BWW Blog: The Courage of Clowns and Lovers

BWW Blog: The Courage of Clowns and Lovers

The courage of clowns and lovers in our business never ceases to hearten me.

We ended our second day of rehearsal for The Taming of the Shrew just now, and looking back at 48 hours of actors meeting for the first time, and moving to Memphis for the first time, reading scenes of intimacy with those who were strangers a moment ago -- I value the actor's courage all over again.

With the work Tennessee Shakespeare Company does in rehearsal, by the second day, lovers already know more about each other than most anyone else in the actors' real lives. And they trust one another to hold that knowledge sacred.

Clowns also are up on their feet volunteering for they know not what: the opportunity to fail, to try again, to make one person laugh, to surprise themselves. They commit their bodies to be airborne, to flatten to the ground, to embrace, all to some grouping of gods that holds them sacred as well. They are pure clowns who know well the world yet refuse to die to it; they laugh with the mystery of the universe and leap into the unknown daily.

Both the lovers and clowns, sometimes the same person, expose their hearts for their occupation. And not for nothing, I am reminded that the actors are there to remind me (and you) that part of the embrace of life for all of us is the willingness to give of our heart and our humor.

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Guest Blogger: Dan McCleary Dan McCleary is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South’s professional, classical theatre and education organization based in Memphis.  Dan has made a living as a classical stage actor, Shakespeare master teacher, producer, artist-manager, and stage director around the country for 25 years. Memphis Magazine named him among the “Who’s Who in Memphis” each year from 2009-12, and the Germantown Arts Alliance honored him with its 2009 Distinguished Arts and Humanities Medal for Performing Arts.  Dan is a published poet, and he holds a B.A. in Advertising and Journalism from Temple University.  Dan is the proud father of three-year-old twin boys, Sullivan and Collins.

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