Clown 2 – Towards Performance Course

Come play, explore and create.

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This course is intended for anyone who has completed the Introductory Clown Course or similar*. While continuing to build on key principles – authentic presence, connection and playfulness; it will also encourage you to deepen your knowledge of your inner clown. It will offer a space to play, improvise and give you inspiration and provocation to brainstorm and develop new ideas with others. You will also learn some of the practical skills required to create short clown performances e.g. creating a build within a piece, the importance of an entrance and maintaining authentic emotional connection to oneself and the audience.

The course is for anyone who is eager to continue their journey with clown in a fun and supportive environment. It is also for those who are curious about what their clown might like to share with the world and interested in exploring how to create their own original short clown performances – whether purely for the sheer joy of it or as inspiration for possible future performance.

* Any course/ practice that has given you a basic understanding and introduction to clown for performance. For details of my own intro course please see: https://tobeaclown.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/to-be-a-clown-6-part-clown-course-4/

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Times & Dates: Wednesday evenings: 6.30 – 9.00 pm. 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th November & 6th December 2017.

Venue: The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1.

Cost: €160. €50 non refundable deposit required to secure your place.

To book: To book a place and for deposit details, please contact carolwalshclown@gmail.com.

About the facilitator:

Carol is a clown, theatre maker and facilitator. She is a graduate of the London International School of Performing Arts, LISPA – a physical theatre school based on the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She has also trained in drama facilitation with Artstrain (NAYD) and has completed the intensive Clown through Mask and Joey & Auguste courses with Sue Morrison. Carol has created and performed two original clown shows A Tale Told by a… Clown for 10 days in Dublin & Electric Picnic and the very successful OutRAGEous Fortune performed at various venues and festivals in Ireland. She has also created numerous shorter clown cabaret performances both for herself and with others.

As a facilitator her previous employers include the Act the Maggot; Dublin Youth Theatre; Youth Theatre Ireland; Artstrain; The Vocational Education Committee, Smashing Times Theatre Company and various schools, youth theatres and youth & adult community groups.

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Why I wear a red nose… who nose?

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Why do I wear a clown nose? To be honest, it would probably be easier if I didn’t. The smallest mask in the world has many associations most of which aren’t very helpful to a theatre clown. With some festivals and performers foregoing the nose in order to avoid the children’s entertainer or crazy/scary clown label; it can sometimes feel like the path of least resistance to take it off and simply label the show a comedy. I don’t blame them. It can be tough trying to articulate clearly what you do as a clown particularly when you are selling a show or offering a workshop. If I had a euro for every time someone says, “don’t we have enough clowns running this country?”, or hear comments like “scary clown”, I would be a very rich clown. Thanks to horror movies, the media and some weird and not so wonderful versions of clowning that’s just how it is.

So why use one? Why make life a little difficult? It’s not that I think every clown performance needs a nose. I have done some shows that are most definitely clown based but I didn’t feel it necessary or useful to wear one. But when it works, when you need or want one, it can be really beautiful. Firstly a clown nose lets your audience look at you. Just think about it, you’ve got this little red target right in the middle of your face and very close to your eyes. If you want the truth you look someone in the eyes. Clown is all about the truth. So now with a big red nose between the windows of your soul, people can’t help but look at you and they feel somewhat comfortable doing so. And when you truly look at someone, both clown and audience, you really “see” them and then you can empathise with them. Secondly, now they are looking, the nose reveals you. When you don the little red mask it reveals how you truly are in that moment… if you let it. “Oh I’m fine. Good. Great”, you say. Nose on, eye contact…. mouth trembles and tears fill your eyes… perhaps not so great. It can go the other way too, you think you are feeling terribly serious about life but once that nose is on you burst out laughing. Finally, the nose lets you do more than when you are not wearing one. I don’t think Dolores Clown could get away with half the things she does in her show without the nose and still have people relate to and root for her. Perhaps it’s because no matter how enraged, grief stricken, crazy etc the clown is you cant take someone wearing a nose too seriously no matter what they do or say. Or perhaps it’s because you know the performer doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

As a final note, I should add that I am not advocating that everyone wears a nose. It doesn’t magically transform you. You need to commit to really knowing yourself and being willing to reveal and play with that truth. But it is a good tool (in the right hands…or on the right face) and when worn with courage can be really beautiful.

If you are interested in learning more about clown, I will be running a part time intro clown course in Dublin starting 20th June. See previous post for further details or email carolwalshclown@gmail.com to book/ find out more.

 

To ‘Be’ A Clown – 6 Part Clown Course

Discover your clown and learn to be more authentic, playful and truly connected to others in performance &…. life.

