On May 21 I held a workshop on “Finding Mindfulness Through Clown” at Yoga in ME to benefit HAVEN. This was an experiment to see if I could bring my ideas and interpretations of clown to non-theatre audiences through the yoga setting. Well–and I actually laugh out loud whenever I think about this–the answer for now is a resounding NO! We had a marvelous time working for three hours with our host, yoga teacher and Yoga in ME owner Nancy Garnhart, and several of my dear friends from the theatre community, who were eager to explore clown through the particular lens of mindfulness.
Yogis and HAVEN supporters stayed away in droves, attesting either to the difficulty of picking a good day for a workshop during graduation and wedding season . . . or to the ongoing hard sell that is CLOWN in a world haunted by real-life Bad Clowns like John Wayne Gacy and Stephen King’s fictional predators. (Lately I have been noticing that some people in law enforcement or who create fictional police procedurals call criminals “bad actors.” I agree that bad acting can FEEL criminal when you watch it, but it isn’t technically illegal. And all actors must do it in the course of their careers, at some point.)
So I’m accepting any suggestions for the Great Clown Re-Brand! The term “Physical Theatre” sounds kind of clinical, but “improv” misleadingly points to other forms of theatre. I probably need to repurpose an innocuous word like “skylight” or “purple.” Please give it some thought and get back to me on that, will you?
But the workshop was a blast and I loved every minute! We explored physical leads and their relationship to status, we created soundtracks as well as physical “zeroes” for our clowns, we allowed clowns to meet and have little status battles, and we wound up the afternoon with classic solo turns interacting with the environment and a prop. Everyone brought some new character to life over the course of three hours–it’s my favorite kind of theatre to watch and I’m always thrilled to make a space for that work.
Thanks to Nancy Garnhart for hosting and for publicizing the event to bring more attention to HAVEN in Southern ME and Portsmouth.
A few days later, I was honored to help represent HAVEN at the Seacoast Women’s Network’s networking night. I joined Joi Smith, Lori Waltz-Gagnon and Debra Altschiller. I really love spending time with every member of the HAVEN Board of Directors and Staff. I look forward to meeting more of you in the future!
Happy and healthy summer to you all, and I’ll keep you posted on my next adventures . . . MAKE SURE IT’S ME will be popping up in various ways in 2016!