Working on the question “What is Clown?”, a somewhat unaswerable question that quite a few ponder…here are a few salient points from Angela De Castro, Brazilian clown great who makes her home in England. This conversation took place in the bar of a noisy restaurant in Rio de Janeiro during the 5th Angels Do Picadeiro festival. Recorded 3/18/07
Moshe: Give me your definition of clown.
Angela: It is more complicated than that!!!!… It depends on the clowning that you are talking about. We have so many.
You have the circus
You have the streets
You have the God orientated clowns
You have the philosophical clowns
You have the clown doctors
You have the clown pickles
And so on…so it’s very difficult to be fair.
Clown is not a technique but is a state, is a state that you put yourself in. The techniques, they come as supporting disciplines such as slapstick, text, circus skills, mime, singing, and writing. Clowning, if you are in a particular state, you can do what ever you want with that, it can be used in many many disciplines. I believe that Clowning offers the theater practitioner, the artist in general, a huge spectrum of possibilities, a freedom that you cannot find in any other art form. So if you understand that, then you can do whatever you want to do with your clowning. Basically for me, that is my biggest discovery, in all my years of searching of what clowning is, at this moment, I am of this point where I think you need to:
Find the state
Maintain the state
Play the state.
Maintain the state is the most difficult of them all.
Recently a lot of people are putting the red nose there, because they like the noses and they do a lot of stuff, or don’t use the nose or whatever. But what’s the state? do you believe that guy? Is that guy telling you something? Or you want to be funny just for the sake of it.
Moshe: What is the spiritual connection to clowning?
Angela: I think the clown is of two worlds. The world of day by day, where you live, and the world of imagination where sometimes you visit. For me as well, I ‘m a very spiritual person so I think the clowns are like angels, because the angels either they bring a message to you, or they are the message themselves just for being who they are, just for appearing.