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Palhaรงaria Feminina Magazine Biennial

โ€ข V.4 2018

Palhaรงaria Feminina Magazine


EXPEDIENT Periodicity Biennial Editor/author Michelle Silveira da Silva Address Rua Firmina Sirena Vitalli, 100D, Bairro Seminário, Chapecó, SC CEP 89813 – 388 Person in charge Michelle Silveira da Silva (49) 98866 4884

Photo: Palhaça Ferrugem Archive

Cover photo Lucas Alvarez

________________________________________________________________________ R327

Revista palhaçaria feminina = Palhaçaria feminina magazine. / Michelle Silveira da Silva. – v. 1, n. 1 (set. 2012) - . - Chapecó, 2012 Bilingue Bienal ISSN 2596-0237

1. Mulheres na arte. 2. Artes cênicas e recreativas. 3. Criação (literária, artística, etc). 4. Palhaças. 5. Circo. I. Silva, Michelle Silveira II. Palhaçaria feminina magazine. CDD 790 _______________________________________________________________________ Ficha catalográfica elaborada por Karina Ramos – CRB 14/1056


Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine




With great joy and struggle, we accomplished the 4th Edition of the Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine. As long as we were contemplated in the Public Edict for Promotion and Circulation of Artistic Languages of Chapecó, Santa Catarina, Brazil, we saw the opportunity to continue this project of record, so significant for women’s clownwork in Brazil and in the world. Before writing this presentation, I reread the three presentations of the previous magazines, and the growth and maturation that this project is going through is visible, thanks to the exchanges, the sharing, the ideas that cross each other and dialogue between woman clowns in meeting, festival, exhibition, spectacle and workshops in Brazil. All those moments in which we meet are possibilities of empowering one another. In the pages that follow we will find articles, reports, specials, extras and interviews, everything written by woman clowns who are increasingly mobilized to occupy the spaces they want and deserve in art, clownery and life. Beautiful and sensitive discoveries are revealed and shared with the reader, and we hope that all this precious material that is presented here will serve as inspiration for those who are starting out and for those who are in the “daily struggle” to be an artist and clown in our diverse, rich and so currently troubled country. Let the clowning allow us to laugh and reflect before so much ignorance, violence, neglect and almost hopelessness. Let the clowning light the flame of joy, clean the dust that covers all the mirrors where we try to see ourselves reflected, and may our capacity to love be a powerful engine to rescue hope, strength and faith in humanity. Michelle Silveira da Silva - Editor


Michelle S. da Silva Wendy Sampaio Editor


Miguel Vassali

Graphic Designer

Karina Ramos Librarian

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



N A R R AT I V E S A Letter to my Grandma Mariana Gabriel

Birth of me Karla Concá

Clowns without bonders

06 08

Aline Moreno


Clowning, the heritage of joy Cia Traço


Black clowning: representativeness and decolonization Drica Santos



PA P E R S Female Clowning self-poetic and Wanderings Manuela Castelo Branco


Reflections on Barrica poráguaabaixo show by Michelle Silveira Jennifer J. de Jesus

Sarah Monteat dos Santos


Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine

Michelle Cabral

Ana Fuchs


Santa Catarina’s Network of Clown Women Bia Alvarez

42 44


More Meetings, please… Andrea Macera Sarah Monteath dos Santos

Personal clownery in a feminine, feminist, ritualistic, political, and wild perspective

Women Clowns: Historical trails of women’s clownery in Brazil

From real life to fiction: biographical film references for women/clown women Striptease to the contrary


Felícia de Castro

Clown Woman - Nara Oliveira


26 I N T E R V I E W


Interview with Julie Goel




THE IMPORTANCE OF FEMALE COMEDY FESTIVALS About “Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaça” Ana Piu

MY FIRST MEETING About Encontro Internacional de Palhaças de São Paulo Dani Majzoub

CLOWN WOMEN OF THE WORLD Meeting of clown women of Brasília Ester Monteiro

MINAS About “Mulheres Inusitadas de Narizes – Encontro de Mulheres Palhaças de Uberlândia”




Giovanna Parra


Show Your Grace Clown Woman Lia Motta


CLOWNERY – International Festival of Clown Women of Recife Enne Marx e Nara Menezes

