Friday, July 30, 2010

Pictures from Finals

*do not feed the genius*

*Lauren Harries as: "Little Big Butt"

*clearly the best group*

final day

Clown Intensive 2010: "I've got splinters in my butt!"

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Brain Dump

What' I've learned is that it can't be learned from a book. It's constant practice and exhaustive exploration and discovery. The ghost sits in the corner and you have to beg it to come play, the muse. The clown.
What you can do is practice specific things. The pantomime, the specificity, the timing and rhythm.

That's why this is so scary. When you finally make it bloody and screaming to the top of the mountain of all the bullshit you ever made up, and every crappy thing you ever rationalized and open the fucking door, it's only you. Just you standing there. With your knees and your hair and your sad little smile.

I wanted to show up and magically be a genius, and GET it and give hope to the faculty for the future of clown, because that is how much I love it. But I opened the door on a bossy, desperate, sweaty B student with passion, baggage, weakness, walls, a shitty temper and a crappy alcohol tolerance.

All I can say is I'm learning to focus, and what is important.

And I'm scared, because my hands will never be Chris' and my face will never be Ronlin's. My feet will never be Bill Irwin's and I'll never have Skinner's perfect stillness. And that scares the bajesus out of me. But I do have what I have, in it's tiny, scattered, painful, choking, unfocused, unglamorous infancy. And I'll be goddamned if anyone can ever take that away from me again.

There's a history here. A brotherhood. It's something you have to give it's due.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week Three

I'm tired. It's been a hard week. Another student went home. One girl cried until she threw up in class. I'm not building a clown yet because I haven't hit on anything for me. It's frustrating, and leaves me feeling terminally average, which was my worst fear of all. Lots of crying, lots of drinking on Friday night, a regrettable amount actually. Which made me feel like maybe not my very best person. Only a week left, I still don't have a clown, and I'm losing touch with what I've already gained. My body is giving out on me. I'm afraid my spirit is too.

I guess I just need some sleep.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

clownfail 3: clown harder

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sexo the Do-Me Clown got rejected too...

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Mmmmm, feelings!

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Second Failed Clown

It's a shame, I liked him. He got a "now I don't even know what you are! Go away!"

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Los Payasos Mendigos

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Clown Car Ctd.

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Clown Car II

to the river with wine and Chinese take-out!

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Perfornamce Lab II

Totally ate the second performance lab. It was a much more physical slapstick assignment. We practiced too much, and my body just gave out. I fell in the first 20 seconds and just could not hit any of my marks after that. We didn't get any notes. I'd rather get torn apart than just not mentioned.
So I drank the universe at the Mad River Tasting Room and the rest of the night was a write off.

I did my Daily Practice last night, and some truly atrocious fish flops that I filmed but they're not so much post-worthy. I'm so wiped, I don't know if I should be resting or conditioning for next week.
Today is Annie and Mary Day, a sort of founders day for Blue Lake - it's their 100th year and there's all sorts of festivities.

I'm tired. Nap time. Los Payasos Mendigos tonight. Yay.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

like I said...

... shell shocked. Erica, Lauren, Alex and Chelsea eat and drink their feelings after Donlin's departure.

We figured out what hit us so hard. We'd all been holding on to a lot from the weeks prior and when he asked us if we were doing ok, all the dams broke.

"You can't do this movement like that. You can't do it correctly unless you love it."

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shell Shock

The first of our number left us today, without a goodbye. This wasn't the work for him. It's part of their job here to make us vulnerable - open, and that's something different for everyone. Ronlin, the clown teacher brought our youngest member to the breaking point on monday - actually physically challenging him, It came to a fist fight - Ronlin slapping his face and challenging him to strike back. The Kid, afraid, played at fighting, afraid to truly strike the teacher. It came to blows, The Kid finally in his fear and rage striking Ronlin with a closed fist. Yes. They held the tension, then Ronlin shook his hand, they hugged. Everything now is about thresholds. Everyday, every moment there is a new one. People are breaking right and left.
Tonight was our last class with Donlin, and we were sad to see him go. He gave us so much in such a short time. Such beauty. Such power. Such demand. The class was divided - those brought to their knees, and those watching the clock dying to be released.

Donlin spoke of the work here as the last magic. the last art that can't be learned from a book or the internet, and the most powerful. He was right, and I cried.

As he moved about the class, demonstrating recieving an action in the chest without retreating, I watched what happened with the other students and knew I could do it. I wanted him to come to me so I could show him I understood, to receive his action. He came to me and touched my chest. I couldn't move. Frustrated, I only cried. I couldn't make it happen. I haven't found my starting point. I'm still trying too hard to please, to be correct.

I wish I could show you Donlin. Everything he does is beautiful. Not because he imbues it with beauty, but because it is simple, pure, authentic, and clear in intention.

I tried to tell him thank you, but of course, one can't.

life repair

the clownlings are becoming shell shocked.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I just wanted to post something quickly before I cram some carbs in my face and go to rehearsal. Today we had our first day of Acro with the AMAZING and totally-want-to-have-a-beer-with-them Milo e Olivia. They look like this:

Milo says today in a very charming and Italian way:

"Try not do you say in english? Not fart above your ass?"

