ok so one has the concept (look at the rickety yet seemingly effective bridge that has brought her here)...
but now getting the thing done...
Jet lag has been useful. Sleeping few hours and waking sharply and definitively at 4,5,6,7am, I have had the benefit of extra quiet hours at the computer - planning setups for improvisations, collating, elaborating, making connections. Pulling up images as inspirations and examples. Our rehearsal time is limited to a couple of evenings and weekends so elegance of time is paramount. For devised work you need props (well, if you are choosing to work with props). You need to play with them before the full potential unfolds.
I have an idea of the 'world' but not all the detail yet. There will be minimal dialogue so movement and objects will create the action. The detail evolves in the devising. Erm, but the rules of the 'world' need to inform the devising!
On Monday, I sat with one of the company members ordering the first round of props online, from China. I found myself dithering, nervous...'if this prop, what convention is installed/destroyed?' 'when mime and when prop?' Some props you know you want - others have to prove themselves. If we don't buy we can't play. Some stupid element (object) may provide a later payoff - something sublime. Another purchase might be a mistake. Instinct, risk, foot over cliff.
Problems are good. The Fringe Mime and Movement Laboratory liked the concept matter of the show, but the 'scary clown' phenomena is not well known here. So - I have devised a film 'script' - a sequence of images and graphics to set up the concept of a witch-hunt for clowns. This will be shown as part of the action during the piece.
It will give the set-up / backstory with some but not complete reference to the outer world. A 'what if'. 'What if' the appearance of a scary clown had caused a round up of Clowns. There is another 'What if' I have already committed to . 'What if clowns were clowns 24/7?' Clowns by DNA, as it were. The play is set in an alternate, Absurd or Clown reality. Different rules of logic will apply. We can /need to use clown tropes but are we going to a meta level - we need to be cleverer, adapt the clown tropes to serve the narrative. I usually say in my clown workshops 'avoid narrative'. To serve the arc. The step by step logical progression (the unfolding of an illogical logic?? The dramaturgy of stoopid?? The presentation of compelling visual images/ metaphors??) Mamet says character is plot. Does a Clown pursue a 'specific, acute goal?' Yes. No. A clown only wants to be a Clown, to play. Even in the most dangerous of situations...
Forget Drama, turn to the Absurd. my faithful friend Wikipedia identifies these characteristics of Absurd Theatre : 'broad comedy, often similar to vaudeville, mixed with horrific or tragic images; characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense; plots that are cyclical or absurdly expansive; either a parody or dismissal of realism, and the concept of the "well-made play". The concept / world of The Death of Fun (Chinese Title: 樂於嚇人 ‘Pleasure to Scare You') needs to be realised at the level of buckets, buzzers, boings and balloons.
Practical problems. Language barrier and budgetary issues mean that the designer is coming on board later in the day. I have felt nervous without access to a designer to force me to articulate more clearly, to offer alternatives, developments, challenges and offer solutions (I lack making skills). With each online purchase comes the question of colour palette! I am using the poster photoshoot as a template and keeping my fingers crossed.
The theme of the hijacking of the Clown (by horror films and other corporations) offers possibilities and implications in terms of world order (every day I see an image of one of the western leaders with clown makeup superimposed). But to step into that world means a commitment to satire. Yes there can be satirical clowns. For me, satire is too sophisticated for 24/7 clowns - the piece must be solved with its own elements. And with more heart than satire seems to afford. The basic 'what ifs' are the things that need to be served. We are building a bridge with buckets and balloons.
A Facebook friend, Ralf Wetzel, is a Belgium-based performer who recently has had the great good fortune / resourcefulness to work with the inspiring and deeply human Keith Johnstone.
"As quick as you are trying your best, you’re in control mode and you prevent something else from happening. If you try to be average, you prevent becoming stressed and stiff. You allow the universe to give you something." Keith Johnstone, London 2017.
Reset goal for average. Allow some empty space.
The Fool card. Humility. Optimism. Allowing each emotion to pass through. There company of faithful, playful companion(s). Just taking the next step. One foot after the other. Even when there seems to be no sure footing.
