Understanding ClownsClowning Around
Clowning is a performance art. We exist to perform. Our obligation is to prepare ourselves for effective and entertaining performances.
The primary expectation of our audiences is that we will bring humor into their lives. While delivering humor we can also do many important things such as teach lessons, praise God, help heal troubled souls, and many other worthwhile things. We do these things within the context of our art form and with the understanding that our primary purpose as clowns is to comically entertain.
Clowns are of human nature. Clowns are not representations of fictional characters. Clowns are not figments of the imagination. We are human, we are real and we are alive. The clown is an essential part of our human soul. We nurture and care for the clown in us so that it always continues to grow.
We respect and learn from clowning’s rich past. We also understand that clowning has always changed and grown to adapt to the society of its day. We must not force artificial constrictions on the development and advancement of clowning simply in the name of tradition. Conversely we must not abandon tradition for the mere sake of change. Change should come as natural extensions and adaptations of our tradition.
Make up and costume are merely two of the many tools we use in our clowning. They are not what define us. Costume and make up styles do change and evolve over the years and will continue to do so. This is a sign of dynamic progress in our art form. No style of make up or costume is ultimately right or wrong (except in a historical context). Its ultimate criteria today is its effectiveness in helping the clown comically entertain.
Character development, thought patterns and styles of action are no longer predetermined by any particular make up or costume design. Character development determines make up and costume choices that highlight and augment character. Character development determines thought patterns and range of action appropriate to each situation.
Individuals, alleys or clown organizations may freely choose to impose upon themselves restrictions concerning costume, make up or action. Failure to adhere to these self imposed restrictions, however, does not preclude anyone from the enjoyment of participation in the art of clowning. Alley and organizational rules are applicable only to those who want to belong to that specific alley or organization and do not speak for the entire clowning world.
Clowning is one of the most free and open art forms. It can incorporate aspects of all other art forms. Clowns are free to show expertise or feign incompetence. Clowns are free to explore. Clowns are free to succeed or fail in their endeavors. Clowns are free to laugh and cry. Clowns are free to relate to young and old.
Clowning is, and ought to be, inclusive and not restrictive.