This past week and weekend, Cal Shakes Associate Artist Ron Campbell—who has spent the last few years appearing as The King of the Clowns in Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza—gave a workshop on in our rehearsal hall as the culmination of his Fox Fellowship. The workshop covered mask, clowning, and other physical theater techniques, and was offered to Cal Shakes staff, teaching artists, and other members of our theater community. Nancy Carlin, a fellow Associate Artist, was one of Ron’s students, and will be blogging about the class over the next few days.
Getting ready to head off to the first session of Ron Campbell’s workshop. He’s had such a wild and amazing couple of years going around the world to study masks and clowning with masters in Greece, Japan, and France and such, on his TCG Fox Fellowship, on top of touring with Cirque du Soleil. The guy’s gonna have stories to tell!
Fun tonight! First session always the most awkward, everyone getting comfortable with each other, etc. Hasn’t changed since first day of kindergarten. Nice big group of teaching artists and assorted clowns and Ron-devotees. Too bad the other Associate Artists couldn’t be there. It’s a tough time slot because anyone in a production wouldn’t be able to attend….
Ron is sporting a phenomenal beard that makes him look like some kind of magical billy-goat or elfin impresario. He started by offering us a wonderful W. H. Auden quote to this effect: that the difference between a craftsman and an artist is that a craftsman knows what the finished product will look like. In essence, we, as artists, should submit ourselves to the unpredictable. The two hours were filled with wise words, fun exercises, and show-and-tell. I experienced my first iPad PowerPoint—or Finger Point (Finger Drag?)—as Ron showed us a slide show of masks and things from his travels. Fingerprints and all.
We carve the world around us.
How you do one thing, is how you do everything, i.e., how you park the car is how you make love.
Allow the mask to shape your body.
Economy of movement. Arrêtés (stops), moments of stillness. Takes.
Movement trumps sound. Arrêtés trump movement.
Get away from being a show-off.
Looking forward to tomorrow.
Pictured above: Ron Campbell and Nancy Carlin in class;
photo by Jay Yamada.