About the Absurd
In his 1965 book, Absurd Drama, Esslin wrote:
'The Theatre of the Absurd attacks the comfortable certainties of religious or political orthodoxy. It aims to shock its audience out of complacency, to bring it face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation as these writers see it. But the challenge behind this message is anything but one of despair. It is a challenge to accept the human condition as it is, in all its mystery and absurdity, and to bear it with dignity, nobly, responsibly; precisely because there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of existence, because ultimately man is alone in a meaningless world. The shedding of easy solutions, of comforting illusions, may be painful, but it leaves behind it a sense of freedom and relief. And that is why, in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation.'
Sentences. Construction. Finding one's way.
Well, it's true what I read (who said it?) - in order to write about something, you don't need to know what you are going to say; you will find that out in the process of writing.
I often sit down thinking I don't dare write a blog post. I would love to possess a finer level of Academic thinking. Humility. But it's a fine practice to aim to articulate. Optimism. To explore. Foot over cliff.
Devising a show / writing a blog.
I mentioned in my last post that I wasn't sure whether I would have the brain space /time to sustain a process blog / reflection log. The jet lag is abating. Eight hours sleep last night, thank you for asking.
Another evening rehearsal session tonight. Onwards. Honk.
Currently in Hong Kong, a few days before rehearsal begins on The Death of Fun, the production I will be devising with The Fringe Mime and Movement Laboratory.
I am continuing to compile notes and organise my thoughts towards the coming production, which will be (despite the title of this blog post) in the style of Clown, Dark Clown and the Absurd. This show is going to be an experiment, in the same way that the production of Hamlet or Die (produced 2000 for Mime Lab) was. Hamlet or Die was an experiment in whether one could make a full length show in Dark Clown style. The challenge with The Death of Fun, is to make a Clown show about Clowning - or, more specifically addressing some of the recent threats to the art / profession of clowning. You can google 'scary clown' to throw up a number of online articles on this subject.
How much of a threat is posed to Clowning by the phenomenon of the Scary Clown (pranksters, thugs and horror films) and by the fact that Coulraphobia (fear of Clowns is on the rise, or has become , as they say, a 'thing' - despite the words Greek roots, it is a neologism, circa 1980's). I have been reading and collecting these articles - and was pleased to read this rather wonderfully comprehensive and thoughtful Smithsonian article on the subject today.
This post is somewhat undisciplined (it has a split focus).
In part it may serve as the first of a series of posts making a rough log of the production process (we'll see whether time allows for both doing and reflection).
It's also an informal wondering brought on by working here in Hong Kong.
I read some (not yet all) of J Crump's book Chinese Theater in Days of Kublai Khan (Michigan Monographs in Chinese Studies. I wanted to be more informed about Chinese clown heritage (one of the characters in The Death of Fun will be inspired by a comic Chinese performer). It struck me, reading through the scenarios in Crump's book, that there are some similarities between the comic aspects of Chinese Opera and Commedia dell' Arte. Both forms have a 'family' of well-defined / stock character types. Chinese Opera plots are more concerned with historical stories and myths, and seem more devoted to delivering a moral message than Commedia does. The Chou (likeable, foolish characters in Chinese Opera) are given some license to improvise and have comic exchanges using copious puns. I have seen a delicious video where a character meets his own double.* I think Barry Grantham gives, in one of his books, a script where Harlequin meets his twin.
Director William Sun creates works putting Chinese Opera and Commedia together
I'd love to find someone who has done the due research and writing on all the similarities and differences between these two forms. Googling for books or articles on the subject, I found that a director, William Sun, worked with the Shangai Theatre Academy to create a fusion of Chinese Opera and Commedia. You can see a youtube clip where he speaks about it here.
Western Clown and Chinese Clown
And to continued to be undisciplined / split focus - while thinking of similarities and differences - it's interesting that while the Western clown is most usually signified by a red nose, the defining characteristic of the Chinese clown's makeup is a small patch of white around the nose. In Chinese culture, apparently this represents either a mean or secretive nature or a quick wit.
* the clip is 'The True and the Fake Wu Dalang' - first he gives a clever story with lots of rhythmic repetition, introduces himself, then at about 2.56 he meets his twin. Check the demanding skill to play the whole thing crouched! Thanks to my friend Yang Wei Wei for her translation.
Yup, it's me. Circa 1994/1995 on a previous visit to Hong Kong when I attended (with great gratitude and humility - the work is so detailed and demanding) workshops with Cantonese Opera Performer Master Yung Kim Wah, culminating in the privilege to undergo the full costume experience - wig, makeup and then costume. It took hours. This is not a comic character, but the Female Warrior or General.
