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 new clown film, Moontan, which was shot in October 2006 in Wanganui, New Zealand, staring Annette Devick from Canada and Mark Hudson from Australia.Chapter 8. Exercise: Normal QuestionINDIVIDUAL / PAIR / WORKSHOP
This is a street exercise, and is best set at an outdoor cafe exposed to a good flow of pedestrians. Participants sit at a table with a good view of the street.
It is good to start this exercise with a period of observation of the people walking past, observing their body postures and emotional states. To help us around our fears, we need to place our interactions as much as possible within the comfort zone of participants. So, working individually, participants hop up, one, two, or three at a time, engage with people walking past, and ask them a perfectly normal question, such as 'what is the time?' This places the interaction firmly in known territory. The rest of the group observe the reactions, and can discuss these as the exercise progresses.
The exercise should be explored with a range of people, one after the other, and if the contact feels a little strained after the normal question (which is often indicated by people walking away), participants just say thank you, and move on to the next person.Abnormal Question
If the contact feels good however, after the normal question, participants can develop this exercise by asking an abnormal question, to take the interaction into a more playful release. It is good to ask something personal, or bizarre, at this point, and this is now okay for many people, if there is a rapport between the participants, and an agreement to interact.
As clowns, we often have fears about interactions with people, and even more often, the audience has fears about their interactions with us. So this exercise provides a 'safe' mechanism to introduce both participants and the public to these interactions, because it places the interaction within the comfort zone of the audience.
One of the big challenges of this exercise is the initial engagement with people, for we do not, as a rule, engage with strangers on the street. Body posture is a good start here, because we unconsciously mirror those we relate to, so by assuming a similar posture to someone, we are saying, 'I am like you, we can relate'. Even then, many people will not stop to be asked a question, and for many it is okay then to walk with them, again easing the contact by being like them.
We should also mention that some people on the street are aggressive, and these people should not be played with. See the exercise on non-violence in Chapter 34.
As performers, we can also sometimes get trapped in some interactions, and so as clowns we must be aware of who is in control of the game. If we are in crazy territory, and the other person is in control of the interaction, it is very likely that they are crazy, and so we should say 'thank you', and just move on.
At any stage, in any interaction, participants can always say, 'thank you' and move on.
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 24 November 2011