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In order, they are:. More on that later. No talking. Once the Clown Commandments were decreed, Simon called for volunteers to try their luck.

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I was among the last to go, so I had ample time to prepare. Each hopeful who stepped out from behind the screen, newly red-nosed, had a persona of some kind: flirtatious, giddy, sour, nervous, etc. At least each one was supposed to adopt a persona. This exercise served as a test of how well the person had embodied the role.

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It merely describes a character portrayal, as when a confident, Oscar-winning actor plays a meek or reclusive person. I told you levels of reality would pile up here. Indeed, each new clowning class or workshop yields innovative clown personas; the range of these qualities is as diverse as human nature itself. At least one of the reasons the work is so riveting is that no two clowns are alike. Sure, some clowns are basically happy while others are sad, some are high status while others are low, and some are energetic while others are slothful, but beyond these rough categorizations, clowns exhibit kaleidoscopic permutations that defy simplistic categorization.

As thrilling as it is for me to assist in the birth of a new clown, I am doubly thrilled to share this artistic process with you. Your clown will emanate from your inner life, and at the same time, it will remain closely connected to the outside world. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician. To be sure, there will be plenty of laughs along the way, but simply having fun clowning around is not the immediate goal of the work.

In short order, you will discover that the deepest, most heartfelt laughs are the result of highly structured and well-executed improvisatory explorations.

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To stay on track, we must establish a set of rules at the outset of the training. Finding your true inner clown demands a strong commitment to understanding the rules and abiding by them. Thus, the clowns I trained enjoyed the participation of a built-in audience other actors in the group who watched the clowns at work. Your studio can be any relatively open space such as your living room, family room, or bedroom.

The Clown Dinner?

What you will lack is the opportunity to practice connecting and interacting with an audience. After a while, you might begin to wonder how you are doing—in what ways an audience would respond to your clown. Limit the feedback you receive from friends to these two categories. Many of the clowns I train carry their noses with them at all times. They clown when shopping, waiting for buses, and hanging out in coffee shops. These impromptu adventures provide opportunities to test basic clowning skills on the spur of the moment.

Keep all members of the audience seated in a tight block. Clowns are attracted to messy food and liquids. If you buy in bulk, these noses are inexpensive. This prevents the nose from slipping off when, for example, you are jumping up and down during a maniacal clown dance. Tighten and knot the thread securely. When you put the nose on, make sure that the breathing holes are facing down.

The Art of Clowning (TP) Simon, Eli 1st

This will ensure that you experience clowning by being a clown rather than by knowing or telegraphing that you are playing the role of a clown. An honest audience helps promote honest clowning—the kind of truthfulness we are trying to access with every exercise. The Trainer has ultimate authority over studio decorum and proceedings. This establishes a proper authority structure in the studio and prevents confusion during exercises.

The Art of Clowning: More Paths to Your Inner Clown

If you are working alone, feel free to skip exercises that involve the Trainer. However, if you have trusted colleagues who can play the role of the Trainer, invite them to work with you when you are ready. Stick to the given script and do not abuse your power.

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Shoes: Black shoes are best because they minimize distraction. These can be dance shoes, sneakers, or street shoes. Make sure they are comfortable and easy to move in. Hair: Pull your hair back away from your face. Falling bangs, braids, or even strands of hair obscure facial expressions.

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Use bands or clips if necessary—have a supply of these handy in the studio. Here is a basic warm-up exercise that will help you prepare for the exercises that follow: 1. If you are working in a group, stand in a circle and work together. Breathe deeply throughout. Shake out your legs, one at a time. Shake out your arms, one at a time. Shake out your feet, one at a time. Shake out your hands, one at a time. Stretch in all directions. Make circles with your hands, then arms, and then shoulders. Reverse direction. Make circles with your feet, then legs, and then hips. Lift your shoulders up and let them drop. Walk around the studio together, moving in all directions. Increase the speed to include quick walks. Next jog slowly. Then run. Stretch again and make sure that you are warmed-up and ready to work. Later on, when you have a clearer sense of your clown persona, feel free to warm up wearing your nose.

The rules provide a foundation of integrity for the exercises that follow, so pay close attention to them. In time they will become your modus operandi. Articulating what is happening often prevents clowns from fully experiencing the truth of the moment. When verbal interjections are vanquished, clowns begin to convey discoveries, inspirations, and emotions with the full extent of their physical being. Many brilliant clowns through the ages—including three of the Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, and Red Skelton—used words, gibberish, grunts, groans, shrieks, and songs to great effect.

It may be that your clown will yearn to vocalize, but for now, and throughout the early stages of clown training, take a vow of silence. In chapter six, after your primary and secondary clown personas have clearly crystallized, you will encounter opportunities to purposefully test your voice. Exercise 1.