Clown Woman at the Square Festival Laís e Thaís Oliveira

OF THE ART OF MEETING Meeting of Clowns of Joinville Bia Alvarez

Ferrugem Clown Woman Robson Rodrigues do Nascimento



Clown women under the circus canvas


Ermínia Silva

Matusquella and the Circa Brasilina


Manuela Castelo Branco

Clown woman Ferrugem and circo Grock

A special about the Portuguese Women Clowns Eva Ribeiro e Catarina Mota

Gena Leão


Clown Pipoca and Cia teatral Turma do Biribinha Seliana Silva

BEING MEXICAN WOMEN CLOWNS A special with women clowns from Mexico Darina Robles e a Rede de Palhaças Mexicanas



Clown Barrica and Biriba Theater Michelle Silveira da Silva






Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



A Letter to my Grandma Ay, ay, ay, ay Canta y no llores Porque cantando se alegran Cielito lindo, los corazones

Palhaça Birota

Mariana Gabriel PHo t o s

Esau EzGz

Those were the verses we sang, weren’t they, my grandma? Me at the piano and you singing! And with every her ay, ay strident, I would burst into laughter! And I waited anxiously for her ay, ay, ays... I miss you, Grandma Eliza! Longing that tightens the chest!

She is a filmmaker, journalist and clown. Director of the short film Iara do Paraitinga, of the documentaries Circo Paraki (Paraki Circus), Mar Português (Portuguese Sea) (recorded in Lisbon, screened at ESPN Brazil) and Minha avó era palhaço (My grandmother was a clown), contemplated at the Funarte Carequinha Award, in 2014. She worked as a journalist and producer from 2007 to 2015, on ESPN Brazil and on the Manos e Minas program of TV Cultura. Today she takes up the story of her maternal family, which is traditional circus, Alves family, of the Great Guarany Circus. 6

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine

You were a clown, a clown man, the Xamego! So far, we know, the first woman clown in Brazil. Did you know that? I am referring here to the clown of the modern circus, the eccentric, which was the great attraction of circuses in the late 20th century. I say yes! From what we know, you were a pioneer! You know? It was at the beginning of 2014, we did a great research on your life after the project were contemplated by the Funarte Caixa Carequinha Award of promotion to the Circus - announcement that no longer exists and that offered important projects about a cultural memory of our country. I say we dived, because there were by my side my parents and great

film professionals on cinema who became friends and family. Yes, your daughter, Daisinha, is starting to love Xamego! She has even tried to imitate your voice, to remember your acts! And my gluttonous father, he still misses your roast beef and the feijoada... and also those of our sambinhas that made the joy of our lives! That’s missing you on this round, Grandma! Uncle Aristeu, great guitarist, is quieter than before. I think he misses you, his son Alexandre... We all know, right? The truth is that I have discovered stories and passages of your trajectory that I had not imagined. And with every novelty, I felt more and more proud of you, my grandmother! From this research project was born the blog of the clown Xamego and the documentary “Minha avó era palhaço” (My grandmother was a clown). A movie that has traveled Brazil. Until now, there have been 77 exhibitions in 8 Brazilian states and the federal district: Bahia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Goiás, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Minas Gerais, Brasília... And we have invitations until October 2018! It looks like magic, charm... I do not even know! Our “caravan” - yes, because we

always go in family and after the movie sessions, we have a chat with the public - it looks like the Guarany Circus, of your father João Alves, my great-grandfather, who rode by train for our beautiful country in the golden age of the circus in Brazil. Gone from the beginning of the last century. We have already made a public of more than 4,500 people. Do you believe it? Not even us! The film is shown in circus and theater festivals, cultural centers, at SESCs, sessions in historic cinemas, public squares, schools for children, universities, centers for cohabitation for the elderly, even at maternity... Grandma, we occupied a wall of a church! In fact, you will not believe it! Yes! It was in the church that you attended, Our Lady of the Rosary Church of Penha. The Church of the Blacks. We remembered you all the time. The candles we lit together! My mother, me and you! We prayed a lot for you that day! It was our holy place, wasn’t it? These are memorable, unthinkable passages! As the session in Belo Horizonte, at the “Theater Festival Negro Benjamim de Oliveira”... In honor of Uncle Benjamim, as you referred to him, known as the first black clown in Brazil. The staff opened the event saying “Salve, Maria Eliza Alves dos Reis”! You believe it, my dear grandma! Being honored at an event where the patron is Uncle Benjamim, whom you admired so much! I cried a lot that day!... I always get very emotional! In Ouro Preto, there are children from Circo da Gente, a social project, showing a spectacle with the Xameguinhas, in your honor. Here in São Paulo, there is an incredible group willing to set up an exhibition about you, they want to reconstitute your Xamego costumes! Oh, so many things! Many developments, grandma! Not mentioning the chats, which are a revolution! We are living in difficult times, but of a lot of struggle at the country and at the world. For those who lived 98 years and faced two wars,