Here follows my response to a recent request that came to me via the website, regarding a 2015 blog post about working with audiences:
Although I teach Clowning, I also teach a course called Comedy Toolbox, aimed at actors delivering comic text, devising theatre makers and improvisors. I also teach Commedia dell'Arte, Physical Theatre, Mime and (now!) Archetypal Mask.
I have for many years been interested in comedy and the phenomena of laughter. I have a number of books on comedy on my shelves - I have also read Oliver Double's book Stand-Up! I found Robert R. Provine's book Laughter: A Scientific Investigation very interesting.
In my Dark Clown work, understanding of the mechanics of laughter is key.
When I perform I cross-over genres. Since 1999, (and in a 1984 show called Hiroshima Mon Amour - no relation to the film) occasionally earlier, my shows have used/use direct address to the audience. In 1987 I performed with Claire Dowie in All over Lovely. She and her collaborator Colin Watkeys described their work as "Stand-up Theatre.' My shows from 1999 onwards include, in various combinations aspects of story-telling, spoken word, comedy, long-form standup, clowning and physical theatre. One audience member described my show Imperfection as 'non-linear drama'. Dave Spathaky (ex- Ra Ra Zoo Circus Company) who set up the Facebook page 'Clown Power', recently described me this way: 'Peta Lily...is in a liminal world between clown and theatre. She has really invented her own genre.' Thank you Dave!
I love the craft of comedy and am fascinated by the skills involved in creating and managing audience engagement. I enjoy reading about the business of laughter making, so the work of standup comedians is of interest to me. I appreciate very much that Oliver Double has made a methodical and yet still practical study of comedy. I appreciate his investigative approach - I was struck in 'Stand-up!' that Double had identified that the cultural stereo-typing of old-school style comedians was partly influenced by the environment of the working man's club - noisy, full of distractions and highly social - so jokes needed to be in a vivid short-hand to have impact.
How can I stop laughing, they ask me…
Of course a clown can provoke feelings of sadness, pity and wonder, but, as Philippe Gaulier once said: 'A clown is someone who is paid to make the audience laugh.'
When it comes to comedy in general many professional funny men and women succumb to laughter* during film and television takes - usually (but not always) due to something a fellow performer has done. Blooper reels provide ample evidence of this and I remember watching vaudeville as a child and seeing my parents delight in seeing performers taken by something unexpected in the moment.
But the clown is different to a comedian. The clown is um, different in general.
Clowns operate by alternate rules. They inhabit a different state of mind and spirit.
Whether or not they wear the red nose they are a mask, no?
Even hybrid clown / comedians like Jim Carey or Steve Martin stay in state - if they laugh or smile it's at something happening within the reality of the character /clown they have created - see this Steve Martin video.
Occasionally students ask how they can stop laughing at their fellow 'trainee idiots'. Or at the reaction the audience is giving.
It strikes me that a better question is: 'how can I stay more securely in clown state?'. How can I not 'pop' out of clown state?
One answer: practice.
Spend longer in clown state. Immerse. Feel it in your body. Inhabit it.
Feel the differentness to normality and savour that state more.
Develop a taste for non-plussment.
An investigative / trouble-shooter answer:
We are always surprised into laughter - so, once you are back in your chair after the exercise, ask yourself what surprised you...
Then - see if you can interest yourself in making your wonder greater than your surprise.
Another version of the 'practice' answer might be: stick with training and have a few substantial failures, then you will have gained some more gravitas. It's natural for energy to run high when you are in a playful group and enjoying your first experience of learning clown. To be tough one might say: be humble. If factors conspire adversely, or if skill is lacking, laughter can evaporate from an audience as quickly as moisture in a desert. Keep your stakes high.
Another answer, and perhaps the most readily applicable guide in the moment:
Be more with the audience than with your fellow clowns…be more interested in what's happening.
Be in a state of curiousity - be interested in the laughter not not infected by it.
As the wonderful Avner the Eccentric says in his 15th principle: Be interested not interesting.
Use the Buddhist story I mentioned in my previous post - adopt the mental attitude of 'I don't know if that's good or bad'.
I love problems - I look forward to generating a new exercise or two for this...
Which bit of your ego can you release?
The wonderful Jeremy Stockwell says that 'nerves' are vanity.
Is excitement at having fun something that you can notice, and release?
Cultivate the joy of not-knowing.
