There is a party on Saturday to celebrate the official opening of the new school in Etampes and the 31st anniversary of the ecole Philippe Gaulier, when we arrived builders were at work finishing off laying the edges of the flooring which meant that we had to wait a few minutes before starting class.
Monsieur Gaulier stopped me on the stairs, "Ah your T-shirt it is beautiful." I'm wearing my red one today. "Merci Monsieur." I can't tell if he's joking or not, I think not but either way it makes me smile.
In movement we worked on acrobalance work, basing this on top of the normal warm-up and I start to feel a niggle in the knee and decide to take myself out of class. I nip back hope to get an icepack and go back to class, sat in the silk which doubled as a kind of seat/hammock I watch my classmates flying each other and am really impressed particularly with Kian, he has obviously done this work before but is very generous acting as base for almost everyone in class, he is gentle but firm and with his help everyone I watched him work with managed to succeed in the acro. He's actually quite soft for a tough young Irishman.
Class finishes and the builders are still at work downstairs so both groups have to work together togather for the day.
We spent the day auditioning for potential acts to present a cabaret style show at the school on Saturday night.
Smart dress is a must, apparently Michiko is planning to award prizes for the best dressed. On a tight budget I doubt I'll be visiting any boutique shops this week. It will be shirt and jeans for me, I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes in though.
Dan and I tried out our piece from Friday but this time switching roles, Dan's idea, Monsieur Gaulier has said jokingly that Dan has bad ideas and this was one. It didn't have the same feel as last time. Dan is a bigger idiot than me and we didn't have anything like the same reaction as last time. But Dan was right we had to try to see what it was going to be like.
Philippe said that we have to come up with an ending for the piece, he has given us an idea and now we just need to try and work it in.
There was lots to learn today particularly about the relationsheep (Baa-haa) between 2 clowns.
The exercise; to pretend that you know a show by a famous french author titled "The dead body in the starights of Gibralter" (?).
Monsieur Gaulier: "If you are sitting there and you think ooh-la-la I can't do that I don't know anything about that play then you are not clown. The clown thinks, it is not a piece of cake but I will try."
It is not a piece of cake but I will try and therein lies a big part of the clown, non?
When Philippe gets us to enter in a duo so often we rush into trying to come up with something that we neglect to make contact with our partner, our friend who will save us if we "start peddaling in ze sauerkraut" I think we brits would say when you find yourself "swimming in the shit". But you get the picture, the lesson here was that if I am flopping like mad I pass the game to my friend and he will save the show. On stage you have to trust your friend not only that but you have to find the conflict between you and your friend, I think that this was maybe why our auditioning of Fridays number didn't work so well, there was no conflict between Dan and myself this second time. Where is the game of the conflict? where is the game with the audience? where is the complicity?
How am i going to play with this person tonight? How am I going to play with this audience tonight? What will I do to get myself out of the flop?
Holy Sheep! There is a lot to this clown malarky!
Todays blog title comes from a little later in the session.
I had been sitting in the audience slightly scared to get up, actually that is not true, I was petrified today, how can this ageing man, his drum and a room full of near strangers strike such fear into ones heart and soul?
Maybe I'm starting to care more.
I hope so, but back to the point.
My partner is genius.
As I say I was sat there feeling the grip of fear around me wanting to get up and make people laugh but frightened that they would not, I heard a raucous laugh behind me and turned to catch Vicky's eye, Vicky is a 20-something greek/swiss girl, Philippe says she has something of the monster about her, she does, she is also great fun and has a light in her eyes that makes me think she will work a lot once she leaves but what do I know, anyway the genius that I wanted to be on stage with was her.
Next time an opportunity came we were up. As we walked to stage we caught each others eye, I think I can play with you but we'll see was what we both thought, I think.
We run on stage, I'm not feeling confident at all.
And round again.
A few smiles.
So do we.
We look at each other.
Out to the audience.
Back to each other.
Do something I think.
I get the same look back from Vicky.
I turn to the audience and shout Jacques Vidrel (The authors name)
Vicky looks at me.
Thankyou my friend, you are a genius.
"Jaaaaaaaaacques, don't go."
"Jaaaaacques, wait for me.!"
Then a sort of scene starts between us.
"Jaaaaacques where are you?"
"I'm waiting for you."
"But where are you?"
"I'm in Gibralter."
Boom of monsieurs drum.
Bon, so she had an idea you need to look at her.
He gets us to go from Vicky shouting again and says that I should look outatthe audience, that the conflict between us could come from her trying to do a scene but I am thinking "Woooooow! Look at her, go isn't she brilliant? My friend is a genius. Watch her. Go on do it again."
Writing this now it all seems very simple but in the heat of the moment it is so hard.
The curious thing is than when it clicks it will be like surfer riding a perfect wave, I guess you have to be thrown against the coral first or turn up on days when the sea is as flat as an ironed pancake.
I've had enough of coral and the pancake sea, I want to surf now.
Lets see what the waves are like tomorrow.