Clowning is no joke for this actor

Ajithlal Sivalal

Ajithlal Sivalal | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


An evening a few years ago, when theatre maker Ajithlal Sivalal was walking down MG Road, Bengaluru, after a rehearsal camp, he noticed how busy the road was. Everything was moving at top speed. And then a thought struck him. “Why not walk in slow motion?” He picked a relatively quiet corner under the Metro bridge and began walking very slowly. Soon, he had people joining him and the act evolved into a full-blown performance. 

It was one of his earliest clowning acts, says Ajithlal, who will facilitate a clowning workshop organised by Rasa Theatre Collective along with Space of Act Theatre Collective from May 23 to 27 in Kochi. 

Clowning, says the actor, is a state of being. “Every one of us has a clown within. Clowning is all about searching for one’s own inner clown. It is an act of self-expression, using space, physical comedy, and sometimes words to communicate with the audience,” he says.

Having studied at the National School of Drama in Bengaluru and done his PG in Theatre Arts from the School of Drama, Thrissur, Ajithlal has been active in street theatre since 2014. He was formally introduced to clowning as a theatre process while rehearsing for a Bertolt Brecht play, The Threepenny Opera. Fascinated by the possibilities it opened up, he began his serious foray into clowning, exploring his own abilities. He started introducing elements of it in street plays and other theatre acts as well. However, he does not always plan a performance, says Ajithlal. He would pick a theme and the act would organically evolve around the props, the environment and the audience.

He uses the clown’s red nose, but performs even without it. “The red nose and colourful costumes complete the transformation into a clown, but it is not a prerequisite,” he says. “Once, in a public space, I wore a string of jasmine flowers in my hair; it was an act of clowning by itself.” However, he has designed his own costumes by mixing and matching colours and patterns.  

The five-day workshop, aimed at people over 18 years of age, will include basic theatre exercises, building a physical vocabulary, creating masks and improvisation. It would also explore ideas of a safe space, identity, expression and imagination. Participants are not required to have any experience in theatre. 

The workshop will be held at Nilam, One Little Earth, in Thripunithura. For registration, contact: 8891471419.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 12:35:13 pm |