Buster Keaton looks other-worldly in this image. Impossible to read his expression as either despair or hope. It's like a face in a Giotto fresco. A divine mystery. Sublime. That's how it can affect an audience.
But as practitioners, we need to be practical, so let's demystify:
Master Cabaret performer, Compère and teacher Paul L. Martin uses this as his clown mantra: expect nothing, accept everything.
I love it - so Buddhist. Contact your inner existential 'one-flavour'.
If the clown is to be a true mirror for humanity, then they should be as well acquainted with despair and desolation as they are with mirth...
Jeremy Stockwell invites his students to think of the yin yang symbol - there is a seed of tragedy in comedy and vice versa.
Clowns have their own thought process, they are sincere at seeking solutions, but ultimately ready to see all possibility. Circumstances can change on a dime.
Hm what about the Clown in Trickster mode - well, might it be that they are sincere in wreaking chaos, curious to see the results of their actions...? Tricksters exist liminal-ly - also refusing polarised opinions with their mantra 'maybe...maybe not'.
About Buster Keaton's deadpan. His parents had a variety act. they played a couple who fought. They told their son to sit at the edge of the stage, expressionlessly. Water would be spilled amongst all the onstage roughhousing. Keaton's father would pick him up by his braces, and use the boy to mop the floor, then dump him back on his seat.
*it's called 'corpsing' in the theatre
this started as a FB post on the Workshops page but got big so here it is on the blog:
...recently taught a four day Clown workshop at RADA - wonderful participants and we worked with Clowns delivering text, too.
I had a sudden inspiration to ask them to make their personal Clown Coat of Arms. I did a rough one myself that day on the back of my notes. Today I sat down and made this - different to the first one (I think there are so many different versions I could make).
This in the shape of a star because an actual shield shape is in the vernacular of war and defence, no? The clown works best with no defences. Not defenceless, but flexibly resourceful and responsive - as in Aikido. Like a good facilitator, the Clown needs to be able to include responses. Jean-Claude Audergon - who works using Arny Mindell's Process Oriented Psychology in many contexts including Conflict Resolution - used to say that a good facilitator needs to be like Swiss Cheese i.e. full of holes 'the bullets go straight through'. The aim is to take nothing personally - it's best to take the point of view that even the person taking the 'shot' is just channelling a spirit of the moment, making a cry for an unmet need, giving voice to something that is not yet present in the room.
Genuis is the clown's genius - I could have equally written creativity or creative spark or intuition.
Imagination is separately present here - but I see the genius as the plug into the collective flow which we could call Imagination (like Wordsworth's way of using 'imagination' I guess, but funnier).
Equanimity (not having a polarised, strict value-driven point of view*) is in a triangle which looks to me like a visual representation of Avner the Eccentrics advice to put the weight on the under surfaces of the body (something achieved nicely by working with the Hara - the hip area centre of gravity, near/same as? the sacral chakra) - in Aikido, Chi Gung and Tai Chi this gives a flexible stability - a responsive strength, not a brittle state of 'resist', or uncharitable and effortful state of 'in spite of'.
I've already mentioned the value of flexible viewpoint - and best if that is added to a physical Flexibility or agility as well. One of the greatest leaps forward you can make in Clown training or practice is to gain the skill of agility to be in the moment. This moment, now, no, this new moment, no, THIS moment (you get the point).
Failure is a handy word to differentiate the Clown's alternate / contradictory / flexible viewpoint. The 'sad normals' modus operandi (in the main) is to to regret, hide or deflect attention away from their human failings. When the clown allows her/himself to be seen in the moment of failure - it's an act of generosity. Being able to be with 'failure' - or not place a value judgement on events that might normally be perceived as failure - is equanimity.
Ah how it all overlaps.
Failure is a moment that, with a bit of comedy craft, can be turned into success. It's an opportunity to show humanity, to release the pressure valve the 'sad normals' keep screwed down.
Generosity could have been love - but the word 'love' is so loaded...this represents for me the fact that the clown is there for the audience, with the audience.
The motto in Latin would be: dignitas indignitas which sounds kinda classy (and has a joyful rhythm and repetition - plus points!) which would in direct translation be: 'dignity in indignity' - but it looks to me less clumsy (also easier to hear - the principle of Clarity ! - see my list of C-words elsewhere in this blog) as 'Dignity in no Dignity.
