This is my account of how my group and I developed our play for our examination. The examination is on clowning so we had many lessons exploring clowning techniques. To master clowning we had to let go of our fear of looking bad. Being teenagers many of us including me found this extremely hard. We didn’t have the trust in our fellow students to be sure they wouldn’t go and laugh about us outside of the lesson with their group of friends. With this fear in place our work came across as a piece of realism. Once we all had banished this fear we could become clowns.Order now
Because we were taught the art of clowning was exaggerating everything to its utmost till it became grotesque. Of course doing this was going to make us look strange and abstract, which was exactly what clowning is about but my response to this as I’ve already said was to be afraid of looking bad. Once we all realised we were all on the same road trip we were suddenly aware we were all able to play good clowns and all we needed to do was get the training to be clowns. So our first clowning exercise was miming a conversation with over the top body movement.
I very soon came to my next obstacle I was funny but not because of my attempted clowning technique but because I looked like an Eastender character on TV where someone had muted the television. Basically I was not exaggerating enough. Our class learnt to be a successful clown we needed to exaggerate a 110%. We rapidly realised we were funny because we were grotesque. Miming of course was only to show us how exaggerated we had to be. Because we promptly went on to adding sound. It was no sound I’d ever used before.
It was called gobbledegook and to write it down it would look something like this bleblebkleblehgsatyeafjdsnzjsgyrewuyrueteffkrhewshibyltsft. It was and meant to be uninterruptible. If we did it properly our audience would know what emotion we were trying to put across, whether it be sad, angry, shy, excitable, or in love. When a few of the class showed us what they had done it was clear many of us were left confused at what emotion that pair were trying to show. This is where facial masks came in and also the part where I personally felt very stupid.
We had to, to create a grotesque facial mask, pull back our shoulders push forward our necks and faces and make a face to suit our emotion. So if we were sad we had to pull a very sad face. With very exaggerated turn downed mouths. Ok so those people look funny I just felt stupid. Right we now had facial masks now we needed body masks. Not a trace of ourselves should be seen. Which meant totally masking our personalities. We had to show through our bodies who we were trying to be. To do this we needed to think of clown types. So we sat down as a class and discussed clown types. These are the ones we came up with:
We just now needed to practice before we did the real mock exam. So we basically had a mock of a mock. We were put into groups of three or four and to do a scene with three contrasting clowns. The entire scene had to be in gobbledegook. Everything we had learnt and practiced in those previous lessons, we now had to put into our mock exam practical assessment. Our first task was to decide who we wanted to work with. We had to hand in a piece of paper into our teacher stating who we did and didn’t want to work with and with good valid reasons not just ‘because she’s my friend’ or ‘because I think they’re good’.
We had to say why we thought they were good or bad like ‘they could maintain a certain character. With our choices Miss Grennin put us into groups. I luckily was with people who were on my list of people I wanted to work with. There was no one in my group who I didn’t want to work with. Now we were in our groups we had to decide a scene we could clown and that would last at least 10-15 minutes. We decided to do a wedding scene. It needed to be funny so we had in it a male bride, a female groom, two bitchy bridesmaid sluts, an extremely rude vicar and a bloated hag of a mother in-law.
We tried to sit down and do a plan but nobody could agree on anything so we decided to get up and improvise. Doing so we very quickly came up with a sketch we were all happy with. We also realised this one scene was not going to be long enough so we added a marriage proposal, a wedding reception, a funeral of the bride and an entire scene of gobbledegook between the bridesmaids in the toilets. We managed to also get in to our play stage fighting techniques and masks. When we actually were assessed I felt that we could have undoubtably done better.
I felt that nerves were doing an awful lot to me and my group. We let ourselves down by missing cues and coming in late on lines. Most of that was due to lack of practice. If I had the chance to do the entire piece again I would try and cram in a lot more practice, I would be a lot more clear on what I was doing and on what my character actually was as I felt my character was a bit of a muddle as it did not have the usual clear cut exaggerated clown personality like the ones I listed above.