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.
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 29. Anecdote: Clown ClassesAlan Clay, NZ/Australia/Europe/USA
People often wonder what you do in a clown class. "Do you put on make-up or costumes?" some of the new ones ask, as they enquire about classes.
In my classes it tends to be that you do a lot of physical, emotional and vocal warmup, you play lots of games and you improvise, and then you talk about the work and give one another feedback, before you relax and allow the learning to be absorbed.
I often sit in a clown class feeling blessed with my occupation, because it is so much fun, and there is so much laughter.
Over many years I taught a Street Clown workshop, and later I have continued the street exercises within my clown teaching practice, because the street gives us the other half of the equation, the audience, and they are fun to play with.
Every class is unique, and there are stories from every class. One of my favourite class stories, involved a street clown workshop that I was teaching in Arhus, Denmark, in 1983. The workshop took place over one week and ended with a street-performance exercise on the last day.
There was the usual range of students in the workshop, from a guy with great juggling skills but no performance ability, to a guy who worked for the LEGO company, and was employed to go around toy shops and build big LEGO models for the shop window.
Much of my teaching practice involves exercises with playfulness and vulnerability, which the LEGO guy thrived on, and the juggler found confronting, and wondered what use it was. By the last day, the class headed out into the pedestrian street to try their hand individually at a street show.
The exercise in Chapter 23, Attracting a Crowd, was beautifully illustrated for me in this workshop. The juggler went out and juggled, assuming the skill would attract people, and no-one stopped, and the LEGO builder went out and played, and got the biggest crowd of the day.
The photographs on the left show the way I have more recently interfaced the street environment with the classes, in the work at Playspace Studio in Newtown, Sydney from 1999 to 2003.
Here we are taking exercises out to street cafes and working one at a time, while the rest of the class observes. The top photo is of Emily Haydon exploring the Normal Question exercise from Chapter 8 with a red nose. In the bottom photo the class watches one of the other members exploring the same exercise, and discusses what is working.
Feedback on my classes is consistently that they are challenging and fun. I think that's what you can expect from a clown class. If it sounds like fun to you to step beyond your inhibitions, to make yourself vulnerable, and to throw yourself into the unknown, then you should try it.
Find more information on Alan's clown classes at: http://www.artmedia.com.au/Clown.htm
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