Leon McBryde shares his thoughts on clowning with Kids Entertainers
1. How has clowning changed since I started years ago?
There is nothing more certain than change. Now that I have said that … what does it mean and how does it apply to clowning? Over the years I notice that clowning has opted out of some of the traditions that were a big part of clowning when I began. Example: the structure of clown alley consisted of White Face, August and Character (tramp, hobo) clowns; and each played a part in a skit or ring gag. Some alleys today are based on the personal likes and/or dislikes of show owners – and worst of all “political correctness”.
2. Where do I see the future of clowning?
I think clowning is ﬁnding its new place in entertainment. Clowning will never die out. There has always been a form of clowning in every civilization, and there will always be a need for clowns. They will morph into what is needed.
3. Kids are changing with a diet of technology. Have you experienced any change in kids audiences because of this?
Kids today are fed so much entertainment through TV, movies and video games it is hard to ﬁnd something they have not been exposed to. They used to say “I know how to do that”; now they say “I’ve seen that – what else can you do?” The demand on the performer is greater than ever before.
4. On the ﬂip side, how has technology beneﬁted clowning?
Through technology, we can take an ordinary performance and make it exceptional.With todays technology we can have music, sound effects and lighting at our ﬁngertips. We now use Ipads, Iphones, sound systems – everything that was just a dream a few years ago is now a reality.
5. What are the biggest mistakes I see NEW clowns making with audiences?
Failure to entertain the audience, and depending on the trick. You have to make personal contact with your audience – make them like YOU ﬁrst, then whatever you do. They will appreciate it and, hopefully, love you. Take your audience with you on your journey of fun throughout your show.
6. Why would I encourage people to consider clowning over other forms of kids entertainment?
As a clown one realizes that it is truly an art form – one that will forever be changing with you as you grow older and more experienced in your performance ability. Most of the other forms of entertainment are based on accepting laughter or applause, whereas, the clown has the ability to go deeper. The clown in his heart will learn how to accept one’s happiness and one’s sadness and to be a part of real life. As a performer and entertainer, the clown is a giver – not a taker. The clown is saying, “Here I am – take from me what you need – let me help you forget about life’s troubles”.