Friday, November 12, 2010

Utrecht Clown Chronicle


Utrecht just had the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  
Summer was over and the grey had begun.


Amsterdam had done me no favors, the first international city in my first decade in which I couldn't fully function. Attempts, all in different locations, all failing in some regard, all lacking that essential cohesion; 
The three elements, 
A: passing pedestrian traffic,  
B: a corner or niche and 
C: an audience catchment area that does not disturb elements A and B  


Amsterdam was, to my shock, proof my sociologically experimental, financially self perpetuating, clown performance, wrinkle wasn't bulletproof.  


So I caught a train to Utrecht and sat not far from the station eager pedestrian pickings having serious doubts about my vocation. 


It wasn't the damp. I'd triumphed in Glasgow in my first deliberate performance during drizzle.


It wasn't the paucity of the pedestrian flow. I specialize in the slow build. I am the most self contained performer I know. I make my time into others time, over time.


It wasn't anything external,I'd lear t over the years that generally after particular crowds or cities or weather conditions or seasons are set aside as excuses for why my show [occasionally]sucked I was left inescapably with the conclusion that it must be some combination of my own sense of entitlement and a certain lack of respect that can happen when a good thing is taken for granted. 


I also wondered as I sat in what I thought was a bleak place having bleak thoughts, if perhaps all this travel was just a futile effort to outdistance some bleakness that had finally caught up on me and settled about as I sat and smoked and sipped sugary coffee in the grey dusk of Utrecht. 


Eventually, when my situation; that of being moneyless in a foreign county at the approach to winter prevailed, I did apply my makeup and stilts and insinuated myself in some dark corner spending the next hour leering and dancing and making mischief.  


Initially I simply am. I'm 11 foot tall and obviously contrived, a scowling pantomime with one major pleasure, that of accosting passers on street-corners with the solid state of me.
I'm not what most people would expect and that alone I find is comedy bedrock. Additionally I have a large quiver of gambits honed over 20 years and in many countries and cultures.


That said I really must apologize to Utrecht, I know it doesn't matter but although you laughed and donated and sent me on my way with more than I had arrived I must confess I was predisposed to not giving as I could.  


Sometimes the bleak conditions are internal and those wonderful, light, out of nowhere, bursts of creative joy you may happen upon are as much a relief and release for the performer you are watching as they might be to you. 


These shows are mutual celebrations and the pinnacle of objectives. My show in Utrickt was one of those very occasional shows where my disgruntled clown bled in and out of my underlying disgruntled artist. The audience cannot be sure of the comedy as theatrical timing and real timing are distinctly different the bitterness seems too unforced .  


Whenever I sense this it only amplifies my dissatisfaction which as you could see immediately makes the whole situation negatively recursive with me an unhappy clown in it's center. 


Laughter is created and so I redeem myself.


But honestly Utrecht, when I'm up I can achieve mercurial alchemy where the human condition is distilled and just enough pressure applied and released that a sum of laughter greater than it's parts is temporarily created and people revel.  


I think for my second book, which I'll write even if no-one reads this one, because I have to recycle reality seemingly as some inner prime function, I'll revisit Utrecht and make up.

1 comment:

Martin Ewen said...

so I'm writing a book, I am in the midst of finishing the last small pieces and will have it available by dec 1st.

you can read about/it at
http://www.martinewen.com/alphabet.html