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From the creator of OutRAGEous Fortune comes this 6 part introductory clown course. In clown, it is the performer themselves who is the most compelling. Their authentic response and way of being is what is interesting to their audience. What they do simply reveals that. This course will support participants to begin to discover their inner clown – who they really are behind the social mask and preconceived ideas. Each individual has a unique way of expressing their humanity (their joy, beauty, sorrow, disappointment, enthusiasm…) and when this is done with the playfulness and authenticity of a clown, they can truly connect with their audience.

Throughout, participants will be guided in exercises to promote playfulness, fun, simplicity and authentic expression. They will practice how to respond truthfully in the moment and experience what it means to fully connect with others. They will also start to explore what their clown might like to express to an audience. The work is grounded in Lecoq based physical theatre and Native American clown traditions.

It is an introductory course and open to performers (from all backgrounds), theatre makers, artists and facilitators… at all levels. It is for those who are curious about clown and clown performance. It also for those who would like to explore how the fundamental principles of clown – presence, emotional authenticity and playfulness – could enhance their performance, creative work and life. Non performers with an interest in clown are also very welcome.

Times & Dates: Tuesday evenings: 6.30 – 9.00 pm. 20th & 27th June and 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th July 2017.

Venue: The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1.

Cost: €160/ €130 (student/ unwaged). €30 non refundable deposit required to secure your place. For booking details, please contact Carol at carolwalshclown@gmail.com.

About the facilitator:

Carol is a clown, theatre maker and facilitator. She is a graduate of the London International School of Performing Arts, LISPA – a physical theatre school based on the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She has also trained in drama facilitation with Artstrain (NAYD) and has completed the intensive Clown through Mask and Joey & Auguste course with Sue Morrison. Carol has created and performed two original clown shows A Tale Told by a… Clown for 10 days in Dublin, 2013 and the very successful OutRAGEous Fortune performed at Smock Alley Theatre (Dublin 2016); Cork Arts Theatre and Limerick Fringe Festival this April. She has also created numerous shorter clown cabaret performances both for herself and others.

As a facilitator her previous employers include the VEC, Smashing Times Theatre Company, Dublin Youth Theatre, NAYD, Artstrain and various schools, youth theatres and youth & adult community groups.

Towards Performance – Intermediate Clown Course

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This course is intended for anyone who has completed the Introductory Clown Course or similar (for details on original course see previous post). While continuing to build on key principles – authentic presence, connection and playfulness; it will also encourage you to deepen your knowledge of your inner clown. It will be a space to play, improvise and be inspired to brainstorm and develop new ideas. You will also learn some of the skills required to create clown performances – creating a build within a piece, the importance of an entrance and maintaining authentic emotional connection to oneself and the audience. The overall aims are to facilitate you to continue to practice and explore clown further in a fun environment and to help you begin to work towards creating your own original clown performances.

The course is for anyone interested in creating their own work or continuing to explore what clown can bring to their practice. It is also for those who simply want to continue their journey with clown, to play, improvise and create with others.

Times & Dates: Next course will begin Spring 2017 (exact dates TBC). This course is a 6 part evening course happening once weekly.

Venue: The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1.

Cost: €150/ €125 (student/ unwaged). €35 non refundable deposit required to secure your place. For booking details, please contact carolwalshclown@gmail.com stating it is the follow on course ‘Towards Performance’ you are interested in.

About the facilitator:

Carol is a clown, theatre maker and facilitator. She is a graduate of the London International School of Performing Arts, LISPA – a physical theatre school based on the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She has also trained in drama facilitation with Artstrain (NAYD) and has completed the intensive Clown through Mask and Joey & Auguste course with Sue Morrison. Carol has created and performed two original clown shows A Tale Told by a… Clown for 10 days in Dublin, 2013 and the very successful OutRAGEous Fortune at Smock Alley Theatre earlier this year. She has also created numerous shorter clown cabaret performances both for herself and others.

As a facilitator her previous employers include the VEC, Smashing Times Theatre Company, Dublin Youth Theatre, NAYD, Artstrain and various schools, youth theatres and youth & adult community groups.

To ‘Be’ a Clown – 6 Part Clown Course

Discover your clown and learn to be more authentic, playful and truly connected to others in performance &…. life.

ataletoldbyaclown1

From the creator of OutRAGEous Fortune comes this 6 part introductory clown course. In clown, it is the performer themselves who is the most compelling. Their authentic response and way of being is what is interesting to their audience. What they do simply reveals that. This course will support participants to begin to discover their inner clown – who they really are behind the social mask and preconceived ideas. Each individual has a unique way of expressing their humanity (their joy, beauty, sorrow, disappointment, enthusiasm…) and when this is done with the playfulness and authenticity of a clown, they can truly connect with their audience.