I imagine that you know how these times are... Our debates range from the question of the memory of Brazilian circus, of black protagonism in the arts, of women’s issues, to the question of women’s clownery and comedy, or gender discussions... For you to have an idea, we had an impressive conversation with students from the São Paulo Culture Factories in Vila Nova Cachoeirinha, northern area, children aged from 10 to 13 years. Recall Nelson Mandela, we talked about racial prejudice... A victory, grandma! There still is prejudice, but we are beginning to talk about it more openly. The film and your history has contributed and provided moments of reflection on these important subjects. And I need to tell you! You know that last Tuesday I lived another magical moment... I took part in the III International Meeting of Women clowns! Yes, grandma! There are lots of women clowns now! Women clowns are at the forefront of a beautiful movement... We are building our dramaturgy, plunging into our universes, thinking of woman grace... A collective process, a national and international network too... There are women from Mexico, from Colombia... I say we are, grandma, because I’m a clown too! It really is! And with great pride! And you are a reference to me! And last Tuesday I lived our magical moment! I sang with you and with Xamego - together in one figure - our beautiful Cielito! With right to a lot of ay, ay, ay!!! I’ll try to stop crying when I watch the movie. I will remember how much we laughed and had fun together! I will keep this message from our singing: Canta y no llores! I think you know all this and you’re with me all the time, aren’t you? I am sure you are! Long live you, my grandmother! Long live Xamego! Long live women’s clownery! And say hello to Tita, to grandpa, to Bisô, to uncle Toninho and to Bisa Brígida! Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



Birth of me

Palhaça Indiana da Silva

Karla Conca PHo t o s

Bruna Leal e Claudia Bernett

I am Karla Concá, clown, actress, director and creator of the Síndrome de Clown (Clown Syndrome) project, a teacher of clownwork, founder and member of the group As Marias da Graça since 1991. The group is composed by Geni Viegas, Samantha Anciães and Vera Ribeiro. I am currently part of a collective “Profanas Palhaças de Cabaré!” (Profane Clowns of Cabaret!). Created in 2017, in Rio de Janeiro, by several clowns with the intention of uniting, exchanging and welcoming ourselves in our guidelines. 8

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine

When talking about clownery, clowning or any other term connected to this technique, for some people still comes only the figure of the male gender, the clown. From the 90’s, very recent, and speaking of Brazil where I intend to situate myself, this scenario of man as the central figure of the clownery begins to change and the clown women emerge on all sides: in the theater, on TV, at festivals, in cabarets, on the street, in hospitals... An occupation of the feminine gender in the rigid phallic place of the masculine universe arises. And like any system change, used to being the same for many years, it is natural to cause doubts, outbursts, misunderstandings, and annoyances. Every change is expansive. It happens from the micro to the macro. We then arrived at the inclusion of the genre beyond physical appearance, we immerse ourselves in writing, in dramaturgy. And in this question we have choices, not just a tradition... Point to us! This is the positive side of not having a whole tradition behind us demanding a pattern. We can use both ready-made dramaturgy, already pre-existing in the circus market, as we create our own dramaturgy. And this has been the path chosen by a large percentage of clown women, which is still a strong feminine characteristic... the resignification! Working from a new concept, that of own creation. An authentic form of existing in a

