Clown - The Mask of Stupidity, Fragility and Humanity
'Good clowns never try to be funny. They are very serious but eager and hopeful
creatures, lost in a hostile world.' This Quote from JB Priestly neatly encapsulates
the actor's journey into clowning. In my play 'Clowns in the Mist', devised with
drama students from Rose Bruford College and subsequently taken to the Glastonbury
International Festival, the clowns are portrayed as a newly discovered species in the
wild whose encounter with modern civilization explored the comedy, pathos and tragedy
of the red-nosed clown. The Italian film director Federico Fellini had a fascination
with clowns as can be seen from films such as 'La Strada', 'Eight and a Half'
and 'Clowns'. Drawing on Jungian Psychology, he saw the auguste as a shadow figure,
a target for our repressed instincts and energies, in conflict with the authoritarian
and rational white face clown.
Emphasis would be placed on the lack of self-consciousness and self-reflexiveness one
also finds in The Shakespearean rustic clown as interpreted by William Kempe. The more
knowing Shakespearean clown of Robert Armin belongs in another category. The ideas and
themes above would be explored through play and practical dramatic exercises aimed to
elict an experience and understanding of this compelling figure for the actor.