Study LeCoq’s “clown” character. What are the main elements of this character and how can it be used to create a dynamic performance?
Jacques Lecoq is knowns as one of the most influential acting instructors who ever lived during the twentieth century. His training method was not only practical but also tailored for each student’s needs. With regard to this, his training method was considered highly impactful in helping students excel in acting. His training method basically involved in nurturing the talent and creativity of the individual actors. Much success was achieved by helping actors realized their interests and areas of specialization as opposed to forcing them into what they were not naturally capable. Jacques Lecoq, just like earlier artists, introduced the use of clown characters in performances.
Lecoq defined a clown character as a figure of play which is in a state of being and enables a direct connection with the audience (Mangan 158). Lecoq believed that the clown enabled the performer to reveal the inner self to the audience. The clown is a mirror of the performer, and does not in any way serve the purpose of hiding the vulnerabilities of the performer. In fact, Lecoq encouraged performers to reveal their weaknesses to the audience, for they could add to the dramatic strength during a performance. Lecoq held the notion that individuals had multiple clown characters within themselves which he referred to as inner clown. The clown is expected to play with the audience (159). Further, the success of the clown is hedged on the premise of how he interacts or plays with the audience. The clown is more effective than a mask because it has the potential to show the inner self of an individual.
The making of a clown entails a personal process whereby the performer is even expected to reveal personal vulnerabilities to the audience. Such personal vulnerabilities draws the audience into the actor’s world, enabling them to become empathetic towards the performer. According to Peacock, another important element of the clown character is the ability to “discover the audience” (34). This refers to the ability to make connections with the audience. The clown is supposed to study the audience and develop direct contact with them, and play with them. This is unlike actors who often stay on stage. A clown must be a performer who exemplifies great feat that goes against logic (35). The clown must be able to turn the tide and introduce new thinking and ways of doing things. A clown should be able to go against the laid down order of things. The clown should be able to look at the world from a new perspective and thus develop the ability to enrich the performance.
The clown character can be used to create a dynamic performance. The clown character interacts directly with the audience, and is expected to play with them. This makes it more interesting to the audience. Clown characters are able to draw different emotional reactions from the audience. This is because they connect directly with the audience. Further, clown characters can be used to convey a host of behaviors to the audience. For instance, the clown character can portray himself or herself as irresponsible, immature, chaotic, fun-loving, chaotic, and in other ways that make the performance dynamic.
Mangan, Michael. The Drama, Theatre and Performance Companion. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.
Peacock, Louise. Serious Play: Modern Clown Performance. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2009. Print.