pre-existing traditional dramaturgical space leads us to personal processes of creation where the core of what we mean does not necessarily correspond to a beginning, a middle and an end identifiable in a logic, but can go through the whole spectacle. What would be closer to the thinking of the concept of “Rhizome” within the “theory of knowledge” in the thinking of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari than in Aristotle’s thought of the dramaturgical concept of “Hero and his trajectory”. And in this place we come across several types of female representation: - classic, tidy - conventional, traditional - unusual - messy, revolutionary - exalted and free... What really matters in this case is the presence of the clown woman in her state of strength and representation. What she comes to say is of personal choice, within the perspective of her life or not of the moment. Most clown women talk about relevant issues to the feminine world, which has generated some discomfort mainly by men. I make use of the word “mainly”, because sometimes we find women who also bother about this, and it is natural within a very strong patriarchal system. There is a lot to be agreed upon. The sleeping beauty still wanders among us! I can not write a text about female dramaturgy in the most important magazine Palhaçaria Feminina, which

I know, without mentioning here a few phrases that we women still hear from the clown men, in the middle of 2018, about our way of acting. Here are them: - “If you continue to talk like this about yourself, you will end up exhausting your repertoire.” Karla’s comment: As if a woman’s repertory could run out. - “You girls are very aggressive!” Karla’s comment: Usually this talk comes when the clown woman scene has been talking about some kind of violence that the woman suffers, be it physical, verbal or just patriarchal. - “You just know how to talk about you?” Karla’s comment: Yes, the point is that we know how to talk about ourselves and we have no problem talking about ourselves. - “The number of clown woman is increasing a lot and women are being very ferocious in their numbers and they lose the subtlety of humor.” Karla’s comment: Well, I invite you who are reading this article now, to draw by the memory and remember the gags, reruns, comic effects or numbers of tradition of the clownery where men act. Let’s remember. How are women treated in these contexts? Stolen kisses, butts being called of inspirations, putting the woman always on lower planes, whether for comparison or in the place of stupidity and being invasive over our bodies. Children do not, these always preserved, because children clowns, at this moment, have to have the “subtlety in the mood”. The ferocious in this case is in whom? In the dramaturgy of women talking about themselves, in their various situations within a patriarchal system or in a circus dramaturgical tradition, in which the woman is inserted as a consumer of a laugh against herself ? And the last sentence, this time coming from one clown woman to another: - “You’re too fat and messy to be a clown woman!” Karla’s comment: Because of this misleading thought, we need to have a

dramaturgy of our own, because we still go through this aesthetic type of acceptance by society, and we also go through many other violence, which makes us want to talk about them on the scene. Since we are not a character, we are ourselves suspended, in a preserved nucleus, then we will talk about ourselves and our contexts. No? I believe that men also have their contexts to be told but prefer not to touch them. OK! It’s all right. Women and Men are different: moods, concepts, choices, goals... What is laughable to one is different from what is laughable to another. As a teacher, director, playwright, lecturer on this subject, I always have the public in my mind. I think it is fundamental and cathartic for the female audience to attend a show and identify themselves with what they are seeing, without being just a consumer of laughter that leads to a place of emotional vulnerability. One of the beauties of women’s dramaturgy for me is to free the “public woman” from her framed dogma and from her restricted daily life and lead her to new possibilities, choices and thoughts, with the opportunity to rethink her life. In my shows as a director and coauthor, I intensify the personality of the clown woman I am directing, so that what comes out of it as a text or action is used by any audience that watches it, whether male or female. But the fact that it is a text spoken and written by a woman, the identification by the female audience is direct, making the laughter immediate. What will not necessarily happen with the laughter of the male audience, the immediacy gives space for about 5 to 10 minutes later. I direct fat, old, black, white, young women... and we always have something to say. Everything that comes into our minds must be respected1.

I invite you to read the article: “Palhaçaria Feminina: Trajetória de investigação e construção dramatúrgica de espetáculos dirigidos por Karla Concá” (Female Clowning: Trajectory of investigation and dramaturgical construction of shows directed by Karla Concá). This article was written by Ana Borges and I and it talks about the process of female dramaturgy from four shows directed by me. It was published at the International Seminário Internacional Fazendo Gênero 11 & 13th Women’s Worlds Congress (Electronic Records), Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, 2017, ISSN 2179-510X) Access: < anais/1503793078_[_7688911.pdf>. Ana Borges is the clown Maroquinha, she is from Minas Gerais, currently living in Rio de Janeiro with the show “Contrata-se!” (We are hiring!) directed by me in co-authoring with her. She is also responsible for the theoretical part of the first module of the workshop that I minister and has been adopting my methodology of work inside the workshops. 1

