Clowning is a unique art form that revolves around emotional honesty, truth, and our shared humanity. By revealing their vulnerable and honest selves, clowns teach us to embrace our imperfections and celebrate our quirks.
The clown's innocence, playfulness, and childlike wonder awaken our joy and curiosity, inviting us to see the world anew. By connecting with our inner clown, we naturally laugh, begin to more often present our genuine, flawed, and beautiful selves, and develop deeper connections with others.
Amplify the reaction
One clown directs a mouvement or sound at another. The second clown amplifies the mouvement or sound, passing it on around the circle. The amplification continues until it reaches a maximum.
Form a group of clowns and create a "sound orchestra" using various instruments or everyday objects. Each clown takes turns introducing a sound or noise, and the group amplifies and builds upon each sound, creating a cacophony of comedic sounds.
Practicing transitioning from emotion to emotion to emotion. Ensure that your reactions are huge, and practice actually feeling them. Once you have done this a bit, transition rapidly between various emotions, exaggerating each emotion to its extreme. Explore the physical and vocal expressions of each emotion, allowing yourself to genuinely feel and amplify them.
Emotional Freeze Frame
In a group, one clown initiates an emotion and freezes in a pose. The next clown amplifies the emotion and freezes in a new pose connected to it. Continue the cycle, each clown amplifying and expressing a heightened emotion, creating a sequence of exaggerated emotional freeze frames.
Partner up with another clown and pretend to control each other's movements as if you were giant puppets. Amplify the physicality, gestures, and reactions to create larger-than-life comedic interactions.
Mime lifting an imaginary heavy weight, starting with a small movement. When you succeed, practice being so excited!
Pair up with another clown and take turns mirroring each other's laughter. Begin with a small chuckle and gradually amplify the laughter, building upon each other's contagious laughter.
Take turns inventing and performing different comical walks. Each clown explores and exaggerates their own unique style of walking, incorporating funny movements and gestures.
Move around your space incorporating different kinds of movement. For instance: expansion, contraction, fast, slow, careful, energy, smoothly, quietly.
Choose a simple object and take turns transforming it into different objects through mime and physicality. Each clown amplifies the transformation, building on the previous clown's creation.
Pretend that you have never seen anything in your room before and that you are a completely new being on this earth. Play with everything and touch everything. Be amazed at all these things that are there, waiting to be discovered.
Choose a very normal task for the clown to complete. Then, choose a secret thought (ex. I am amazing). Complete the task without saying the secret thought out loud.
Show and tell
Prepare a few different objects in your pockets. One at a time, bring them out and show them. If there are people watching, allow yourself to be affected by their reactions to what you are sharing.
Perform a scene or routine in slow motion, focusing on transitioning between exaggerated emotions. Amplify the intensity and duration of each emotion, exploring the physical and vocal expressions to create hilariously drawn-out emotional moments.
Find a letter, and write a simple message on it. As a clown, find the letter and then open it. Allow yourself to develop a huge emotional reaction to what is written down.
KINDS OF CLOWN
The whiteface clown is perhaps the most iconic and traditional type of clown. They wear a fully white face with exaggerated features and use minimal or no color on their face. Whiteface clowns often portray authority figures, are sophisticated, and exhibit elegance in their movements.
The Auguste clown is known for its colorful and exaggerated makeup. They typically have a red or pink nose, vibrant and mismatched clothing, and exaggerated facial features. Auguste clowns are mischievous, clumsy, and engage in slapstick humor, often serving as the comic foil to the more serious whiteface clown.
The tramp clown, also known as the hobo clown or the vagabond clown, is characterized by tattered clothing, a scruffy appearance, and an endearing charm. They often have a sad or downtrodden persona, and their comedy stems from their attempts to navigate the world despite their circumstances.
Mime clowns focus on non-verbal communication and physical storytelling. They use exaggerated gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to convey their narratives. Mime clowns often perform silent routines, interacting with invisible objects and creating imaginary worlds.
Buffoon clowns are characterized by their exaggerated and outrageous behavior and bodies. They are often loud, obnoxious, and unpredictable, using over-the-top physicality, gestures, and facial expressions to generate laughter. Buffoon clowns push boundaries and thrive on chaos and absurdity.
Circus clowns are specifically associated with the circus environment. They engage in a variety of comedic acts, such as juggling, acrobatics, and slapstick routines. Circus clowns entertain audiences between the circus acts, bringing laughter and joy to the spectators.
"Clown: Through Mask and Movement" by Richard Pochinko and Sue Morrison: This book delves into the world of clowning through the teachings of Richard Pochinko, a renowned Canadian clown. It covers various aspects of clowning, including physicality, mask work, improvisation, and the transformation of the performer.
"The Clown in You: A Guide to the Joyful Art of Awareness" by Caroline Dream: This book offers insights into the philosophy and practice of clowning. It explores the transformative power of clowning, helping readers discover their own clown persona and embrace the joy, vulnerability, and authenticity that come with it.
"Clowning: A Practical Guide" by Jon Davison: This practical guide provides a comprehensive overview of the principles and techniques of clowning. It covers essential aspects such as character development, physical comedy, audience interaction, and improvisation, making it a valuable resource for aspiring clowns and performers.
"Fooling: Learning to Love Your Creative Mind" by Paul Levy: While not specifically focused on clowning, this book explores the concept of "fooling," which is closely related to clowning. It delves into the transformative power of embracing one's inner fool, encouraging readers to tap into their creative potential and approach life with a playful, curious, and open mindset.
"The Art of Clowning" by Eli Simon: This book explores the fundamentals of clowning, including physical comedy, character development, improvisation, and audience interaction. It offers practical exercises, performance tips, and insights into the art of clowning for both beginners and experienced performers.
"The Red Nose: Rediscovering the Art of Playfulness" by Neal Levin: This book delves into the power of play and the red nose as a symbol of clowning and comedic performance. It explores the importance of playfulness, spontaneity, and embracing one's inner clown in daily life, offering insights and exercises to awaken the spirit of play within the reader.