Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Clown Training

I don’t subscribe to theories of clown as mask, as play, as physical theatre, as religion, as anything except what it is: clown. Clown is very simple. At most, it is an attitude. An attitude to life, to oneself, to the world. We don’t need techniques, or methods, or psychology, or safe environments, or anything except a desire to invert our habitual fear of ridicule into pleasure in self-ridicule, and to use it to make others laugh.

I don’t like to use too many games, exercises, techniques. These are only ways of fooling us into thinking we are working hard. I prefer just to start. To relate. To look. To listen. To lead students along a path that lets them enjoy their own stupidity and exposing it to their friends.

When you really look, most things are ridiculous: our bodies, our movements, our ideas, our emotions, our words, our relationships, the universe. The only aim is to turn failure into success, fear into laughter, suffering into joy. We don’t need to change ourselves, just look at it all with another perspective. It’s a human thing to do, so anyone can do it. Although only a few will choose to dedicate their lives to it, anyone can experience the clown.

Clown Training often finds itself going in a completely different direction to orthodox concepts of what education is, such as the contemporary obsessions with aims and objectives, learning strategies and pathways, levels and units, achieving potential or acquiring skills. It’s more a kind of anti-education, blurring truth and pretence, intelligence and stupidity, knowledge and ignorance.

Monday, 5 March 2012


17 y 18 de MARZO
Profesora: Clara Cenoz
Precio: 200€ (180€ si ya has realizado un curso previo con nosotros) El precio incluye curso de 15h como mínimo, alojamiento, tres comidas vegetarianas diarias, dos snacks a medía mañana y media tarde y visionado de videos relacionados con el contenido del curso por la noche.
Llegada: 16 de Marzo a las 20:00h en la estación de tren de Figueres.
Salida: 18 de Marzo a las 20:00h (el horario puede cambiar según las necesidades del grupo)
Hay que traer: saco de dormir y almohada, toalla para la ducha, linterna, nariz roja con elástico (la Escola tiene a la venta por 3€), ropa cómoda para clase, calzado para andar por el campo.
Se pedirá al alumno que traiga un cuento corto, dos chistes y una poesía aprendidos.

¿Eres de esas personas que se sienten a gusto siendo Payasos pero aun no se atreven a abrir la boca porque no saben cómo hablar? ¿O sabes qué decir, pero no te sientes bien con la voz de tu Clown?

A veces cuando se aprende a ser Payaso puede resultar más fácil mantener el estado Clown sin hablar que hablando. Cuando hablamos, o bien no sabemos si hablar con nuestra voz habitual, o no sabemos si debemos usar nuestra forma habitual de expresarnos, de pensar y de comunicarnos. Incluso nuestro sentido del humor puede variar de estar en Clown o no, y lo comprobamos cuando hacemos bromas como hacemos normalmente pero siendo Payasos no funcionan. Nos damos cuenta de que hay una línea muy sutil y que si la cruzamos perdemos el estado Clown y por lo tanto el efecto que deseamos causar en el público. ¿Por qué sucede todo esto y cómo cambiarlo? En este curso puedes reunir la suficiente comprensión sobre este tema para poder saber, en el futuro, cómo hablar desde tu Clown y cuál es la voz más adecuada para él/ella. Repasaremos las bases del Clown para comprender cómo piensa un Payaso y cómo afecta esto a su forma de hablar. Veremos de dónde debe salir la voz del Clown y porqué. Nos contaremos cosas mutuamente para experimentar cómo contar un cuento, un chiste o explicar qué es la Araquibutirofobia o cuál es, en nuestra opinión Clown, la situación mundial actual. Buscaremos la voz Clown que nos produce más placer.

Preferiblemente hay que tener algo de experiencia como Clown, pero si no la tienes y quieres venir puedes hacerlo, sabiendo que tal vez sea mucha información de golpe!

+34 622 110 537


17th-18th March
Teacher: Clara Cenoz
Cost: €200€ (€180 if you have previously studied with us.) Price includes course fees (15 hours minimum), accommodation, three vegetarian meals per day, plus two snacks, and evening video-viewing session.
Arrival: 16th March at 8pm at Figueres train station.
Departure: 18th March at 8pm (the timetable may vary according to the group’s needs)
Please bring: sleeping bag and pillow, towel for shower, torch, red clown nose with elastic (the School has some on sale at €3), loose clothing for class, footwear for walking in the countryside.
We ask students to bring a short story to tell, tow jokes and a poem, already learnt.