Throughout, participants will be guided in exercises to promote playfulness, fun, simplicity and authentic expression. They will practice how to respond truthfully in the moment and experience what it means to fully connect with others. They will also start to explore what their clown might like to express to an audience. The work is grounded in Lecoq based physical theatre and Native American clown traditions.

It is an introductory course and open to performers (from all backgrounds), theatre makers, artists and facilitators of all levels. It is for those who are curious about clown and clown performance. It also for those who would like to explore how the fundamental principles of clown – presence, emotional authenticity and playfulness – could enhance their performance, creative work and life. Non performers with a keen interest in clown are also welcome.

Times & Dates: Monday evenings: 6.30 – 9.00 pm. 10th,  17th & 24th October and 7th, 14th and 21st November 2016.

Venue: The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1.

Cost: €160/ €130 (student/ unwaged). €30 non refundable deposit required to secure your place. For booking details, please contact Carol at carolwalshclown@gmail.com.

About the facilitator:

Carol is a clown, theatre maker and facilitator. She is a graduate of the London International School of Performing Arts, LISPA – a physical theatre school based on the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She has also trained in drama facilitation with Artstrain (NAYD) and has completed the intensive Clown through Mask and Joey & Auguste course with Sue Morrison. Carol has created and performed two original clown shows A Tale Told by a… Clown for 10 days in Dublin, 2013 and the very successful OutRAGEous Fortune at Smock Alley Theatre earlier this year. She has also created numerous shorter clown cabaret performances both for herself and others.

As a facilitator her previous employers include the VEC, Smashing Times Theatre Company, Dublin Youth Theatre, NAYD, Artstrain and various schools, youth theatres and youth & adult community groups.

To ‘Be’ a Clown – 6 Part Clown Course

Discover your clown and learn to be more authentic, playful and truly connected to others in performance &…. life.

ataletoldbyaclown1

From the creator of OutRAGEous Fortune comes this 6 part introductory clown course. In clown, it is the performer themselves who is the most compelling. Their authentic response and way of being is what is interesting to their audience. What they do simply reveals that. This course will support participants to begin to discover their inner clown – who they really are behind the social mask and preconceived ideas. Each individual has a unique way of expressing their humanity (their joy, beauty, sorrow, disappointment, enthusiasm…) and when this is done with the playfulness and authenticity of a clown, they can truly connect with their audience.

Throughout, participants will be guided in exercises to promote playfulness, fun, simplicity and authentic expression. They will practice how to respond truthfully in the moment and experience what it means to fully connect with others. They will also start to explore what their clown might like to express to an audience. The work is grounded in Lecoq based physical theatre and Native American clown traditions.

It is an introductory course and open to performers (from all backgrounds), theatre makers, artists and facilitators of all levels. It is for those who are curious about clown and clown performance. It also for those who would like to explore how the fundamental principles of clown – presence, emotional authenticity and playfulness – could enhance their performance, creative work and life. Non performers with a keen interest in clown are also welcome.

Times & Dates: Monday evenings: 6.30 – 9.00 pm. 20th & 27th June and 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th July.

Venue: The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1.

Cost: €150/ €125 (student/ unwaged). €35 non refundable deposit required to secure your place. For booking details please contact Carol at carolwalshclown@gmail.com

Following on from this course, there will be an opportunity for further practical study for those interested in creating their own short clown performance.  This is how Dolores the clown was born – her show OutRAGEous Fortune began as a short cabaret clown piece and later developed into a full length performance.

About the facilitator:

Carol is a clown, theatre maker and facilitator. She is a graduate of the London International School of Performing Arts, LISPA – a physical theatre school based on the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She has also trained in drama facilitation with Artstrain (NAYD) and has completed the intensive Clown through Mask and Joey & Auguste course with Sue Morrison. Carol has created and performed two original clown shows A Tale Told by a… Clown for 10 days in Dublin, 2013 and the very successful OutRAGEous Fortune at Smock Alley Theatre earlier this year. She has also created numerous shorter clown cabaret performances both for herself and others.

As a facilitator her previous employers include the VEC, Smashing Times Theatre Company, Dublin Youth Theatre, NAYD, Artstrain and various schools, youth theatres and youth & adult community groups.

 

 

 

Bikram Bouffon – sweat, lumps and bumps

Last Tuesday I facilitated a long awaited Bouffon (Buffoon) workshop. I’d been looking forward to it for a long time – the chaos, the mischief, trying something different to the red nose. I’d actually felt quite giddy about it. Good space to be in, I thought. The day of the workshop arrived. It was a hot, unusually sunny, one. Despite a couple of last minute cancellations, I had a good number. Actually, I realised I knew everyone coming – no pressure.

