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This Short Doc Will Make You Want to Go to Clown College

This Short Doc Will Make You Want to Go to Clown College

“A clown falls down so we don’t have to.”

In Margarita Jimeno’s delightful mini-doc for American Theatre Wing, the vibrant and sometimes heartsick world of clowning comes into red-nosed relief. It’s a gorgeous peek into the vagabond lifestyle of joy and sweat, as well as a succinct history lesson of the profession that name-drops Shakespeare, Napoleon, and Buster Keaton.

It is an art worthy of our humanity, and this is a short film worthy of that art.

Working in the Theatre: Clowning from American Theatre Wing on Vimeo.

Clowning benefits from professionals Brent McBeth and Joel Jeske (of the Big Apple Circus), the legendary David Shiner, and Slava Polunin, extracting the usual talking head insights and interlacing them with wondrous performance clips to give us a clear visual of their philosophies in practice.

Above all, they display how clowning is rooted in using the goofy and silly to transcend to something true–beginning with real life observations as the basis for exaggeration and expansion until the surreal challenges us, dazzles us, and delivers us back to the real world.

The true star of the mini-doc is Slava, who appears both as learned scholar and as gray-haired toddler in a textured yellow onesie. He think deeply about the stuff that makes us giggle, but he’s also a living embodiment of the glory of human emotion flowing freely through open lines of communication when language isn’t necessary.

If clowning is a matter of the ordinary made magic, this doc should leave a big smile on your face and a train ticket to clown college next to your packed bags.

What do you think? Circus or stage? Fill out your clown college application in the comments.

Images: American Theatre Wing

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