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JBT – When I met Malcolm, my clown

The past 4 weeks of my life has been terrifying, rewarding and heart warming. Why?

Because I got to play a clown for 5 days a week, 4 weeks in a row.

Before Clowning Module.

In June, I made a decision to enrol into a 4 month full time physical theatre school as a gift to myself to learn more about me. At this time, I had ventured into the world of comedy “comedian.” I thought I would give comedy a go, because as an Asian actor in Australia, I was competing for extra/bit roles with a small group of Asians and felt unfulfilled. I also know I am a funny person¬†with my track record with MICF and Phi and Me, and I thought maybe I will give standup a try. How hard could it be? Right?

If you haven’t also noticed, there is a huge door for successful comedians to work on Australian TV than Asian actors – my golden ticket.

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Also…when can you say you’ve seen an Asian woman stand on stage for a full 50 minutes. Hence NAKED.

So here I was. October. A week off from intense school. Back at school. Clowning.

My preconceived thoughts of clowning.

To be a good clown you need to be funny. On your feet. You need to be available – other words vulnerable.

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The Module.

I remember the first week clearly. I was not okay. Personal things in my life were clouding my thoughts. I could say I had mild depression. Feeling things I should control but couldn’t.

Second class of clowning, we had to present a 5 minute group devised performance that we had created the night before. It was pretty funny. We had crackers and shooting water guns at each other.

THEN

John. The man. The teacher. Turned to me and said, “Diana go and do it again by yourself. Enter as your clown.” I popped my red nose on, and went behind the screen and entered. With my big smile, and big bold movements I came on.

John, “Stop acting. Go again.”

I did it again. I came on quirky and. “Stop acting.”

I did it again. I came on cute. “Do it again.”

I came on bold. “Are you not a clown doctor?” And that’s when I stopped and breathed.

(Back story of clown doctor. I audition to be one in July, and didn’t get in because I had no idea what a clown doctor was.)

That hit a nerve, because there in front of John and my 17 classmates, I was a failure…and I breathed.

“Do it Again.”

By the time I got behind the screen, I was crying. I was a red nose clown crying. Sobbing. Red puffy eyes. And I couldn’t stop. I breathed in, and I kept crying, and John called out, “Come out now.”

I walked out, with a cracker at the side of my cheek, crying…and the whole room was quiet. And there I created my clown. Malcolm. A clown who is vulnerable, open and sad. When Malcolm was happy he had great joy, but when he was sad, he was sad.

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Conclusion of meeting my clown.

As an actor I can be someone, hide behind character and be bold, but with a clown…they remind us of our failures and successes. Our triumphs and our falls. I am so grateful I got to experience that.

Hi Malcolm.

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