“Yes, clowns do and say stupid things. But that is just an indication of their wisdom.”
A few months ago, I was given a copy of the 2nd edition of The clown in you by Caroline Dream (already sold out! The third edition was published in May 2016). Of clowns, I know very little, but I’m curious about them. During my theatrical training, I participated in a clown course, which allowed me to get a very faint glimpse of what is to be a clown. I say faint, because I remained on the threshold of comprehension. Almost ten years later, this book appears in my hands, and awakens within me the desire to jump back in and continue exploring the world of clowning. And I’ll tell you why.
From the acknowledgments, through the body of the book, and right up to it’s conclusion, Caroline Dream distills her many humane qualities. Throughout our reading she allows us to know her as a person, a teacher and an artist. She wrote this book, she says, because she could not answer in just one sentence the question: What is a clown? In it, she brings together and shares, with great generosity, her knowledge of clowning and clowns; a global, comprehensive and multidirectional knowledge of her art that has allowed her to develop, alongside her husband Alex Navarro, a method of teaching clown that is tender, playful, free, pleasurable and enthralling.
The Clown In You is both a bedside table book and a field manual, as it covers both the theoretical and the practical aspects of clowning. It first offers the reader a tour of the art of clowning in general, providing answers to the “Frequently Asked Questions” and dismantling several points that usually appear in a ” good clown’s handybook”. It then enters into details that are more specific to the art of clowning and it’s pedagogy – giving explanations, actual examples of exercises and situations extracted from her classes, and other personal experiences that aim to help students “tune in” to their “clown frequency”.
The journey of discovery it thereby proposes resembles a diving within. The subtitle sums it up: “Be a clown, be yourself”. The most important thing you learn from this book is that everyone can find their clown. From the moment they lose their fears and accept to play with their ridiculousness, they will discover the comic and the gift of their own stupidity.
“Clowning leaves no one indifferent” (Caroline Dream, p.234)
After a summer with a book that celebrates joy, freedom, personal improvement, emotional sincerity, generosity, etc., I find myself infused with an incredible desire to sign up for a clown class and experience for myself the “comic trance” lying dormant within me. Maybe one day I too will “fly” using my own clown wings and experience the liberating feeling of being fully myself on stage.
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An article written by Pauline Avignon on Sep 9, 2016 for Malabart.com (a digital circus/theater magazine)
Original spanish review by Pauline Avignon at http://www.malabart.com/el-payaso-que-hay-en-ti-caroline-dream
Pauline Avignon – Graduated in Performance Art and Theatre from the Conservatory of Rennes (France). Columnist, critic and event organizer for the digital circus/theater magazine, Malabart.com