For the last couple days i have been working on Section 1 yet again. After a couple years of edits and experimenting with the training regiment we have come to a viable thing. This section is the guide that goes with the lectures and practices for The Order of Pickled Herring. For those just tuning in this is the basic proficiency for clowning in our Bridge.
This is something similar to what circus once used to train their people in apprenticeships. To the best of knowlege most clown clown in North America have been shut down. Ringling Brother shut their down several years ago. As i recall there was one in California that I have heard nothing about for the last several years. I can only assume it is gone as well. It appears reasonable that there are not enough people training to be clowns to support this type of training.
For this reason it appears that the only way that clowns are going to be trained is through an apprenticeship. This was the way that the early performing guilds trained people in the middle ages. It appear that most circus that are left want a fully formed clown to show up at their door and apply for the job. This may work while the number of circus is shrinking. This will not work in the long run though. There will be a time when all the old masters and experienced clowns will gone.
This training program is a small hope in reversing this trend. Personally I would like to beleive that there is a future for clowning in the circus. I must admit that this looks dimmer and dimmer with every passing year. The circus is simply not as profitable as it once was Perhaps the only hope for this craft is the nonprofessional. If there is no profit than it leaves this to the volunteer.
Humor Therapy continues to gain ground. I remeber when a clown had to twist someones arm to get into a hospital to perform for free. Now they are welcomed with open arms. In some places there are a couple clown that are being pair for their Humor Thearapy skills. Perhaps this is the hope for the next evolution of Professional clowning.
In the days before TV the only hope for entertainment was having a group of people show up and put on a show. Now the shows can be had on the internet or anywhere. Norman Cousins attested to the healing properties of Humor. this is some the mass media will never be able to replicate. There may be one days when every hospital will have a team of clowns. This will not rival the number that once existed in the circus. Still the craft will continue.