Okay. Here are my Christopher Bayes clown workshop notes. But they aren't going to make any sense because everything we did would sound stupid typed on a screen. We spent four days building up the muscles to unleash our clowns. We made our brains soft. We played, truly played.
Be more generous with what you propose.
I walk out on stage. I'm instantly proposing something. If I just walk out there like I always walk, perhaps I'm proposing a fire drill, or a chess club meeting. If I walk out there because I want to show you something and I'm a combination of nervous and excited from head to toe, that's something different. Pay attention to the proposal you've made, and be generous with it.
When asked "why are you doing that?" the answer should be "Because I like it." Why would you present something onstage that you don't like?
Jump into your body! - a good warm-up. You just jump around! Jump and get loose, get connected to what's going on in your body, investigate it.
"Hey! What's that? I like it!"
Walk around - feel your natural rhythm. Got it? Never use that rhythm onstage. It's boring. It's the rhythm you use to go to the laundromat, it's the rhythm you use so no one asks you for change. Instead, check how you're really feeling and expand that. If you're anxious, investigate that. Let the brain disengage and explore.
Sometimes we move too much or we don't move because we're trying to hide how we really feel.
Find what part of you is disengaged, disingenuous. Sometimes your whole body is excited except your head is still because it's judging what you're doing. Get it involved! Sometimes your voice is not connected - make some sound!
The first person in line has an enormous tic. Another person comes in and is almost hit by the tic, so has an equally large crisp reaction/tic. Another person comes in and reacts to that reaction, until there's a line of people ticking in a chain reaction.
Value of Filterless Kinetic Response. You don't have to make it more than what it is, just do ALL of what it is. If you're frightened, be all the way frightened, give us all of that.
Hey Looky Looky, You Guys You Guys
Find your fun. Bring it to show us whatever it is because you like it and you like us. Then YAY! Celebrate its success, then run off to show it to someone else.
It's the "Hey, looky at this thing I made myself for YOU" as opposed to "Hey look how good I can improvise, look at me!"
It is so beautiful you cannot say what it is
In this exercise, pretend that you see the most beautiful thing in the whole world. Then run out to tell us about it, but you can't because it's so beautiful. Mostly on the inhale, because it's wonder. Okay so, experience everything so that you can see what's on the other side. What's on the other side of ferocity? Sometimes stillness, and beauty. What's on the other side of terror? Crying? What's there if you go low with your voice or your emotion? What's up high? Go see!
We made up a song about secrets. We discovered that it's a better secret if you tell what you don't want to tell - but you want to tell us. A real secret. Something that's hard to say. A joke or a lie is not really attached. It's more generous to make the sacrifice of something that's hard to say, not a secret from K-Mart.
There is no top if the tether is strong. If what you're doing is attached to its generator, attached in every muscle, your sound, your emotion, your feet, your head, WOW!
The Soft Brain. Your clown is who you would be if no one ever said "no" to you. If you pursued fun and played all the time, never lied, never faked, never tried to be funny or anything that you're not; if you just loved the world and did what you loved. Clowns have incredible integrity. They'd pull their hair out just for you. They'd conquer their greatest fears. They'd give you all they have.
The nose is a little mask. You have to support it. It's a magnifier, not a cover.
For me, I have to have my feet on the floor and not smile. If you're smiling all the time you can't hear.
You must find your fun.
It's not a costume you put on. It's something you have to pursue anew every time. What worked yesterday will not be what today is about. And what you think worked probably isn't what was working so you couldn't possibly recreate it with your non-soft thinky brain anyway.
We did this amazing exercise where you get engaged in some noisy activity, and at some point you notice there are people there as if you've never seen people before. A soft brain kinetic response bonanza.
Without the possibility of real tragedy, there can be no clown. It must be terrifying! Risky! Thrilling!
If the clown has a paper bag and loves it, has had it all its life and carries it everywhere every day, that's different than if a person dressed as a clown has a paper bag because he's crafted a neat paper bag trick.
We're astonished because of the integrity, because it's so true.
Care and feeding of your little clown
There is strength in softness. Give it value and take care of it without formalizing it. Pursue it every time. Really listen. Open channels to it.