The Education of a Circus Clown: Mentors, Audiences, Mistakes - Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History (Paperback)David Carlyon (author)
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2017 Freedley Award Finalist, Theatre Library Association
2016 Best Circus Book of the Year, Stuart Thayer Prize, Circus Historical Society
The 1960s American hippie-clown boom fostered many creative impulses, including neo-vaudeville and Ringling's Clown College. However, the origin of that impulse, clowning with a circus, has largely gone unexamined. David Carlyon, through an autoethnographic examination of his own experiences in clowning, offers a close reading of the education of a professional circus clown, woven through an eye-opening, sometimes funny, occasionally poignant look at circus life. Layering critical reflections of personal experience with connections to wider scholarship, Carlyon focuses on the work of clowning while interrogating what clowns actually do, rather than using them as stand-ins for conceptual ideas or as sentimental figures.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Number of pages: 219
Weight: 307 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm
Edition: 1st ed. 2016
"It is published by Palgrave MacMillan, as one in the series of Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History, devoted to the best of theatre/performance scholarship currently accessible, available and free of jargon. ... it is full of interesting anecdotes and fun in describing the education of a young clown with the Ringling show in America. ... It's funny, entertaining, and informative." (Don Stacey, Circus Report, January, 2015)
"David Carlyon ran away from a lucrative legal career to join the circus. His beautifully immersive personal history captures the gritty excitement and deep camaraderie of his first circus season. The Education of a Circus Clown is a terrific and important book that will enrich and enliven our historical understanding of clowning, the circus, and American culture." - Janet M. Davis, American Studies and History, University of Texas at Austin, USA, author of The Circus Age: American Culture and Society Under the American Big Top, and editor of Tiny Kline, Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Life of Tiny Kline
"The literature of clowning, like that of other performing arts, is full of anecdote-laden memoirs that shed little if any light on the actual craft of the performer. The Education of A Circus Clown is a rare exception because David Carlyon is both a professional writer and a professional performer who offers us not just a behind-the-scenes look at life in the clown alley of the world's largest circus, but also an honest and at times anguished analysis of the performer's daily struggle to be funny. Entertaining and illuminating." - John Towsen, author of Clowns and the physical comedy blog All Fall Down
"An important history - as all-encompassing as it is personal - and a great look into the mind of a performing artist. If you want to know what real American circus life is like, then this book is for you. If you don't . . . well, then you're missing something wonderful." - Murray Horwitz, Tony Award-winning playwright (Ain't Misbehavin'), creator of NPR's Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me, and a former Ringling clown
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