Red Nose Clown
The tradition of the red nose comes from long ago, back in the land of the circus where acrobats swung from the rafters and defied death, and in this heightened environment there was a need to break this tension, to fall, to laugh, to fool. This is what the clown brings, with an openness to laugh at ourselves, our mistakes, our falls, our wonderful imperfections that are such an essential part of being human.
Origins & Background
When I first heard of clown I thought of the stereotypical red nose, red hair, white face, the “Macdonald’s” clown – the one from the 1980s adverts, which I have to confess personally freaks me out a little.
What I saw on stage was something completely different. There were no white faces, and none of that costume either. It was different – I had never seen theatre like it, it was engaging… it made me laugh…. made me cry… it was visceral. Laughter was just one of the many emotions it unleashed. It was engaging in a way that I couldn’t put my finger on.
It was back in 2008 and I was out in Boulder, Colorado training in Structural Integration, a type of postural therapy. Through this work, I had developed an eye to observe body structure, alignment and subtle physical changes – and this is what I saw on stage. The engagement and physicality of the performers was magnetising. Over the past 25 years, Giovanni Fusetti has brought together the theatre training of Jacques Lecoq and other physical disciplines of Gestalt Psychotherapy (Fritz Perls), Bio-energetics (Alexander Lowen) & Character analysis (Wilhelm Reich) to develop and pioneer this area of clown work.
Everybody has their own individual clown. Through a number of exercises it is possible to discover your clown. It is a fascinating process and brings an incredible presence onstage, as well as boosting confidence in public speaking and greater awareness around your strengths, both on stage and in life.
Without pre-thinking what might be funny, you step on stage and see what arises. Whatever you feel, breathe. Because breath allows you to connect with whatever feelings arise. When we don’t want to feel, we stop breathing. Have you noticed that? Maintaining connection with the audience through eye contact, and connection to yourself through breath, is the key to the experience.
I am humbled and amazed by the incredible people who I’ve met through this work & the laughter that has gone with it. It can be a scary thing to step out on stage, but the rewards of overcoming those fears can radiate through life.
If you are curious, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org). The next workshop is an intro workshop on 17th February – Waterloo, London.