Learning to be a clown

I recently commented on Richard Swanson’s provokingthegospel (provokingthegospel.wordpress.com/) that “circus took me to seminary.” The response was wanting to know how that happened. Since I have no posted here in a while, I thought it would be a good thing to share! I grew up in Venice FL when Ringling still claimed it as their …

always emergent roles

I have been reflecting on the role of the clown and by extension to purpose and function of clown ministry. Floyd Shaffer used to teach that in the circus clowns are different than performers. Performers are the skilled acts: animal trainers, aerialists, acrobats. Clowns are … clowns. Performers stay in or above the ring; clowns …

Creating Material

I confess: for me one of the most difficult aspects of clowning, especially as a solo performer, is developing new material. For a long while, I have envied musicians. There seems to be endless catalogues of songs to sing or play. It seems easier to adapt a song to one’s style – range, mood, tempo …

Foolish Wisdom

I have read a lot of books. This is one that changed my life and continues to challenge me deeply. I received this book in lieu of pay. Floyd Shaffer had invited me to assist him at a weekend workshop he was leading. I forget what he offered to pay me, but whatever it was …

Relationship with Props

When I was in college, I remember reading a description of the Swiss clown Grock living in a world where objects refused to cooperate. I don’t play a musical instrument, but I could see myself in a world where objects obstruct my progress. Surrounded by ordinary objects, the clown struggles with the simplest of tasks, …

Clown Camp

I have just returned from Mooseburger Clown Camp. Before I left, many people asked me “What goes on at Clown Camp?” I replied that since I had not been to Mooseburger Clown Camp before I did not know. (For the record, I had done my research before paying my tuition AND I was on staff …