In a world where the performing arts have been uprooted from their traditional stages and shifted to online platforms, the 2020 Virtual Clown workshop emerged as a unique opportunity to explore the boundless potential of clowning in the virtual realm. This four-day online lab, made possible by the support of Create NSW, offered me a transformative experience, allowing me to authentically connect, laugh, and play with virtual audiences, while bridging the gaps created by isolation and separation.
As I reflect on my journey during and after the workshop, several insights come to mind:
Discovering the Space of Clown Online:
The workshop opened my eyes to the vast possibilities of the "space of clown" in the virtual realm. Together with fellow participants, we embarked on a journey of defining and experimenting with different spatial dynamics. It was as if the online space itself had a personality, a madness that beckoned us to play and explore. In this new environment, the virtual space became an active participant, breathing and moving alongside us, adding an extra layer of magic to our performances.
Playing with the Virtual Space:
During the workshop, we delved into the intricate relationship between the clown and the virtual space. We pushed the boundaries of our creativity, embracing the constraints and seizing the opportunities offered by the online environment. As we stretched our imaginations and bodies, we discovered dramatic and comic spatial possibilities that harmonized with the virtual realm. This playful exploration empowered us to create dynamic interactions and forge connections with our virtual audiences like never before.
Authentic Connection through Screens:
One of the workshop's highlights was the quest for authentic connection with our audiences through screens. We learned the art of staying present, actively listening, and responding to every subtle nuance that emerged from our clown's natural being. It was truly transformative to witness how, through our performances, we could touch the hearts of our virtual spectators. The workshop served as a powerful platform for us to transform personal narratives and tragedies into works of absurd poetic clown performances that were tailored specifically for the online medium. The connection we forged was nothing short of beautiful.
Determining the Spectator's Experience:
Throughout the workshop, we immersed ourselves in understanding the dynamic relationship between the clown and the online space and its impact on the spectator's experience. We explored ways to create a rhythmic consequence of strong images, engaging the audience's imagination on a profound level. The goal was to stimulate their senses rather than rely solely on reason. Through this exploration, I gained valuable insights into how to create meaningful connections and craft performances that truly resonated with virtual audiences.
The workshop was a testament to the transformative power of clowning as an art form, even in the face of adversity and physical limitations. As I continue to navigate the changing landscape of the performing arts, I hold onto the lessons learned and the joy, connection, and creativity that clowning brings. It is a beacon of hope, reminding us that no matter the circumstances, we can always find ways to laugh, connect, and create magic, even through screens.
Alicia Gonzalez is a clown and coach living the beautifool life.