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June 7, 2008

clown classes update

by sven at 4:40 pm

"1-North" clown mask

The clowning classes I was taking from Barnaby King have basically wrapped up. There's talk about doing a performance sometime in August... But I'll believe it when plans are a bit more concrete.

I've learned so much from these classes. This particular school of clowning is probably not what you'd expect... There's essentially zero discussion of gags, slapstick, and physical comedy. Instead, the classes have been all about finding an emotion, amplifying it, connecting with the audience, and sharing your moment-to-moment experience. That's stuff that's relevant to stopmo, theatrical acting, and novel-writing as well as clown.

Outside of the class, I found myself writing copiously in my journal, trying to digest the ideas. At the end of the main sequence of classes, I formatted all this text into a 46-page booklet/zine as a gift for my classmates and teacher. And still I find myself writing more.

The mask you see above was a project from one of the weekend intensives. It was a neat process. We sculpted lumps of clay with our eyes closed, then papier mached over the forms to make a mask. Painting was a similarly intuitive process, where we felt the shape with our eyes closed, and found all the areas that should be red, all the areas that should be orange, and so on... The product: A mask that we perform in just once, for the purpose of adding a new emotional color to our personal palette.

Barnaby's going to be moving to Chicago at the end of the summer -- but before he goes, there's going to be one more weekend class on August 9 & 10. For anyone who has an interest in performance -- in any style -- I can't recommend this class highly enough!

posted by sven | June 7, 2008 4:40 PM | categories: classes & workshops