"Everything is permitted, even humor"
Joop van der Wal - Clown Step, founder and boardmember at Dichterbij-Clown Foundations
Some 13 years ago, two clowns decide to set up a foundation Dichterbij-Clown. It is meant for students who want to be ‘contact-clowns’ and are trained by ‘Speel wie je bent’ (play who you are).
Their advice for clowns is, was and always will be: make contact with the human being in front of you and extend that contact to a real connection from heart to heart, from soul to soul.
To reach that goal (almost) anything is permitted, even humor. The heartfelt connection will make people feel happy, will take them seriously with all the burden of life or sickness they carry with them. It does not matter what the outcome of the connection may be: laughter, anger, tears, anything goes once a soul is touched by a genuine other human being. Dichterbij-Clowns come closer by being themselves, they play who they are with no masks, except the little red one.
Someone saw us in the middle of play and wrote the following comment:
“As a clown you don’t have to be yourself, you play a role. Which role that is, is for you to decide. That red nose may put people on the wrong track. People expect humor, which may connect with those who came for a laugh. This is not true for you. I had the privilege to see you ‘at work’. With your red nose on. It can indeed be confusing, until it becomes clear that it is not about humor. It’s about true connection. This is possible in a group, but works even better in miniature, one on one (or two). Always keeping it small. No, you don’t have to be yourself. But why would you leave yourself at home when you’re on a mission?. That mission has the best chance of success when you dare to pretend nót to wear that red nose, especially if you dare to be yourself!”
This testimony is on the back flap of our booklet “12,5 years Dichterbij” which unfortunately is only available in Dutch.