I’m a playwright, so why am I putting on a clown piece for the 2018 Hamilton Fringe Festival? Good question.
I didn’t have a play ready when it was time to submit to the Fringe Lottery. To be fair, I didn’t have a clown piece ready, either. But I was just wrapping up another Clown session with Helen Donnelly and her words “Don’t let your turns get dusty” was still ringing in my ears.
A “turn” is basically a clown skit. They are usually between 5 to 15 minutes long but can be longer. The Gallery shows at the Hamilton Fringe are between 10 to 20 minutes long, so they are a perfect length for a clown turn.
When I entered the Fringe Lottery, I didn’t know what I would do, but I was sure some kind of inspiration would strike. How long does it take to come up with a clown turn anyway? Famous last words… I’ll discuss that in another post.
In a worst case scenario, I did have a turn that I had performed already that involved Zingo (my clown persona) playing with a magic red nose. I could do that in a pinch, but I was hoping to come up with something new.
I also remembered a conversation that I had at the end of the Hamilton Fringe last year. Zane Jarvie and I were chatting after the awards had been given out. His show Laser Kiwi had won Best of Venue for Theatre Aquarius and my show The Lost Years had won Best of Bring-Your-Own-Venue. We were both happy that our shows did well and we discussed shows with more “substance” vs shows that are just fun. A smile can feed the soul as much as a tear.
It is important for people to laugh, especially these days with so much negativity in the world. In fact, a healthy dose of silliness is something everyone could do with on a regular basis.
I’m hoping my show will make people smile, if not laugh. The Zingo Factor is just silly. Nothing deep. Not this year. But who knows?
Depending on how this experience goes, maybe I’ll work on a longer piece with a bit more “Deep-osity” added to the laughter. Shows by some of my clown idols like Foo, Morro & Jasp, and Mump & Smoot often have/had deeper messages among the laughs.
Clowns are beings of joy. Ideally, watching them is similar to watching a child or animal onstage — you don’t know what they’ll do next. But the goal is to spread some of that joy around. Even if it’s only a smile. I want to do that.
So, that’s why a clown show.
© 2018 Peter Gruner