*look up the Buddhist story about the Farmer, the stallion and his son. The Farmer met every event with 'I don't know if it's good or bad'. You know how that dreadful thing that happened and how you railed and hurt and wept and then, years later, you are dancing with glee and gratitude that it did happen...? No? Just me?
The Fringe Mime and Movement Laboratory are a small and enduring company of mime-trained practitioners based in Hong Kong, about to celebrate their 30 year anniversary.
Mime Lab, (as they are know for short) have mounted shows directed by the highly respected veteran mime /physical theatre practitioner David Glass, and also invited me to direct them a number of times.
In 2000, they were courageous enough to invite me to create a show for them in Dark Clown: Hamlet or Die. (Audiences were, in the main, shell-shocked: ‘Electrifying…It set a new benchmark for me’ ; ‘hilarious and disturbing’ ; ‘troubling and powerful ; ‘it was very good….ruined my Friday evening’ ; ‘full of power and commitment’ ; ‘wonderful and awful’ ; ‘I sang along with the prison guard and afterwards I felt so small’ ; ‘we felt so totally implicated and yet none of us got up to leave’ ; ‘horrifically, hilariously fascinating!’) It allowed my thinking and teaching of the body of work I was developing under the title of Dark Clown to develop to a new level.
Mime Lab have invited me back to direct a new piece. I knew I wanted to do something on the seeming rise of phobia about clowns. Also to deal with the hijacking of clowns by thugs. And the sorry fact that daily in satirical cartoons and Facebook posts the word 'clown' is bandied about as an insult. And it's unsettling to see some people in positions of responsibility adopting an air of bluster and rascality as a kind of misdirection - i.e the ex-Lord Mayor seems to want to give a message : 'I am harmless, forgivable'. To make a lame joke - it's giving clowns a bad name.
But of course, it's more complicated than that. Not all clowns are sweet - they unsettle, their have their roots in the tricksters of ancient times - deceivers, mischief-makers, creators of chaos (for example the Norse god, Loki).
Many have written on this subject, and spoken on it. You can check out the Clown Symposiums held by Bim Mason*.
Here is what I wrote a while ago as a short mission statement/preliminary vision' to myself: Coulraphobia (fear of clowns) is on the rise. Who is at risk? What is at risk? When is funny heartwarming and when is it threatening? Can you venture to the Uncanny Valley and survive? If horror movies make us fear clowns, then who do clowns fear? Thugs masquerade as clowns. McDonald’s ‘enslave’ a clown. Politicians are colonising nonsense. When chaos and unpredictability is everywhere – what happens to the clown? And what happens to the human heart? And if clowns were to rebel – would they resort to mischief or mayhem?
Grateful to Mime Lab and also grateful to fellow theatre practitioners and other valued friends who took time time today to reply to my request for feedback on copy towards advertising the show.
I knew 'Coulraphobia' would not work for the piece as show title in English or in Cantonese. Mime Lab delighted me with the title: The Death of Fun’ Chinese Title: 樂於嚇人 (translates as 'Pleasure to Scare You').
A journalist friend supplied finessing and a satisfying last line for the brief poster copy:
The Death of Fun
What would life be like without laughter?
The clowns of the world are worried.
No one is taking them seriously...
Horror meets humour - but the absurd has the last laugh.
A fellow theatre practitioner challenged the 'mission statement' above: '...too many big questions. They're all valid but they feel disconnected: is it about what the clowns fear? is it about them being annoyed that thugs, politicians and mcdonald's give them a bad name by masquarading as clowns? Who is going to the Uncanny Valley? Also some questions feel like they could relate to the show and others like they're a commentary on the outside world. How do the two fit together?
I can see that there are strands inspiring my original thinking e.g. Uncanny Valley and allusion to political events and corporate power which will serve better as driving the spirit of the piece (external context rather than overt content).
I am aiming to explore:
...a kind of ‘Huis Clos’ for Clowns – an assortment of clowns find themselves gathered together in an unspecified location. A mime clown, a Chaplin lookalike, a Cantonese Opera Clown, a scary masked clown, a traditional western circus clown. Are they here for a celebration, for an audition, for a funeral, for questioning? Or worse? They find themselves compelled to perform: acrobatics, plate spinning, balloon animals. What if they fail? Existential problem – Clowns are born to fail. And if Failure is not an option what is the appropriate punishment? Surgical removal of the Funny Bone?
