Is Humor the Essence (tial) of Clown

2016. January 2nd. A new year begins, and the morning web readings have led, through Google’s word alert for the word ‘clown’, to a Indiegogo page for a performance entitled “Meet the Clown – A Performance by Riham Isaac.” Bethlehem, Palestine.

Included on the fundraising page is a great 4 minute video which promises performance excellence from this young Palestinian trio on many levels, theatrical, musical, visual richness of the trio’s performance. Riham’s thoughtful and soulful description of her project: “to spot the light on the honest and transparent human inside the depth of our souls” is indeed the heart of the clown’s journey.

Yet as I peruse the page and gain perspective on the project, certain questions come up for me.  Clown, just what is this? Riham states at the top of the page that she is a sad clown. Does that mean that the show will be sad? I started writing this to get at the one thing that strikes me about this project: the words humor, fun, funny, joyful are not mentioned as far as I can tell, nowhere it is suggested that laughter is part of the project.

What is “Clown” is certainly an over-labored question, one whose answer is as vast as the human experience.

Is being funny, sharing laughter, audiences having fun,  even sometimes delight and joy, a required intention of the clown. Is being funny the true vehicular essence of the journey, and that all truths are revealed through the lens of the ridiculous and the absurd?  My personal experience, coming from the entertainment vector, certainly is.  Is the Poetic Clown’s intention to uplift, to bring laughter? Does the Sad Clown use their sadness to allow the audience to laugh and let go, a bit, of their own?  I wonder how those reading these words feel about this role of humor in clown?

 “Is there humor in the truth, and truth in the humor?”

If one ventures into  sacred  clowning territory—the first nations’ clowns—laughter is the essence that opens the doors of perception (if you are not familiar with Sacred Clown, there is quite a movement that stretches human history-more here.)  Humor is certainly essential to their task of opening a  common ground  where the  “audience” (community) can laugh about and  share deeper issues and truths.

I’m guessing that Riham’s intentions  include fun and funny as part of the equation. The page states: “Riham believes each one of us has their inner clown who has this kind of spontaneity and playfulness which we usually cover with masks we put on each morning to face the surrounding world.”

The project promises an interactive theatrical experience as  the audience :  “since the moment of their arrival by putting them into certain situations and allow them to start the journey of the clown with different art disciplines; live music and sounds, videos and visuals like installation.”

I’m guessing that humor and fun is bound to come into any spontaneous interaction involving clowns. I’m certainly going to support her journey, and invite you to join me. I haven’t been there but from all that I have read, surely a performance that invites the audience into spontaneity and playfulness will bring many blessings to the land.

To support the project “Meet the Clown,” click here.


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