Are you one of those people who feel comfortable as a Clown but still don’t dare open their mouth because they don’t know how to talk as a Clown? Or do you know what to say, but don’t feel comfortable with your Clown’s voice?

Sometimes when you study Clown it can be easier to maintain the Clown state when you don’t speak. When we speak, we don’t know whether to speak with our ordinary voice, or whether we should use the way we usually express ourselves, our way of thinking and communicating. Even our sense of humour can vary depending on if we are in Clown state or not, which we can see when we try and make jokes as we do usually but which don’t work as Clowns. We realise there is a very fine line where, if we cross it, we lose the Clown state and thus the effect we want to have on the audience. Why does this happen and how can we change it? In this course you will explore this issue in order to be able, in the future, to speak from your Clown, with the voice which is most apt for him/her. We will revise the fundamentals of Clown so as to understand how a Clown thinks and how this affects their way of speaking. We will see from where the Clown’s voice comes from, and why. We will tell each other things in order to experiment with storytelling, joke-telling or explaining what Araquibutyrophobia is, or what is, in our Clown opinion, the current world situation. We will search for the Clown voice which gives most pleasure.

It is preferable to have had some experience of Clown, but those without experience are Welcome, in the knowledge that they may be receiving a lot of input in a short space of time!

+34 622 110 537

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Mickey Mouse and Julius Caesar, Two Clowns Busking on the South Bank, London

Looking for a busking pitch on the South Bank, where officially permission must be sought from the owners of this privately owned piece of land. But not getting any reply from the owners, it's a question of trial and error.  Next to a couple of fancy human statues who have put a lot of work into their costumes we find the ubiquitous Mickey Mouse. Everyone wearing a Mickey Mouse costume that I've seen seems to have the same gestural language. I don't just mean that they all wave, but that they also all have the same kind of shuffling movement, combined with a lack of fixed points probably brought on by the way the weight of the costume is distributed. In contrast, the posh statues have a mime-trained look, displaying their technique with pride. Not being a fan anymore of such clean-lined gestuality (I had a good year doing mime in the Theatre Jeune de Narbonne, partly as my French wasn't good enough to speak on stage) I find I am not prejudiced aesthetically in favour of either Mickey or Julius Caesar. They appear to me as equal contestants, and my impression is that they both work on the same fundamental principles. Leaving aside quesitons of aesthetic superiority, people are attracted to Mickey and Julius becaue of .... what is it exactly? The strangeness of these other-worldly beings, arrived from another world, the world of the dead, or the never having been born? Mythical incarnations, sent to bless, or to scare us. Isn't it that essentially what makes them tick? My own field, clowning, surely then comes into the same category. Appear as a clown, and you are a clown. Let us place two clowns side by side. One, who has trained with several world-reknowned teachers, spending large sums on workshops to gurus who sometimes deliver and sometimes do not, travelling internationally to improve his/her understanding and practice of clowning, seeking out the truth of their own vulnerability in the moment, exposing their inner clown to the audience, and costumed thoughfully, drawing on ocntemporary and historical fahions of clowning, but always looking for what makes them as an individual work best and appear mot ridiculous. The other, costumed in an off-the-peg multi-coloured, synthetic-fabric outfit, no training, no thought. Both clowns.

Today, I don't fancy competing with the statues, I've come to play music, so I choose the other side of Hungerford Bridge, placed strategically to allow viewing and litening from those descending the bridge, those in the terraces outside the Royal Festival Hall, and anyone else strolling along the river on this sunny-ish lunchtime. It's the ideal spot, there's enough space not to annoy anyone who doesn't want to listen, but excellent sightlines. The only drawback is it isn't permitted here, so I last half an hour at most. Still, it's worth it for the positive reactions from those who frequent these spaces dedicated to high art. They are generally an appreciative and discerning audience. I wonder if they prefer Mickey or Caesar?