*Bim Mason’s Clown Power Symposium 2017
(you can also see Bim Mason’s Clown Power Symposium 2016 – where I spoke about my Dark Clown work
'The mask made me do it', said one participant at one of the Summer Schools I recently taught.
Again and again, as each improvisation came to a close participants resumed their normal selves with a distinct feeling of having been 'other'. I have seen this happen with the Commedia dell'Arte masks I work with at RADA.
I have been working with a set of eight Archetypal Masks (not like the one pictured, that's an atmospheric photo-collage image) - plus one carnival Death mask.
In my years of performing and teaching physical theatre I am passionate about opening up the body to more freedom of and delight in expression. The mask demands more physically from the masked performer (the face needs to be visible, the body needs to harmonise and respond in the moment, and an awareness of how to use the performing space is important).
But it was remarkable to see how people's focus and ability to mime invisible objects was enhanced by the masks.
I am planning a course in Archetypal Mask work in 2018 - stay tuned to hear about that.
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I am enjoying this talk on the Buddha at the Gas Pump site -
Jeannie Zandi values the 'dark night of the soul'.
I came across these words below by writer Pamela Wilson. Clown Master Philippe Gaulier spoke about how emotions pass easily through the clown. There is a lovely tie-in with The Sedona Method (which I believe Pamela Wilson has studied too). In the Sedona Method, emotions are held lightly (think of a pen rolling in the palm as opposed to gripped in a fist), so they can be welcomed or released or allowed to shift of their own accord. The magical aspect of a well-played clown happens when the audience's minds and hearts are expanded. As Clown practitioner Dave Spathaky recently said in a Clown Power post; where words are absent or few, we are more likely to enter an unbounded realm where ideas and emotions are unfixed and unconfined by labels.
I feel Pamela Wilson's words also saw something about Clown genius as well...
'Sorrow when uncontained is compassion.
Desire, when uncontained, is satisfaction.
Anger, when liberated, is big strength.
Fatigue, when dived into, is deep peace.
Judgement, when honoured, is discernment.
Unworthiness, when met, is humility.
Fear, when soothed, is natural courage.
Frustration is the invitation to return to the unlimited.
Pride, when met, is dignity.
Seriousness is your gravitas.
Naiveté unveils itself as innocence,
Which unveils itself as majesty.
Not knowing - even confusion - when met, reveals itself as wisdom in its potentiality: pure intelligence.'
...and today, the day after the first sharing of the revived
(clear! bbp clear! bbp clear! bbp)
1999 show: Topless, I had hoped to do some cleaning and clearing of tasks and objects which work and rehearsals had made it impossible to find time for for these last four weeks.
I didn't get as much done as I hoped - but I did make a start on shredding some accounts I discovered from 2000 - the year after the show originally opened. I recycle paper and there were receipts fastened to printed drafts of press releases for Topless Mark 1.
What can I tell you about last night?
They came and they laughed and after the show, they shared their stories of heartbreak fresh or remembered. The joke about the cost of therapy was one of the loudest of the night. Again I had a belief confirmed: how much humans need to hear and tell their stories.
Twenty years ago I cut my comedy teeth on this show. I was determined that my story of surgery, heartbreak and high anxiety be watchable, endurable, that people's lungs could enjoy the bounce-back of hearty laughter (my mum was a loud laugher - see previous post).
In 1999 and 2000, I learnt so much in the performing of it (in London, Edinburgh, Greece and Australia).
I was delighted that last night the house was packed and the show was getting the solid laughter it got the first time around (I was also interested to observe how I was now better placed to be with the darker moments as well.)
One audience member came up to say she was thrilled to see that in my story I showed that it was possible to come out the other end of heartbreak with a new resolve. People kept saying 'we need funny now more than ever'.
Another wag said: 'other people's pain is so entertaining'.
Comedy = Truth + Pain - thank you again, Jon Vorhaus.
Next outing for Topless is June 7 at Hackney Attic.
Welcome! Scroll below + click to topics in previous posts.
Peta Lily is a performer, theatre maker, director, playwright, script doctor, teacher and Creative Mentor. She pioneers a unique body of practical research in Dark Clown. Her paper The Comedy of Terrors - Dark Clown & Enforced Performance was delivered at Bath Spa University. The work is cited in Clown - a reader in theatre practice by Jon Davison, Palgrave MacMillan.