After a long battle through traffic in a piping hot car, I was feeling a little Bouffon-ish myself. I was beginning to imagine pushing cyclists of their bikes with a long stick and I was very close to sticking up my middle finger at most other drivers. Anyhow, very hot, sticky and a little bothered, I arrived at the workshop venue. I signed in, walked upstairs and pushed open the door of our room. A wall of heat hit me and the thought struck, Oh dear, this could be interesting. One of Ireland’s hottest days this year and your asking people to pad themselves with cushions, pillows and extra clothes – hmmmm.  You see with Bouffon, you pad the body to create a whole new body shape that distorts your own and allows you to be more playful .

As the people trickled in with greetings and introductions; workshop fees were exchanged and clothes were changed getting ready for work. I could feel myself getting slightly discombobulated… Who has yet to come? Who had said they’d be late? What’ll I do if someone passes out with heat stroke? What am I doing after the padding up? Should I move all these tables out of here? Who do I need to give change to?  All the disadvantages of doing your own administration were becoming clear particularly when you are giving a workshop on a topic slightly less familiar to you.

But we began… I had wanted to create a very playful environment. But what I didn’t fully appreciate was… the complexity of Bouffon. You see Bouffon is great fun… but it’s serious fun and its extremely challenging. It requires you to be playful with the things in your nature that you mostly try to hide – your impoliteness, violence, ignorance, sexuality – while simultaneously having a certain beauty and grace. The Bouffon has an edge. It mocks the audience by poking fun at societies norms, regulations and repressions. I remember seeing Eric Davis in his Red Bastard Show, as an audience member I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I wasn’t sure if he was sincere or taking the piss out of me, if I loved him or hated him and vica versa, if he was beautiful or grotesque. In fact, he seemed to be all these things. He’s a great Bouffon.

To facilitate a Bouffon workshop, you need to be very aware of what your asking of your participants and the energy you are creating in the room. While studying Bouffon at LISPA, I remember doing a group improv that was building to extreme violence, a kind of mob killing and mid way I had to stop – I was getting extremely dizzy. Expressing the aggression in my own nature was a little overwhelming.

In this workshop there was an air of playfulness and simultaneously uncertainty as people played with being not so nice, breaking the rules and being a little outrageous. Some were straight in Bouffoned to the max, others a little hesitant – really, you want me to be… how rude? I could see this and it was pretty much what one would expect… but I wasn’t entirely sure how to respond all the time. Then, everyone padded up. It was fun watching others explore what body shape allowed them to be more playful. Some opted for huge bums, others… breasts, others… a giant belly and some all three. Again some people found it more easily. Others looked not so sure but decided to go with what they had. I got them to explore how they might move with this new body both individually and as a group. This was actually very interesting especially when they looked at the audience. However, it was also when I started to panic a little – people looked hot, faces got redder and sweat beads began to appear on people’s brows – I was thinking, Please God no one faint.

I decided to have a short break and resume with some guided improvisations. It was quite a change of direction. This work was looking at the Bouffon in real life situations as opposed to just playing more abstractly. I gave different scenarios and asked people to jump in, play and just see what happens. Then we discussed what works and what doesn’t. This is something I am very used to. It’s the way I was trained at LISPA. However, it can be difficult if you’re not used to it – both practically and personally. It’s the throw you in the deep end before you have the knowledge approach. As time goes on you discover for yourself (and through the Lecoq teaching) what a piece needs. And it needs a lot – rhythm, a build, clear characters, defined space (place) etc. You get used to being told what you are trying to do doesn’t always look like what your audience sees. It can be frustrating and enlightening. In my workshop, those who were used to devising/ critically looking at theatre seemed more comfortable with this whereas those that were new to it looked a little lost. At this point I had a realistion… uncertainty and even failure are not the issues; what’s important is that people feel comfortable (or at least willing to risk) being uncertain and allowing themselves to fail. And in fairness, this group gave it a shot.

After the workshop, I felt a little strange. It wasn’t quite what I had imagined. Of course it couldn’t be. I’d built this workshop up in my head. Between that and all the practical, admin and heat issues as well as trying to cover nearly the whole subject of Bouffon – yeah, I kind of did… On the flip side, there were definitely some really fun moments and interesting scenarios that with more time could have really worked – I’m not trying to throw baby out with bathwater.

What I learnt was… to be more simple;  sometimes you are just not as present as you can be; know what you are asking of people and acknowledge what is in the room; it is up to you to create an environment of trust and that can take time; to create something truly funny often requires that something serious – sometimes difficult – needs to be expressed and acknowledged first. In red nose clown I am so aware of this – you have to acknowledge and express your own sadness/anger/ disappointment seriously in order to be able to play with it.

I will revisit Bouffon again. It’s a fascinating subject. In the immediate future, I’m looking forward to the familiar vulnerability of the red nose and being “with” an audience once more.