I think he meant don't try to do things you haven't practiced. I think.

(PS I made some real strides in acro today, despite being injured this morning. Yay.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Funny or Die"

We (I) had a great morning Friday. Movement with Joe the Science Guy was the most physically exhausting thing we've done yet. There is no stopping when your stamina gives out. If you step out to the side to catch your breath, he comes up behind you, gives you a shove and says "don't be tired". After class I felt like regular people feel after yoga. Amazing. Like a child. Church. I love it. On to Voice with Joan. Joan took us out to the levy. We looked at our future, we looked at out past, we did warrior pose and got sun burns. We walked in silence.


When we came back in early from lunch - it was surprising how many chairs were set up for the lab. We thought it would just be Ronlin and maybe some staffers. There were maybe 25, 30 people there! MFA students, all of our teachers save Donlin, random folk - one 7 or 8 year old girl - Science Joe's daughter I think.
Ronlin hushes the crowd and addresses the class for one last instruction:

"Allright guys. Funny or die."


Have I mentioned that Ronlin sounds exactly like you always thought God might? Like he's up there with Keith David and Morgan Freeman on the list of People You Want To Narrate Your Documentary. Anyway.

Some of the acts were hard to watch. Everyone wanted so badly to be funny. Some had concocted elaborate un-funny unnecessary schtick. Hat gags. Awkward pratfalls. Everyone was funniest in the moments they had planned nothing. It was really enlightening. A cruel study in 'the clown does not 'do', the clown 'is'.

*Hold for a trip to the Logger with Chelsea the Hot Hippie. Chelsea is the den mother on Clown Alley for Ringling. She has a lot of good stories.*

Aww, the Logger doesn't take cards. Chelsea bought me 2 drinks, and that was very nice of her. And boy, those stories just keep getting better.

Anyhow, there was a big kerfuffle about the order of the scenes, and Dan and I deferred to another group because the girl was barfily nervous. Dan and I had coached this group though, and we were glad to let them go ahead...
...untill they started, and we started to notice they had stolen everything Dan and I had done with OUR scene. Awesome. I found myself getting very nervous, gritting my teeth and saying 'all I can do now is do it better'.

Dan and I were the first group to make it all the way through our bit without being sent back to 'come again'. (Ronlin has a series of phrases he likes, I'll get into that later because I love it). I think they were laughing, I was so nervous my face was contorting in ways i didn't intend. I was all of a sudden very glad this would be the last performance lab without even the smallest mask.
Ronlin didn't speak right away when we finished. He said he needed a minute to 'gestate' and Dan and I nervously joked and fidgeted. We got a lot of notes, but I felt they were at least more advanced than many, and we weren't sent to come again. He pointed out a weak choice we'd made, and corrected it instantly and brilliantly. The only thing I remember him saying to me directly was that I was strident, and strident is 'never funny'. Good to know. He's very direct with his corrections, which I like. "Not that, this". And then it's right. We were presented with our first noses, and we went directly to the bar.

If you can ever get your hands on a Mad River Double IPA, you won't regret it. That picture of the tasting room - follow it all the way to the right. The back part of the building there where the red truck is is Dell Arte's Riverview Campus, where we do most of our work, including the labs. Rather handy to the brewery, wouldn't you say?

The rest is history. We celebrated, we drank too much, we worsened our sun burns. We rest untill Monday, where we are to come in with our noses fitted, and have been promised a "much more physical week"


Many of us have the sense that they're still going easy on us, though we pretty much feel like this is an accurate visualisation of the training so far:

*Make me laugh!*

Only next week will tell. Tomorrow? Grange Breakfast and maybe the beach. I ordered a new set of poi. I bought a bikini. We'll see.

Performance Lab Success!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

day three?

It was way too late to post yesterday. But since I don't have class till 9:30 today, here's a picture of a 6 week old pit bull I just petted. Oh my, so very very small and chompy.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


PS I'm my best person here. Not only do I do things I'm usually too lazy for, I do them with care. I am engaged with what I'm doing at all times. I'm more forthcoming, more expressive. I like that a lot.
PS I'm my best person here. Not only do I do things I'm usually too lazy for, I do them with care. I am engaged with what I'm doing at all times. I'm more forthcoming, more expressive. I like that a lot.

Day Two

Is that all? Two? TWO DAYS??!?

