The theatre was quiet except for this voice.
Has anyone seen Shannan?
The theatre was dark except for her flashlight.
The tension was palpable.
A few people shifted. A few more giggled uncomfortably.
It was October of 1997 and we creating and performing personal introductions on stage at the Dell Arte International school for physical theatre.
My friend Shannan was searching for herself in the audience of the theatre.
She triumphantly ended up on stage.
Shannan is one of the funniest people I have ever met.
The CBC in Winnipeg called her a national treasure.
Not long after that she went to Vegas. In Las Vegas, she worked for Cirque du Soilel as the lead clown in the show Zumanity for over a decade.
She found herself on stage indeed.
There she performed for thousands while doing multiple side hustles. She also raised two children and supported her family.
Then came the pandemic.
Everything went dark.
I know. The pandemic has been difficult for all of us.
The work, on stage isn’t so much about the money.
It isn’t so much about saying the lines and such.
For a clown, working on stage is about being in the same room with over two thousand people.
When performing live, we smell everyone’s farts. We can feel them shift. When we pause our breathing, if we’re doing well and they’re ‘with us’ they stop breathing too.
Performing live is a muscle. Performing live is a complete embodied experience.
I stopped years ago. It was my decision. I had time to say goodbye.
With Zumanity, Shannan didn’t have that luxury.
But Shannan’s a clown.
Clowns doing what clowns do, Shannan figured the next thing out.
She started teaching clown online.
Last spring I took her Virtual Playground online class.
Somehow, Shannan captured the magic of presence and delivered it in an online format.
She’s an incredible, unique talent and a generous teacher.
She’s also running this class in October - check it out.
Each week after the class, I felt lighter.
You can have this too.
You’ll find your way from the audience into the loving glory of the lighted stage.