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The difference between actors and clowns
As I begin researching my new clown show for the street I consider why I am a clown at all. Angela De Castro inspires me and makes things clear:
- Actors are clever, clowns are stupid; actors want to be correct but clowns do not.
- Actors make feelings for the audience but clowns create feelings with the audience.
- Actors celebrate perfection, clowns celebrate imperfection.
- Actors say the truth with subtext, clowns play each moment with purity.
- Actors control the crises, clowns expose the crises
- Actors do to be, clowns be to do
- Actors first get the situation then get in the zone. Clowns get into the state then find the situation.
- Clowns show humanity as it is
- Clowns are primary creators, something comes out of nothing, but actors are interpreters.
- Good clowns are always good actors. The clown is the soul of the actor.
- The actor is a servant to the character, but when you are in clown you are servant to no-one.
- Clowns have a continuous line of feeling but actors think followed by the feeling.
- The actor is like a cut diamond and the clown a rough diamond. Both are precious
- Clowns perform with a audience, actors perform for an audience
- Everyone relates to the clown.
I believe clown is the state that we all wish we could be in. It is what allows us to connect on a deeper level with those around us. Clown opens up the world, helps us to laugh and find joy. Happy in failure the playful clown gives out bright light. I have something I want to express. My clown will do a better job of it than I would!
Kenny the plumber from Seaside Terror. Clay sculpt one part mould into latex, then built up in fabric
Why make 'Red Rust' -
A study into the care of our elderly
A few years ago me and Rebekah Caputo
had discussed that we wanted to make a show
about our Grandmothers. Our Grandmothers were
one of the most important and influential people in our lives, so whatever we made would be full of heart.
For three years I worked in health care as a specialist and senior carer for people with severe special needs and physical disabilities, as well as for people paralyzed after car accidents and the elderly with dementia. The sheer exhaustion and emotional fatigue of this work is very memorable to me. I even fainted once whilst inserting a catheter into a male patient due to feeling overworked. The reason I worked in healthcare was my love of connecting to people, making them happy and reminding them of the absolute joy that life can be. Very soon, I became a personality that patients would look forward to seeing. I would also forever respect and admire those who work in the healthcare industry. The hours are long, resources are stretched, training is limited and pay is low.
Some years later my own Grandmother had a stroke. She was admitted into many hospitals, nursing homes and Dementia units Her journey through the care system was a long one. I witnessed first hand the pressures this places on family members. As her dementia developed she relied on me to remember things for her, I knew what foods she liked, how she had her tea and what she valued most in life. Eventually she could not speak anymore, people and events had become so jumbled I could not tell where she was. I continued to tell her how I knew who she was and that I had all of her memories in a safe place.
The way we remember became a fascination of mine. Some memories we preserve as if in a personal museum, whilst others we try to destroy and forget. The long-term memory feels limitless and permanent, but it can be unstable like the weather and vulnerable to breaks or even replaced with false ones. Short-term memory and the present become almost insignificant.
We began to work with an elderly group in Leeds called ‘Caring Together’ as well as with my Grandmother on the dementia unit and soon we saw the importance of objects in relation to memory. Objects live longer than the flesh and it is common for people to invest a lot into them. They remind us of who we are and where we are from. Often I have found the most mundane items can become the most powerful. I remember showing a tractor to an old man and he began to cry. Something in that object had evoked a strong emotional memory, which he had been suppressing.
As I sat with my Grandmother, it felt as if Death was always present, sometimes she would accept it; even yearn for it, whilst at other times she would scream it away. Towards the end, she could not stand, but when she smiled I could remember how she liked to dance. I would allow my puppets to dance in this same way. When she winked at me I could remember how feisty and quick-witted she would be. To the rest of society she was just another frail person who’s nappy needed changing. But for me she was everything.
As the first premier performance of ‘Red Rust’ approached my Grandmother passed away, all the time I was holding her hand. When I saw people’s reactions after the performance I could see that everyone else felt the same as me. At some point, we all deal with elderly loved ones, coming towards the end of their life, trying to understand what is happening to their mind and body, as well as contemplating the significance of our own lives. These are big subjects to take on, especially for theatre that is more often than not sold on its potential for a great night out. I believe that ‘Red Rust’ has been well crafted, balancing comedy and pathos into a performance that will leave a lasting memory on its audience.
Sixteen duck feet shoes for walkabout!
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