Monday, January 24, 2005

Amelia in Bliss - Clown School in Ibiza

The first time I heard about a clown school in Ibiza, Spain, was as I walked down a darkened wet street in Hobart, Tasmania.

At the time the idea of clown school on a Balearic Island seemed foreign and I put it to the back of my mind. The idea never sat still, and one year later was bought to life as I stepped off a plane and onto the island of Ibiza. As I walked along the tarmac I realised I had no idea of what was to come from my decision to complete the three month Summer academy at Bont’s International Clown School.

Summer Academy consisted of 19 students, from nine countries, and 11 occupations, the love for clown bringing us together to meet, create and share on this Mediterranean Island. I approached the first days with an excited energy, dreaming and wondering what journeys this group of individuals would be making in the classroom at Es Cubelles. A tiny village, overlooking the ocean and Formenterra.

The classroom provided an experimental playground that allowed us to explore ourselves, each other and the clown. I have always found the journey of clown to be a unique experience, and being surrounded by a class full time for three months made this particular journey extra special.

Tears, Laughter, Anger, Frustration, Love, Grief, Stupidity, Affection, Irritation, Sadness. Through improvisations and devised pieces, emotions were launched into the classroom, with hope. Hope of having meaning, hope of touching and most importantly the hope of receiving laughter.

At times the sweet sound of laughter filled my ears and swelled my heart, but other times 19 indifferent faces would be staring straight at me, as I prepared for Eric de Bont’s voice to announce ‘Okay, comments please’.

Suddenly I found myself in a school where I was commended for being stupid and an idiot. I was constantly listening to instructions of ‘think less, just do’, ‘it’s too clever’, ‘find more failures’ and ‘You need failures’.

The journey between Es Cubelles and my house was 12 kilometres of hilly pine tree forests, spring flowers and Ibizan women in traditional black, grazing goats by the road. The backdrop the ocean. Hitchhiking was the most common form of clown student transportation, and was made easier by wearing our noses on our thumbs. Identifying us as Bont students, the locals weremore that happy to help out a clown.

Living in the fantastic ‘Casa de Campo’, with 11 of the students intensified my life of clown exploration. Clowns cleaning, eating, devising, shopping, discovering, showering, sleeping, training, arguing and socailising together. Living is such close proximity with each other and without any history except Ibiza, allowed the sole focus of the group to be clown. Not only were we a school group, but a social and support group.

We watched sunsets together, explored beaches together and had parties together. We listened and talked with one another about our fears, insecurities and ideas about the clown. Receiving and giving advice, clarity and inspiration every day. It was impossible to have a conversation and clown not enter it within 10 minutes.

The final week in Ibiza bought a sudden shift in the energy of the group, as the lifestyle that we had been living drew towards its end. A lifestyle very different from one we had ever known and far away from one we could ever hope to encounter in the future. We had been in Bliss.

Amelia Cadwallader

Amelia has worked and trained with various companies in three countries including Is theatre ltd., Te Pooka, Circus Arts and independently as a deviser, performer and costume designer/maker. Her exploration in the world of clown begun in 2000 after a one day workshop, and since has introduced her to countless people and places, including Eric de Bont, whom she studied under for 3 months in 2004. Amelia is currently working on her new show, to be presented in Australia, Spain and Mexico during 2005.


erik pohl said...

dear alan, my name is erik pohl.
i was just searching through the internet to try and find out a bit more about bont's school for clowns
i was very suprised to find that n the first paragraph you mentioned the place where i grew up, hobart, tasmania. i will be going to the clown school in september. thank you very much for all your infomation.
regards erik pohl

7:43 AM said...

hej Alan,

jag är just nu i Auckland pa en improvisations kurs med Al Wunder fran melbourne.
träffade tva stycken som deltagit i en av dina clown kurser. världen är sa liten , sa liten . Berry gav mig din www.
minnen från titirangi ...
jag skall söka efter din bok

6:56 PM  
Marta said...

hello! im wondering if i should go and do the spring clown course at bonts..
can you put me in contact with someone who has made that course please?


11:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home