25 Sept 2012: Observing, Clowns and Gypsies


I woke up and decided not to clown.  I had a full day yesterday and thought it might be better to simply watch and observe.  I never get that chance as always I am deeply in the zone with clowning.  So I grabbed some cameras.  A small group got together and we went to a gypsy school.  We had the other people from Stephen Hawkings group and I felt to mentor them more.    We got to the school and there were children in uniforms, very disciplined.  There was a blackboard announcing a magic show.  We didn’t know that but what I love about our group is that we just pull it together.  Thankfully Brett was with us and he is a magic man so that could be created.   I spoke to Santosh and encouraged him to be a yogic clown and make stretches funny.  He was a bit nervous, Inoticed Brett offer to support him and it ended up being our group jumping in to help with getting the kids stretching and participating.   Ami (Twirly Pip) and Lennon did a great monkey routine, she incorporated spelling into the skit which I am sure the teachers would have loved.   She also pulled kids out of the crowd and gave them the twirling poy and stick to swing around.  Some were shy but I love that they get up.  So important for developing confidence.  The other group did a song which was great to see.  It is all about participation, the actually ability to perform in my view, is less important.  It is to have the courage to try.  On this trip we have all had to breach that barrier and find the courage to step out of the comfort zone and allow ourselves to spontaneously serve.  What I noticed is that it is different from a prepared performance where it is made safe by rehearsal and is about getting a response from the audience.  In spontaneous theatre you have to test lots of approaches and get a feel for the audience and tailor what you’ve got to their needs.    Our last performer was Brett and he had them very excited by his magic.   I have to say by the same token it is great to have performance as it is tried and tested.  You can be sure it will fascinate.  So both approaches are important, the spontaneous is more experimental.

We all took a group photo and then said goodbye.  It is so lovely to see the teachers and children mingling with the clowns and that atmosphere of goodwill.  It was lovely.

After the school we went across the road to the Gypsy community.  We walked into their area and found them living in make shift bark houses.  There conditions were primitive.  They are very warm people and gave us necklaces and I had hanna stamped onto my hands.  They had a range of designs, my hands had love hearts and love with leaves running up my fingers.  Each finger was stamped on.   The other was a flower with little love stamps.  It was beautiful.   Clever to stamp it on rather than paint it.  Santosh recommended we donate which we did.

We walked on to find a few people which we said hi to.  A guy had a little squirrel on a rope.  They run around the body but the rope restricts it from running away.  I’d never seen such a small squirrel.  I also visited a guy with a house made from bark and plastic, they had collected material to make the house.  There was a rooster and chicken there.  I found out later that the gypsies are discriminated against as they are seen as dirty and uneducated.  Apparently they smell and get socially isolated from the mainstream society.  I was told if they buy a juice it will be watered down, if an indian buys one it will be 100%.  So there are subtle ways they are rejected.  In our experience they were, as everyone has been, loving, full of smiles and generous.  We just can’t see the differences.  I noted they do give jewellery which appears their tradition.  A thrill to take something home to remember.  We then left the gypsy community and headed for lunch

We went to lunch and met with the other groups.  I had a food fight (crushed up pompadoms) with Jo and snuck behind her chair and scared her, I was in stitches at her reaction.    I also did a Bollywood dance and the staff were having a laugh.  We had such a fun time.    We had to say goodbye to Puzzle.  I felt sad to see him leave.   I felt it with the whole group, as it did feel as a family.

We then went to an orphanage/school.  There were around 100 kids.  Twirly pip chased the kids around as did Brett.  He also did some magic and played with his juggling balls with them.  The kids from Stephen Hawkings group also interacted more with the kids and they started to have more fun singing and relating to them.  I thought how important it is to teach people to give of themselves and let themselves shine, we all benefit.  It was nice to see them having a good time.  After a while Twirly pip hurt herself, slicing her toe.  She had blood running from her foot.  She wanted Lennon and was helped by personnel at the school.  Brett then did another magic show with the kids sitting down and they all loved it.  We got great feedback.

We headed back to the hotel. 

We went for a walk to get some icecream.  Toot needed to do some shopping so her and I hung out.  Great person is Toot, I enjoyed walking along with her.  I also had to go to the internet café and check my flight.  I wanted to write a poem as well.  I haven’t had time to write poetry on this trip but always one is sitting there waiting for expression.

We all got together had dinner and sing along. 

Mohandas Gandhi

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”


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