All it takes is one clown to wake to make life come crashing down.
Most of us remember our childhood with fondness and a little nostalgia. Tragically, it isn’t like that for all children as some of their earliest memories can be filled with unimaginable pain and suffering. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 3,000,000 cases of child abuse or neglect are reported in the United States each year, which result in nearly 2,000 deaths. The greatest tragedy is that children who are victims of neglect or abuse suffer not only the physical manifestation of this abuse, but also endure painful emotional and psychological suffering. The physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abuse and neglect can take years to overcome and can manifest in a host of ways.
The creators of Send in the Clowns were drawn to the dissociative worlds that children create to escape the traumas of abuse and found that predators use childhood guises, such as dressing as clowns, to create hyper-real worlds to hide the trauma or "create and element of doubt when a child shares details about the abuse," as is documented by US child abuse lawyer Christopher Keane.
Send in the Clowns is a snapshot of a vulnerable man whose mind and psyche blend the lines between adult and prepubescent; someone trapped in their own chaos where reality and fantasy merge to create a surreal world filled with the innocence of youth and the vices of adults. With clowning, puppetry and song, he journeys to a fantastical world far, far away. A world where he can blow out his birthday candles, close his eyes, and wish his way to a better place. But when all the candles are gone truth sets in. The delusions, memories and fantasies intermingle at his trepidation in unravelling his current reality. Til now his only escape is into his mind, his only peace in a dream. But as this dreamscape dissipates, the man’s innocent nature is brought into disrepute: is ‘truth’ as he sees it?
Send in the Clowns is a chilling theatrical debut from emerging theatre company 0 Potential for the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Send in the Clowns is a multi-form theatre production that combines clowning, puppetry and musical score while exploring the transience of innocence and the differentiation between fantasy and reality. The play was originally conceived as a short piece for the 3D New Theatre Festival and went on to win the Artistic Development Award, being selected for further development by Malthouse Theatre. After success at the festival, it was commissioned to perform at the Monash University Academy of Perfuming Arts Lunchtime Theatre Programme to rave reviews and was a successful recipient of the St.Martin’s threshold grants programme.
0 Potential is a new theatrical experience, where audiences can join the performers in the realm of imagination, and leave the space debating the true meaning and haunted and pleasured by images of the event. 0 Potential’s work takes you somewhere you weren’t expecting, moments where you forget to breathe, and memories of the joy of being young; glimpses so transient that the brief touch given to them makes them disappear back into your imagination. Until the curtain comes up the next night.
All it takes is one mistake to turn everything upside down…. 0 Potential invite us on a journey into the imagination of a unique boy, whose candy coloured kooky reality is turned upside down by the arrival of two clowns who drive the boy into a fantastical world, a place far, far away. The play is part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival and can is being staged in September in South Yarra.