Oct 4 – You want me to do what?

Well, I survived my first Clown class. Just saying Clown class is sort of funny. Not funny ha ha, but funny odd. I tell people I am taking Clown this quarter and I get an odd look. Then I am forced to say that I really can’t explain what it is, because I haven’t actually taken it yet, and I really don’t have any idea about clowns outside of the stereotype, let alone a class to learn to be a clown. Honestly, I have never really cared about clowns one way or the other.

It actually felt much like the movement class I had taken previous. A lot of run around, stop, jump, stop, act out the motion and sounds of marshmallows, stop, peanut butter, stop, jump, run, and sandpaper. We didn’t much get to the clown part. That comes later. We are working in a progression, so we are learning the tools of the framework, and to mix metaphors, we get to color in between the lines later. I do know that I will at some point be wearing a red nose.

The funny thing about acting classes is that you are asked to do weird things, and you will do them. If someone came up on the street and asked you to do some of the things we are asked to do in class, you would look at them like they were a freak and then probably engage in one of the following responses: 1) Tell them off, 2) Call the cops, 3) Run away, 4) All of the previous.

Aside from the attempts to embody the above mentioned food and furniture finishing items, I have been asked to do all sorts of things. One class, on our first day, I was asked to stand nose to nose exchanging air for about 3 minutes with another person in class, who I had just met. Now if you went to a job on your first day, and the boss said, “I want you to stand nose to nose with your co-worker and breathe each other’s air for a few minutes. It is a traditional greeting in some (non-specified) culture.” You would think, “What the hell kind of place is this?” Flip off your boss and walk out. Or I suppose if you were desperate for work, you might do it, but then spend your lunch hour browsing the classifieds for new jobs.

But in acting class, there generally is just a small narrowing of the eyes as the brain tries to process the request it just has received, followed by a few furtive glances around the room to see what the others think. Seeing no one else running for the door, the psyche throws up its hands and gives a long multi-octave sigh. Surrender in under 5 seconds.

Make the sound of peanut butter? Sure, no problem. Move like sandpaper? OK. An outside observer would be looking around for the men in the white coats. People undulating around the room making random noises. Chittering, arms undulating, hooting, crawling around, flittering and more. By the way, as I discovered last night, there is no universal interpretation for the sound of peanut butter. Just so you know.

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