Removal of Fear
Performing and writing from the truth of your own failures and
disappointments, can be epiphany as it becomes evident how many people
relate to your fears and confusions and appreciate seeing them on stage
where they can communally laugh at both your character and themselves.
Most stories about failure, people want to engage with and needed to laugh about so apparently we clowns are not alone in this predicament.
Bruckner writes in his book and describes our relationship with failure and happiness: “happiness today is not just a possibility or an option but a requirement and a duty. To fail to be happy is to fail utterly. Happiness has become a religion--one whose smiley-faced god looks down in rebuke upon everyone who hasn't yet attained the blessed state of perpetual euphoria. How has a liberating principle of the Enlightenment--the right to pursue happiness--become the unavoidable and burdensome responsibility to be happy? How did we become unhappy about not being happy--and what might we do to escape this predicament?”
Clowns constantly feel the pressure to succeed and accomplish and they
constantly fail. From audience response to performances it became clear that
we are not alone in feeling this pressure to conform to the prescribed norms,
or in the burden of disappointing a ‘smiley faced god’ or others simply by
being yourself. A clown’s public admittance of their disappointment, shame
and confusion creates an opportunity for acceptance and recognition, for both
the clown and the audience members, which results in communal celebration
of our foibles through laughter and joy. We all go home feeling better
about ourselves, even though we were the same “failures” who entered the
Brazilian clown Angela de Castro (1955-) believes this is the purpose of clown, “you put yourself in this position to represent people’s mistakes, or people’s difficulties, and to expose that.”
Consequently clown can become a vehicle for storytelling, as it is a place where you can truthfully present yourself in all your faulty glory. Over the years, I have explored the power of clown to expose issues of the human condition requiring hope and courage: failure, fear, despair, loss, isolation, shame, depression and disappointment. These are not funny human conditions, but when I have presented these rather dire realities as a clown to an audience they always laugh, which made the situation more bearable and less isolating.
So to conclude embrace your failure, don’t fear it.
The majority of this module takes place in nose, elements of it are in full-faced mask and we also use blindfolds.