Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Adventures in Clown and Canada

prequel: So there was this chick. Stage performance was her main deal from age 5 to 18 (when some horrible thing or other led her to believe not only that spending over 100,000 smackers on a degree in a field where one can be turned down for lack of desired nose shape, was unwise, but the whole idea of performance as a career might be silly). Since that day, there has been a smattering of toes in waters, a sporadic joining of a dance troupe or three, the occasional vaudeville piece {perhaps to understate the matter}. And now, after all that time, back to the realization that that silliness is the most happy-making thing and also the absolute horror that it may be too late to entertain the notion of a career shift. Plans are made. Jobs are quitted. Personal belongings stored. So this chick in her third decade quits her day job and moves away from most of her friends to go to clown school; to take certain things more seriously.

transit day: I cannot tell you the histrionics of my digestive system. Such nerves. such waves of queasiness. eating breakfast was out of the question as every weensy bite of oatmeal was almost unswallowable. as divine assistance was given by the bestest of friends, getting out the house, packed, into the car, on our timely way to the train station was accomplished. There were no thoughts of changing plans, just wishing my stomach would stop hurting. queasiness gave way to dizziness. The train came. I got on. one hour of sleep and no breakfast under my belt. I cracked the first smile of the day. The absolute devastation of doing exactly what you want to do.

day one:
Fuck aerobics. I spent four hours with an elevated heart rate, doing and watching/anticipating group and solo exercises in a clown workshop. Trying to excel. Trying to be the best when that's not really an option. I mix both the words of the teacher and some male actor my friend was telling me about when I say, I am learning to fail better when failure is out of the question. Clown lives somewhat in failure and how it's handled. I have invested a hefty amount in this endeavor, terrified I don't have what it takes. Terrified I will have no choice but to go back to washing the sweaty socks of performers, handing them props in the wings. No one caring to see me do the one thing that makes me most joyful. Failure would be fairly devastating.
Fortunately, judging from the first day, this will be a fruitful exercise. I trust that the teaching skills are there, I just need to hold up my end of the bargain. Investment, I have. Talent, arguable. The skill to learn skill, I fucking hope so. I can't wait for tomorrow's class.

some different days after that first one: Things are going well. Not nearly so much laughing as you might think. Tears seem more prevalent. Everybody is working hard. Everyday is a new adventure. I'm getting settled into the place I'm staying and getting around town more easily. What they say about Canadians and politeness is true. Holy crap, so neighborly. But after the shock has worn off a bit and I've readjusted my vocal volume for public places, (it's true, what they say about loud-mouth Americans. Surprisingly, I am one) I look at the sea of space-sharing, neatly framed faces and I notice they are all deadpan. Not so much as a person bopping to their headphones. eerie.

So, I'm living the dream. and I'm loving it. I get pissy and frustrated with my limitations some days, but generally I am in awe of life's ability to provide when one sets sights on something.


val said...

yay zea!

i itch to go back to school sometimes and then i remember that dreaded year where i spent most of my time after class crying in a practice room... it's just music silly. it's just connecting with people. it's just performing. (no one will die if it's not perfect. this is not surgery. my head knows it but don't try to talk sense to my heart.)

doing what you love is the best, but why is it so scary to look at yourself or become yourself?! (we aren't monsters, after all.) it's like being more naked than naked. (this from the most clothed girl i know in this artsy circle.)

yay zea!

rambly val

Barnaby said...

So I was speaking o'r the email to a new pal in Toronto .. after informing him of your clown endeavor he said..
"I worked in this fancy restaurant -and I waited on this french canadian clown couple every week. They would bring their guests who were clowns too so I always knew that Toronto has some sort of clown contingent but a school?"

thought I'd share.


I am emailing now to help with some future planzing...

Zea said...

Hello friendsiz!

@val: yes, it's wonderful. The whole thing about clown is sort of allowing for that "monster", sharing it, unflinchingly, generously. It's fucking petrifying.

@barnaby: yay toronto person. I'm going to sample some local clown shenanigans soon. I will report back on my findings.