Angels can Fly - A Modern Clown User Guide
Angels can Fly includes a mix of fiction which follows the adventures of ten clown characters, personal clown anecdotes from clowns from around the world, a total of 50 practical clown exercises, and some theory on the nature of modern clown. The book is available on order through bookshops and online stores in New Zealand, Australia, America and England.
And You can get a free eBook copy of the book to read on your computer at: www.alanclay.com/ebook_list.htm
On this page you will find excerpts from the book. Check back often for new excerpts from Angels can Fly.
And while you are here, why not check out Alan Clay's short clown film, , staring Annette Devick from Canada and Mark Hudson from Australia which was shot in New Zealand in October 2006.
And also the new comming of age romantic comedy, Courting Chaos, shot in Los Angeles in 2013, in which a Beverly Hills girl falls for a Venice Beach street clown named Chaos and she must overcome her inhibitions and become a clown herself for the relationship to survive.Chapter 16. Anecdote: Lady MargoClaire Coleman, England
Over 20 years ago someone taught me how to juggle at a party... the next day, when I was sober, I sat down with 3 walnuts (it was round Xmas) and eventually broke through the barrier of shuffling 2 nuts from hand to hand, rather than tossing them up.
A bit later, someone tells me about a juggling workshop in Bath. I get hooked. In 1985 I set off for Australia - where friends of mine had moved to - to busk around for 6 months... under the name Claire Dropalot. Sydney (Circular Quay) Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe.
All very, very different to nowadays. That's another story. That busking experience changed my life... on return to England I became a self-employed performer and that has been my primary work ever since.
I started working as Mop in a comedy juggling duo, Mop and Drop... only in those days I was the straight one and Drop was the funnyman. I discovered the Fool in 1993 and worked extensively with Jonathon Kay over a nine-month period.
This liberated me from the tyranny of props... changed my life some more... allowed me to go into my deepest places and darkest pains and work through these so I became able to find my light.
I find it interesting how the Fool liberated me into my Clown... my vulnerability, strength, lightness, warmth: to be more flexible in the moment and open to opportunity... allowed my heart to melt... to experience failure and still be alive, to step into the unknown and survive, to start flying in my dreams again, to bring more courage, compassion and creativity into play.
Now over 10 years later I still play with 2 other Fools in the Festival of Fools Theatre company... the Fools primarily play "in the moment " without props or scenery, apart from what they make with their own bodies, accompanied by 2 musicians who also improvise. It's not a series of sketches like the TV show-type improv, but a play made from a meeting of how audience and performers are that night.
This inspires my solo career as a 21st century clown. Lady Margo does not look like a clown: she is dressed as a rather old-fashioned English Lady wearing safety knickers under her little black dress, though I do use some props which remain secondary to the character and may be put to a purpose other than the one they are usually used for.
I am still making discoveries. Discovering the Fool allowed me to find out how much I enjoy laughter.
There is an old saying, "a person that never made a mistake never made anything", which I use when things are going wrong in a show, sharing it with the audience as I too take time to breathe and re-centre when things are getting pear-shaped.
Sometimes my mistakes have given me wonderful results. If I could not get over my fear of failure I would never begin...
I clearly remember the feeling of fear - way outside my comfort zone - sweating and shaking in my room on the other side of the world to home, shortly before going out to perform my first street show in this strange town.
The finale for that show was juggling a frypan with an egg and firestick... I had a male member of the audience as my assistant holding the egg box, ready to canter round like a knight of old to rescue me if/when I dropped an egg.
The trouble was it was so windy that I could not get the firestick to light. FAILURE! At this stage! We were both wearing matching pinafores (provided by me). Still in (posh English lady) character, in desperation I knelt at the man's feet with him lifting his pinafore to create a windbreak so I could light the first stick.
I was just reacting to the problem in a way that would solve it, but I heard the audience cracking up with laughter and the problem turned into a gift which I use in every show using that routine... windy or not.
Claire Coleman can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angels can Fly is available on order through bookshops and online stores in New Zealand, Australia, America and England. Order your copy today. Find it on Amazon by following this link: http://tinyurl.com/9nrwj
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Last updated 01 November 2013