or Not, I touched on keeping your magic tricks fun and being creative with frequently-seen tricks. Here I’d like to focus on a general “spring cleaning” of sorts.
Of all your clown supplies, arguably the most important to keep fresh is your makeup. While it’s good to rethink your character’s look and keep it friendly and fun, I’m talking about the more practical subject of shelf life. Although care must be taken to routinely keep your hands off your makeup and apply it with clean brushes, disposable cotton tipped or sponge applicators to keep microbes at a minimum, it also simply gets old. If it begins to dry up or have a strange odor, replace it immediately. This is especially true for makeup you use near your eyes.
Take a look at your magic, juggling and other props as well. While most can be repaired or refreshed with a little paint or glue, replace anything that looks like it has seen better days. Although you should not have to break the bank for hospital clowning, it’s best to look polished and professional at all times. It is not necessary to throw these supplies out-you can use them to practice or keep them in your car for a spontaneous bit of fun. There may be an unexpected opportunity to make someone smile (a crying child in a lobby, angry people at the department of motor vehicles, bored adults in a waiting room at the dentist or even the scene of an accident).
Mend your costume, replace worn-out shoes and pick up a new hat. If your white lab coat is missing buttons or getting dingy, take care of this as soon as possible. If you think your coat needs replacing but it’s to pricey, look for something in second-hand or Goodwill stores. If this doesn’t improve the situation, take the time to think of a new look for your character, or maybe even come up with a new clown persona altogether. You never know if the clown universe is trying to tell you it’s time for a change!
Lucy E. Nunez has been a theatrical performer since 2002. She created Nurse Lulu for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in 2014. She was a resident clown there and at Baptist Children's Hospital. For more information please visit: www.sunnybearbuds.wix.com/buds