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Old 02-05-10, 02:54 AM   #1
martin ewen
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Default Something to Lean on; Wallpeople Copenhagen.

Here's the bare bones.
I was in Copenhagen teaching at a circus school, 'modern clown' a suitably vague and romantic term.
There were initially I think 3 or 4 students but it was very casual, no-one had invested any money, although I did get paid, and there were really only two very curious pupils.

I created a character exercise in which these two, male and female were 'wallpeople' in that their characters existence depended on having a wall at their back.
They explored the room, if a door was open they would have to reach out and close it to be able to move across.
We experimented for a bit, the innate problem was that they could never get past one another, well they did improvise one under, one over and that was a victory in itself.
I told then that the next day we would experiment further on the Strøget, the longest pedestrian st in Europe, [another reason I was there]

The next day they arrive in town in characters they had worked on overnight, one had blackface with big white circles round the eyes and the other was the inverse, whiteface with large dark circles. It stays light late and after the shops had closed, [no more open doorways] we selected a long stretch of shops that faced out onto a square.

They started at opposite ends moving towards each other, as yet unaware of each other and exploring this new strange planet, [clown can be very much like that]
They had decided to make trilling noises as their language and each with fingers and back and arms explored while staring out at passers by.
Copenhagen is used to strange creative goings on, people further back who could see the inevitable, that they would meet, stopped and watched and slowly a crowd formed as they travelled closer to each other.

At some point they saw each other, still separated by 50 feet or so. They went through the scared but curious alternation as they now moved much more tentatively towards each other.

Before meeting, shoulder to shoulder, their eyes darting, scared but inquisitive.
They tried to push past each other but that didn't work.
They tried backing up and sliding into each other at speed, but that didn't work either.
They tried the one up one down method but gave up half way, one on the bottom sitting with legs splayed, one on the top, sorta sitting on the others head.

At this point they could have disengaged and been past each other but they resumed their respective positions, all the while staying wallpeople. This was a far as we had gone in class so I knew they must have something.

I waited, as did now a reasonably large crowd of curious Danes.

They came together again and both scrunched up their faces in a fair approximation of strenuous exertion and then it happened.

Their leading shoulders levered against each other and they popped free of the wall and stood back to back.

The audience laughed and clapped, they themselves were startled and amazed at this new freedom and locked back to back performed a dance, a dance they must have practiced the night before, locked back to back they circled and wove and trilled with joy.

They had good timing and did not overplay this but went back to the wall and transfered themselves against it in the opposite manner than they had left it so that now they had managed to pass each other.

The only prop they both had was they each had a tin can, about as big as your head, that they had carried individually with them along the wall and left there while they initially interacted.

They each now picked up what now was not their can but the others and in a bumbling way returned each others cans.

It was only at this point they recognised they were being watched and so digested the attention of the crowd fearfully and then playfully. One of them had an idea and trilled and gestured with eyes and arms and the other understood.

They pushed mightily against each other and popped free of the wall again, this time tin cans in hand, they strode straight out deliberately, side-step by side-step until halfway between the wall and the facing crowd, they slowly lowered themselves, back to back, placed the cans on the ground, straightened and then scampered back sideways to the wall where they then crouched together, facing out, staring intensely at the cans, wide-eyed.

The first audience member made the break, walking forward and dropping some coin into a can.

The clowns jaws dropped, they turned to each other and in unison, squealed and shook both their fists in joy Then they became immediately serious and stared at the cans again.

This went on for a while, their jaws dropping, the exchanged gleeful eye contact, the squeal and the vibrating fists of joy with the back to serious cut-off until they had milked the moment and the audience sufficiently. They then broke from the wall and bowed, receiving applause, collected their cans, I came up and hugged them and we walked away.

It really was remarkably beautiful what they did. On quite a few levels.
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Old 02-05-10, 02:55 AM   #2
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The pics not really related, I just had to dilute the text..and there is a wall involved.
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Old 02-05-10, 09:55 PM   #3
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Absurd and wonderful things! I wish I could have seen this...

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Old 03-04-10, 09:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
Absurd and wonderful things! I wish I could have seen this...
Wonderful. Simple. Wonderful.
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clown, clown teaching, copenhagen, wallpeople

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