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



Clowns Without Bonders

Palhaça Donatella

Aline Moreno PHo t o s

Ricardo Avellar

Aline Moreno, actress, clown and founder of Palhaços Sem Fronteiras Brasil (Clowns Without Borders Brazil). Formed by the schools Célia Helena (São Paulo), Escuela Internacional de Teatro Berty Tovías (International School of Theater Berty Tovías) (Spain) and ESLIPA (Escola Livre de Palhaços/Rio de Janeiro [Free School of Clowns]). She works at Cia. Le Plat du Jour, at Cia. Cromossomos and is one of the articulators of the Rede de Palhaças (Network of Clown Women). 10

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine

With Palhaços Sem Fronteiras Brasil, she coordinates and works on humanitarian projects in unstable areas around the world. “Clowning in the conflict area?” “Laughter in the war?” “After a hurricane?” These are questions I hear recurring. In general, people think that everyone only needs food, water and home, which, to a certain extent, is true. But we all need affection, even more so in a world ruled by material, in which we forget the immaterial, that feeds our soul. And art is a kind of this food. When someone goes through a trauma, be it war or catastrophe, he/ she tears apart. And the clownery and the circus are a powerful emotional regenerator. That is why I fell in love with the craft performed by Palhaços Sem Fronteiras. For you to travel with me in this story, I will tell you how it all began: At Christmas, 1992, Tortell Poltrona received a call from a group of children from a school in Barcelona. The proposal was for him to perform at the refugee camps of the former Yugoslavia, which was then at war. On February 23rd, they set out for the initiation

journey of what in the future would be the Palhaços Sem Fronteiras, and it became clear that circus and clowning could be an important tool in supporting populations affected by war trauma. In 2018, we will celebrate 25 years of existence. Currently, the organization has an international headquarters in Spain, Clowns Without Borders International, and is present in 15 countries. Palhaços Sem Fronteiras Brasil is the first member of Latin America. And I am Aline Moreno, founder, president and clown woman of the organization in the country. Yes, there is going to be a clown woman in the conflict area. In our first year in Brazil, we shared the laughter through seven projects in four Latin American countries and territories: Riso Doce, Ocupa Riso, Refugiados, Quilombos do Vale do Ribeira, Jornada em El Salvador, Project São Martinho and Project Colômbia, in areas of exclusion, high social inequality, affected by environmental disasters or civil war. All projects carried out with great courage – which literally means “acting with the heart”. Our work is committed to

Human Rights, in a world where the construction of walls is instigated. And our great desire is to build bridges. Bridges of communication, so that we contemplate ourselves with the eyes of empathy. Personally, I feel that developing this project expands me as a human being. After the experiences I lived and that I have lived in the field, I could see that nothing is separated, the Western Sahara, the Rio Doce, Nicaragua, and that everything is part of a whole, of the same planet. And I feel responsible for it, whether in Syria or on the street of my house. Living with people in extreme situations made me see how ridiculous all this is in the world, exclusion, social differences, war, and all forms of negligence and damage, all irresponsible acts. This all sounds like a big joke to me. And it is precisely the resistance of laughter that holds me back in this barbaric world. As for being a woman and a clown, the stories are many. How many times have I heard that I could not be a clown, or that the front is no place for a woman? Well, let me tell you something. When we, clown women, acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artists, paradistas, occupy the scene, in places where women and girls often can not even think of other possibilities of life, we open paths. When these women see us there, they see other paths. That is what moves us. Daily, we face various chauvinism situations, and so one of our values, in Clowns Without Borders, is gender equity. As long as this is not a rule

within the system, we will create this rule until one day it will be true everywhere. To conclude, I would like to tell you a story of how we can contribute to the female issue being clowns. When we arrived in Nicaragua, in 2016, one of the requests of the local organization was to talk about chauvinism. Latin America as a whole has a very high feminicide index. Then we, from the spectacle organization, explained that our shows were not pedagogical, but that we could somehow approach the subject through the language of circus and clowning. The result was a simple scene in the middle of the show. A clown man who played juggling was interrupted by a clown woman, who asked to play juggling. The clown man replied that women could not play juggling. At that moment two clown women come up and said “Sí, se puede” (Yes, you can). And all the children said no. The clown woman, in a trick, steals the clown man juggling, and at that moment all the children said “Sí, se puede” (Yes, you can). She plays happily, looks at the clown man and said “Let’s play together?” And so the scene ends. Yes, we can. We want to build a history of playing together: women, men, adults, children, Muslims, Catholics, whites, blacks, indigenous, Easterners, Westerners, everyone. We want a story without borders. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



