Fools fall in love

In ‘One of Our Clowns is Missing’ a group of inept clowns stage a comedy version of the Bible. The production unravels as the fool playing Saint Paul falls in love with Mary Magdalene, who is the ex-girlfriend of the clown playing Judas – a former mercenary with a large collection of guns…

Clown feet

Inspiration for ‘One of Our Clowns is Missing

When I was 18 years old and living in a big provincial town, I joined a local clown troupe (which I guess was easier than running off and joining the circus).

 One morning we met to busk in a large market square, in the centre of which was an impressive gothic cathedral. Fully costumed and made-up, we japed and juggled as if our lives, or livelihoods, depended on it (luckily neither did).

There was little response to our exertions.

 We spied a large crowd forming on the other side of the market square beside the cathedral. Because of the size of the crowd it seemed to us that there should be a pretty accomplished act in full swing over there – maybe a jazz band, Morris dancers (please let it be Morris Dancers, we snarled!) or perhaps, maybe best of all, rival clowns.

 We decided it would be very amusing to try and steal their audience from them - a clown showdown!  We fooled our way through about a hundred bemused shoppers and finally arrived at the front of the crowd and the open ‘stage’ area they were all huddled around.

 What we poor fools found was not musicians, other clowns, or Morris Dancers; but the still body of a young woman lying on the bricks. She had jumped from the top of the cathedral only moments before.

We stood paralysed before the grim scene. What were we to do at this terrible collision of the make believe with the brutally real? People were looking at us. Should we try and interpret for them the horror of the situation in an artful yet sensitive clown skit? Or remove our red noses and our wigs, and stand in respectful silence? Or should we simply turn and make a run for it?

What would you have done?