I sat on the couch one day and interviewed myself.
What is the essence or spirit of the clown?
To be stupid (from the Latin stupere 'to be amazed or stunned’); to be your heart on stage, whether that be the stage of life or a theatre; it is to be a child wandering through the world without any defence - it is to be completely vulnerable. This just may be the spirit of the clown, and it may just be living inside us waiting to be gently or rudely coaxed out. It is like opening up a tiny rose bud and revealing who's inside.
Tell yourself about this art form that you speak of?
It is an art form embedded in practice and the dedication of our bodies and imagination to the art & science of nonsense. I am mostly interested in the clown's humanity... the poetic clown.
The poetic clown?
Clowns love beauty and lead with hope in their hearts. Clowning is a celebration of our beautiful nonsense. Clowning can help us get one step closer to understanding the human condition. We laugh at the clown, we laugh at ourselves - because in my experience the clown reveals the truth and is ultimately a reflection of who we all are, universally. We (the audience) crave an authentic conversation.
What does this look like?
In a workshop scenario I like to encourage making BIG poops on stage (metaphorically speaking). This is a GOOD thing. It's about observing the poop, see if the poop is beautiful, poke around at it, make the poop dance, ask it to sing a song.. we basically want to get to know what's so special about your poop? You're given permission to mess up in a safe and fun environment.
Umm.. please explain poop?
What I mean is that through a series of beautifool experiments we'll learn to access our sense of play, wonder and imagination and invite you to amplify your comfort zone - share your fears, fantasies and true desires with an audience. This sharing comes with an element of 'being seen' and sometimes we make a poop (or flop) as a result but failure is not the focus. We dig in and search for eccentric and unusual ways of doing things; the clown way.
Is clown training for me?
My coaching and workshops are designed to allow you to discover your own clown at your own pace and reach a pleasure and freedom of being on stage. The teaching is active and reflective-driven encouraging everyone to take on the dual student-spectator role. I sometimes work with the red nose, the teeny tiny little mask. Sometimes we don't use it, but we know it's there just in case. Ultimately we wear the mask so we don't have to. The best way to know if it's for you is to give it a go. What's the best that could happen?
What is a clown?
This is a difficult question to answer. I'm not talking circus oversized shoes and flower water squirters or politicians. It's about sophisticated approaches to reflecting reality. Dickie Henderson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lucille Ball, Slava Polunin, Giuletta Masina, Woody Allen, Jacques Tati, Angela Castro, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig...and so on.
Your parting words...
Discovering clown and its ability to give us the freedom to be ridiculous meant only one thing for me; to build a community of more beautifool people & share the delightful mess of clowning. Whether you're an actor or a civilian. Say hi.
Alicia Gonzalez is a clown and coach living the beautifool life.