In Clown practice it can be helpful to check your inner metaphor for failure - what does it look like? A trap? A pit with slippery walls? A death sentence?
Play with the idea that you can change this metaphor to one that’s more helpful
(after all, all language is a lie ‘the pointing finger and not the moon’ - so pick yourself a more useful fiction!).
Think of failure as a trampoline - a place you temporarily land on which will soon provide your next exhilarating up.
Failure provides an opportunity for the Clown student to 1/ reconnect with the audience (always be ready to ‘press refresh’ with your audiences) 2/ share its humanity with the audience and 3/ have a creative response.
An adverse reaction to failure can seem like an existential crisis – when really it’s best viewed as a simple energetic problem.
The default human reaction to feeling shame is to clench. To go in and pull down. So in your warm ups it’s valuable to practice the ability to transform your energy from tight to expanded, from down-and-in to flowering out. (Whatever performance mode I am teaching, performing or directing, I always remind people to jettison the belief that you end at the limits of your skin).
Physically practice movements that take you from a clench to an expanded attitude/state of being. Then do the same thing without moving. ‘Believe’ that you can expand the spaces between your molecules, between the particles in you atoms. Take the body feeling from tight and monochrome to something billowing and pink. Or a nice soft orange colour, if you are averse to pinkness.
Side note – have an instantaneous way to access clown state. Check that the shame of failure hasn’t pulled you out of clown state – step out of the cave of shame or the coffin of normalcy or wherever you have gone and choose to step into the fresh, illogical, alternate realm of the clown state.
Oh, did I freak anyone out with the mention of ‘a creative response’ earlier? Once you are in Clown state (and if you are not a slave to your own energy) then you can do something ‘surefire’ from earlier (what wonderful clown practitioner Caroline Dream calls an 'Ace.')
Or - something which brings you joy in the moment: might that be the joy of expressing your angst, perhaps? At the simplest, just burst into a flexible expansive energy and make a sound and see where that takes you.
It’s the ‘sad normals’ who have to hide from indignity. Getting things wrong, being in the wrong is where the funny lies. That’s the stuff of clown scenarios - being unprotected and at the mercy of misfires. Or being blatantly venal if you are a clown in smart-ass mode. Not hiding. Have you ever heard this expression?: ‘Vulnerability is the perfect protection’.