Developing A Clown Character
Ideas on how to develop a clown character. Hints on starting a journal, movement, and attitude.
One thing that must always be done, when given a role in any theatrical production, is characterization. The same goes for clowning. Character is the essential element of your clown. The task now lies in discovering which character is most comfortable for you. When picking
this character, pick one who is funny, believable, and works best for you. Keep in mind this is your clown. You can do anything you please with him, so be zany and creative.
By exploring different exercises that will be presented to you within this paper, you will be able to explore your character to a full extent. In order to keep these ideas in constant progress, it is important that you start a clowning journal. Keep a loose-leaf binder divided into categories. Explore different techniques, movements, ideas, feelings, character elements, and anything else that works well for you. When you experiment, certain things may feel right, so be sure you make note of them. It is also wise to carry around a small pad of paper considering
ideas sometimes come at inopportune times. Here are some sample categories and notes.
One Leg shorter that the other
High-pitched squeaky voice
Clown car breaks down
Costume and makeup
Shoes too big/Pants too short
Pants fall down
Little cop arresting big, tall clown
Create your own categories and take notes the way you like to take them. Always remember, good ideas are easily forgotten unless you write them down.
A truly hilarious clown has a brilliant projection of attitude. You need to learn how to express yourself with your entire body. You’ll notice, clowns who know how to work with their physical movements are funnier than others. They’re also much more interesting to watch. Not only will this make your character more enjoyable, but when you exaggerate your emotions, intentions, reactions and activities on stage, the audience will understand more clearly what you’re doing. You should work on developing your attitudes and projecting them so that:
Audiences can see what you’re doing-
You learn to express yourself with your entire body-
You become more aware of yourself as a performer- aware of the different types of attitudes you can show and how they look to an audience-
You begin to discover the style and exaggeration needed to perform as a clown-
You can experiment with and discover your hat-
You develop a unique character that suits you.
Make every moment count. In the middle of practicing a routine, freeze. Are you in a zany, picture perfect pose? If so, you’re developing a great projection of attitudes. If not, become aware of the mistake, and always make a conscious effort to fix it.
Your next step in character development is developing a clown walk. Most clowns have their own identifiable, stylistic ways to move. Your walk is closely connected to your attitudes, your overall image, and the nature of your clown. People will associate your walk with your clown just as they do with Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx.
Start by picking an attitude. Walk around the room in that attitude as if you were a statue coming to life. Change your body position so you may walk easily, but keep the essence of your attitude. Now try to walk like people you know. Change your walk until you feel comfortable
A clown can’t simply be funny because of the makeup on his face. There’s distinct characterization that goes along with that face. The clowns that do successfully make us laugh have spent hours perfecting their character. All of the work is worth it in the end.