clown and conflict
“We don't solve problems or eliminate conflict. We discover new ways of relating to them.”
Angela Hopkins and Catherine Bryden
We celebrate problems and conflict because they build connections, resilience and open up new perspectives. Our lives are unique stories. It is the stories we tell ourselves, along with the judgments we hold about ourselves, others and the world, that carry our problems. Resolution comes from exercising the ability to separate our stories and judgments from our observations and feelings, and in so doing our stories transform themselves.
Our approach to conflict
When we accept even welcome conflict, it can open up the possibility of change and growth. We can practice choosing to act and react in new ways, to respond to situations differently than we have in the past. We can consciously choose to open instead of closing up, to embracing all our feelings, making space for others to do the same.
WHAT IS THEATER CLOWNING?
The theater clown
The theater clown experiences life through the heart. A clown is completely absorbed by feelings, images, details and dreams. The theater clown meets the world with an open hearted, fresh, wise wisdom, much like a court jester. However, what our clowns perform is not scripted, nor are they character interpretations; they have a fluid character that freely adopts a variety of persona.
The clown welcomes challenges with deep curiosity and wonder. Problems and frustrations are celebrated for the gifts and surprises they offer. The clown dives into the depths of the sea or soars above the clouds, stepping of the linear time train turning a millisecond into eternity at whim. The clown lives in the now. How an adventure unfolds is far more enthralling than the whats or whys.
Clowns are in constant dialogue with their inner worlds, their partners, the objects they encounter and ability to create a sense of complicité by connecting to these worlds through play. The audience is part of the game, they are on board for the voyage into absurdity, becoming the chair as the clown becomes it. How does the world look from the perspective of an unused dark oak chair sitting in the corner of a famous library? How does it feel to watch the new chairs at the tables be used every day? When the doorknob speaks to the chair, what does she say?
Poetry in motion
The art of theater clowning opens up the mysterious world of spontaneous metaphors, trusting deeper levels of logic and meaning. This inquisitive process is experimental. A group is a community of learners and we grow as much by playing ourselves, as watching others play. We switch regularly between activity and reflection, without analyses, to pool our wisdom.
No previous knowledge of theater or performance is required to step into the world of the clown. Exercises and courses can be repeated as our approach is more of a practice than a technique to master. However, the more we clown, the more often we find ourselves feeling committed, curious and interested in our unique journey. Side effects also included a readiness to engage in unexpected situations, trust in vulnerability, and rejuvenation.
In a clowning workshop, we school attentiveness, awareness and listening with our hearts. In our exercises, we practice empathy and mindfulness, first with ourselves then with others, in order to develop our emotional clarity and literacy. Through playing with our stories, we shed light on our pre-conceptions, power games and struggles, and open up the communication to authentic dialogue. Above all, we have fun diving into the process of inquiry into who we are and who we are becoming!
- Empathy: the emotional jubilance of the clown invites us to stay true to ourselves and connect to the world from the heart before the head. When we honour our own feelings and practice doing so for others, which naturally trains empathy.
- Thinking with our hearts: the heart warms the cool intellectual process. When the heart is open and vulnerable, sprinkled with the joyful naivety of the clown, conflicts dissolve, transform and even give us energy.
- Authenticity: clowning could be described as a journey towards authenticity, a tightrope walk from who we would like to be and who we are. The clown, much like the court jester, challenges social norms, including our concepts of ourselves. We make space who we are becoming.
- Respect: when we judge, accuse or blame, others or ourselves, we close up and block dialogue. We can only be in true dialogue when we are not trying to have others conform to our will or needs. The loving naivete of the clown invites us to discover a world that lies beyond control, plans or prejudices. When we meet the world with deep curiosity, we sharpen our perceptions of what is to create new relationships.
- Absurd wisdom: clowns freely express complex, simple and absurd view of the world. Their world overflows with paradoxes and imperfections, none of which hinders the clown’s unshakable optimism. When clowning or in the audience, we can rejoice in the folly of the moment, let go of the need to understand what is happening and let ourselves be surprised by what ensues!
We offer in-house clown and conflict workshops or hold them in the remise.
For questions and/or individualised proposal contact