Dec 2 – Clown on.

First, it’s hard to believe that it is December already. Second, it is hard to believe clown class is over. This last Wednesday night was our last class. It was pretty much a normal class format. We did some warm-up exercises, and then we formed the Ring. But it wasn’t the Ring of Clown Shame, or the Ring of Burning Clowns, or the Ring of Clown Humiliation and Terror. This time it was just the Ring.

I guess we have improved. I wasn’t filled with dread, and neither was my partner. The ring assignment was a two person trick. Our trick was that my partner clown, Looster, was going to hold a cup in his mouth while sitting on one of those big exercise balls. Then I was going to bounce a ping pong ball off the floor and into the cup. Ta Da!

We hadn’t practiced our trick, because we have learned by now it doesn’t matter whether we succeed or fail; it is more about how we deal with the situation and each other.

So not only were we ready to go out there with a unrehearsed trick and see what would happen, we weren’t completely blown out of the water when George said to the air aloud as we started, that he sure hoped this wasn’t another ball trick, because he had seen enough of those. Not so subtle message: You better come up with something else. Now.

We had our moment of panic. Then I came up with an idea. I would get Looster to lay on the ball. He took some convincing but he lay down with his back on the ball. He still had the cup in his mouth from when we had started the other trick. I put a ping pong ball in the cup. Then I started to lift up his legs and my intent was sort of to wheelbarrow him around on the exercise ball. He didn’t want me to pick up his legs. He started to squirm, and almost lost the ball out of the cup. I was trying to hold him up and straighten the cup so the ball wouldn’t fall out.

It was physically hard for me. Looster is about 6 feet tall, so I am holding him up and the ball is making it hard for him to balance. I am trying to hold him still so the ball won’t fall out. Apparently it was funny to look at because I heard people laughing. He still had one hand on the floor to balance himself. I was trying to get him to pick it up so I could roll him around, but he didn’t want to. Eventually he did and we completed the trick.

We actually were successful. And at a trick we made up on the spot. And we stayed in our clown characters. And we were funny.

What do you know? I guess we learned something. We went from dreading class and feeling like horrible failures, to flinging ourselves off the cliff just to see what would happen. Giving up on the idea of failure always being a bad thing. Learning to pay attention to our partners, learning to follow the propositions offered, learning to follow the threads of the story. And maybe most important of all, learning to have fun doing it.

I think everyone should take clown class. It’s character building.

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