This morning I rehearsed with Dan at 8:30 after a muffin at Stardough's (the only restaurant in town. ONLY). Dan's boys, Linus (3)and Crosby (1) are here with his wife. Talk about support. They are adorable little red-headed goblins, smart as whips. Oh, we also passed clubs 3 ways with Cal, who is a yoga teacher and excellent juggler.
We started the official morning at 9:30 with Joe, who I'm pretty much in love with. He's the science guy. He brought in this skeleton and we did some body mapping. I was drop-jawed at some of the stuff we learned. Dudes, the 2 bones in your arm cross over when you open a doorknob. THEY MAKE A FREAKING X! HOW DID I NOT KNOW THEY a) could do that b) do it EVERY TIME YOU TURN YOUR HAND OVER! And your toe bones go all the way to the middle of your foot. And your hand is all just finger bones. And your shoulder blade is in the front. And your spine ends behind your nose. And there are ribs under your collar bones, and there are lungs all the way up there. Joe blinded me with science, then taught us how to fix our nearly inevitable ankle sprains. (pressure, THEN immersion in ice water, then wrap with foam for pressure on the soft tissue. Direct ice, elevation and ibuprofen. Continued pressure) OH then he used Alexander technique to help me with my sciatica. Joe is freaking rad.
Then at 11:30 we had voice with Joan, who I want to be when I grow up. I have BIG problems with speaking, but even more with creating what I see as arbitrary sound. You know the big sounds you have to make in acting classes. I hate them. They choke me and give me panic attacks. I did ok. I faked it really, which in this instance was close enough, because usually I can't stand to even allow my breath to make regular breathing sounds. Gah. I'm tensing up thinking about it. I'm tired.
LUNCH! I Carbo loaded for the first time today, and I STILL didn't make it to 5 without being hungry.
After lunch we had our first class with Donlin, the movement guy. Donlin is brilliant and beautiful to watch, which I was not expecting. He seems like such a DUDE. Turns out he danced every principle role with Martha Graham for 20 years, ran his own dance company for 15, taught at Barnard - I may have even seen him at STEPS. If only I'd known. He's brilliant. He knows how to make small things important in a very real way. It's hard to explain. His hand is never just moving. His hand is moving because his heart is breaking. I died. I wish we had more time with him, and wish I'd had the balls to keep my eyes open during my exercize. I did ok. More movement class, please.
At 4:30 we were back with Ronlin. I can't say much about him yet except that he's exactly who I'd want in charge of my ship. He knows Clown.
Donlin and Ronlin are identical twins, and both complete geniuses in completely different ways. Science/The Universe is weird.
Night Block tonight was final dress for the mainstage, Milo et Olivia, charming acro-clowns and amazing jugglers. I'm too tired to talk about what they did (I just had my second carbo load today) I am tired. I am sore. I am learning. I am happy.

OH! We also have 2 total creepers. One is just too young to know any better (he's all of 20 and acts all of 14) but he totem poled me and gave me the 'how YOU doin' eyebrow DURING AN EXERCISE. Go away, little creeper.
The other is a 65 year old man with no theatrical experience. Today when an instructor asked him what he noticed during a group exploration, he answered "all the pretty girls in this classroom". I would really prefer not to have to think about that. Gross. No creepers please.


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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

first clown partner!

This is Dan. Dan and I have our first performance tomorrow. The rules? Be funny.

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clown car!

It's a VW Westie! it has a STOVE!

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first class

for the first time, it isn't about the destination, the applause, the appreciation, the glory. For the first time, I truly love the WORK. It's not just what you get past to get to the applause.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010



I left Chehalis at 5:30 in the morning after seeing Ben Bange's Rock Show. Did it rock? Yes it did. Was I hung over? Yes I was. BUT I got to Fort Stevens OR by 8:30, which is pretty darned good if you ask me. Cory only had to nap in the car for about an hour.
The Calhouns, whom I love, filled me with omelettes and cheer. Straight on to Ashland, where I missed my 4:00 o;clock costume pickup simply because I refused to go over Grants Pass with no gas in the tank. I arrived at the Jones' at 5 on the nose for dinner, Karen as usual outdid herself. Here are Karen and Paul, the Ashland Parents:
They were marching for the Festival - it was their 75th season and only our 25th.

After dinner I went to the show at the Cabaret, where they plied me with wine and cake (carrot cake!). I picked up my dress, went back to the Joneses and passed out...

...for 4 hours! Then we got up at 6:15! We had breakfast at the Elks Lodge (a new experience for me, but they did have bloody marys). We suited up and went to our assigned parade positions.

This was no nancy-assed parade, mind you. I pageant waved at > ten thousand people today. Degree of sunburn yet to register.

The Avett Brothers I and Love and You played as I crossed the border into California. Nice.

Drop off the dress! Back in the car! Straight to Blue Lake! No Stopping! Karen packed me a lunch, and I ate it pic-a-nic style in Redwood National Forest. Not bad digs, but I kept expecting Compys to come eat my chicken sandwich. Spooky.

OK! Driving more! Highway 101 is the most beautiful strip of land there is! Redwoods and ocean cliffs and crazy assed nature flying all over the place. It looked like this:

Photography SKillz: Not so much. But it was pretty. Really really pretty.

OK I made it to Blue Lake! I almost cried when I saw the sign - all this wishing and hoping and plotting and THERE IT IS. I checked into my dorm which is AWESOME. I met some clowns who were awesome and all kinds of nice to me. I'm the first of my class to arrive, so I got the pick of the rooms (it's an old hotel and they're all different) and all the leftover food of everybody who is moving out. Nice2.

I tried to buy groceries here but everything is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE except avocadoes. I got 2 huge avocados for a DAMN DOLLAR. Allright, California.

In short, it's gorgeous here, so far everyone's really nice, and I am scared and proud and ready to work.

Bring it, Clowntown.