For the last two weeks, Sibongile, Sipho, Mr Fish and I have been on a journey to find more about our clown characters and create a brand spanking new show for our KZN tour in Richard’s Bay and Newcastle, sponsored by Lotto!
We were extremely blessed to have Laen Herschler as our director and muse, who brought his wildly energetic ways and provocateur style to the pot. He came armed with full masks, half masks and neutral masks, which we played with during the first days as a way to prepare us for working with the smallest mask in the world – the red nose.
The first week was an exploration into the world of our clowns and we spent the mornings warming up our bodies and awareness with chorus work, at times using the neutral masks. Laen used the neutral mask as part of a highly disciplined training technique, which required a great deal of focus, presence and awareness. He also got us dancing, telling stories in gibberish and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. The afternoons were spent doing different clown exercises and working on ideas for solo routines, for example, a Salon routine, a Book and Radio routine and a Hula Hoop routine. We were stretched, we sweated, we struggled, we laughed and we witnessed the birthing of some new, some old and some just slightly revamped clown characters. In order of status, from highest to lowest I introduce to you (drum roll) Madame Gigi, Zumba, Banana and… Super!
It was a challenging transition into the second week, going from playing around (serious play, of course) to creating and structuring a show. Knowing that we had warm-up shows on Thursday and Friday meant that time was even shorter! However, as it always does, the show came together and although it will continue to change and evolve with every audience, we are ready to birth the Shosholoza Show into the world. Watch this space for updates from the field!