Clowning Around: Instant Composition with a Red Nose

Hello Improvisers! On Thursday June 16th and 23rd, Suzan Lemont (along with as yet unknown research partner) will lead sessions around the theme of creating instant composition performances as a clown (using only the red nose, though we may explore what else might be useful/necessary in this endeavor or if the nose is even necessary).

NO EXPERIENCE WITH CLOWNING NECESSARY – these are sessions for the curious and the brave. I have red noses for 15 people but feel free to bring your own if you have one. And any other attributes you think would be fun/interesting to explore (& try not to get attached to being able to use it 😉 )Statue with red nose
The main aspects we will focus on: creating meaningful spontaneous performances with people you may not have ever worked with before, using either only a red nose as prop, or possibly going completely “naked” (prop-wise; don’t worry we’re not going to run around with no clothes on 😉 ) but still keeping in the spirit of being a clown. This brings up these questions (for me – this might change depending on who I find as research partner, or in the sessions themselves as the process unfolds within the group):
* the minimum required to be able to call it “clowning”.

* how does the use of a single attribute (the red nose) shape the performance, provide structure, open up or limit the possibilities?

* exploring the effects of the metaphorical and actual use of the red nose, and other clown attributes
* how is it possible to partner up with someone, perhaps a perfect stranger, and perform improvisationally? And then in culturally varied contexts.

* Can you make a meaningful performance with a nearly complete stranger and minimum of preparation?

* What role does language and defining the parameters play in the preparation stage, and does it impact the performance itself, or does clowning have the possibility to supercede the normal language engagements? And if yes or no, what makes the difference- is it the amount of experience/training each person brings to the performance, a question of matching characters, context, pure craziness/willing to take risks…?

I trained in Expressive Arts Therapy practices, and one of those was clowning, so I’m also interested in using these practices with various populations; most especially people who have experienced trauma, displacement, or have language barriers. This research will potentially help inform my choices and open up the work to previously unavailable audiences.
This is a deep well of complex and exciting questions and this is only a small cupful of the water from the well, I hope you’ll feel compelled to join in the play! Bring writing materials as well – I expect many ideas, more questions, and introspection to arise. You can direct questions to Suzan at or by leaving a comment below.

Proposed structure of sessions:
13:00-13:15 Arrival & settle in
13:15-13:30 Framing the sessions
13:30-14:00 Warm up led by Suzan and/or partner
14:00-16:00 Explorations unfolding

There are requests to use the studio for private work, so I have made this schedule to end at 16:00 to make some space for that, but if the requesters done’t need or are unable to use the space for just that hour we can go on until 17:00.

It should be a rich and stimulating afternoon. Hope you’ll come and play!

One thought on “Clowning Around: Instant Composition with a Red Nose

  1. So far there is only one query from an outside source about the sessions, and another friend who can only come to the first session. Could people please indicate if they are considering/almost sure they will or won’t come, as a courtesy to me and Ron (who will co-lead) and to the people who inquired about using the space privately. If there are insufficent participants I will release the space to those people – but I would love it if these sessions happen.

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