Clowning, the heritage of joy Cia Traço PHo t o s

Diogo G. Andrade, Chris Mayer e Elenice do Nascimento Débora de Matos (Esmeralda) and Greice Miotello (Gretta Panschetta). They have worked as clowns since 2003. Together with Egon Seidler (Jubi) they coordinate the Traço Cia. De Teatro. They are trained with Iván Prado, Sue Morison, Ângela de Castro, Chacovachi, Ricardo Puccetti, Pepe Nuñez, Esio Magalhães, Marianne Consentino, Adelvane Néia, Patrícia Santos... With Traço, they investigate the expansion of artistic territories through clowning and street theater. They coordinate and integrate the Project (A) Gentes do Riso (Agents/Folk of Laughter) and the Mostra Traço de Bolso – o riso corre solto... (Traço Pocket Show - laughter runs free...) And they are partners of the Associação Cultural e de Cooperação Internacional Pallasos en Rebeldía (Cultural Association and International Cooperation Pallasos em Rebeldía). 12

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine

They say that when two people laugh together, their souls embrace. But when many people laugh together, their souls celebrate. And it had been to celebrate life that the clownery (in its many facets) always existed. This art glows the glitter in each person, chanting a transgressing laugh. Laughter frees worlds. Laughter knocks down walls. Laughter widens borders, bringing different peoples and cultures closer together. Laughter encourages dreams. Laughter equals us before life. We are Traço of life and Pallasas en Rebeldía. We danced alongside different peoples in different processes of struggle and resistance – a dance in laughter, a prayer in joy. Many peoples. Many peoples waiting. Many peoples massacred. Many welcoming peoples. Many peoples tired of waiting. Many peoples strong and wise. Many peoples to fight for, even if facing death, it is the only hope of continuing to exist. Many peoples fighting for their territories, sacred lands where time stands still, eternized. The same time that, in the lands here, makes us quickly forget. Terra meu corpo / Água meu sangue / Ar pensamento / Fogo meu espírito.1 Since 2014, we, from Traço along with the family Pallasos en Rebeldía,

take the clownery to areas of indigenous in Alagoas, Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso do Sul. We have been in areas of land reclamation. Areas frightened by the vigil of gunslingers. Areas of scarcity of food and water. Areas where beef is worth more than human life. We have seen areas called “indigenous reservations” that reminded us of Palestinian refugee camps2. The contact with this Brazilian reality was enough to fill our eyes with tears and touch our hearts. In many of these territories women lead their people. They are warriors. Empowered. Leadership in resistance. Ready to fight for herself, for her ancestry, for her lands, for her children, for the perpetuation of her ethnicity. In 2017, on a return to Dourados (Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil) and to Casa dos Ventos, we asked Fabi (cultural activist and manager) to mediate our visit in an area of indigenous recovery land to carry out a Pallasos en Rebeldía action, leading the laughter in the form of a struggle and hope. The winds blew, promoting an unexpected gathering. When we noticed there were Débora, Egon, Greice, Isis and Dodô along with Fabi and Dani, a kaiowá leadership and daughter of the main leadership of the retaking Guyra Kanby’i. Dani was

passing through the Casa dos Ventos. The next morning, along with Dani, Fabi and other activists from the region, we headed towards the recovery land. We spent the day, listening to some of their stories. It was at the prayer house that the leadership asked us to do our work and it was so. A shared joy! In the end, every person in that prayer house made a speech of gratitude and farewell. An indigenous boy, as in a testimony, said that he found himself wondering how long he have not laughed that way, and for a long time they have not laughed together either. Every talk came as a hug, a breeze that perpetuated that encounter. It was time to leave and we felt a certain tension in the air, due to the confetti that colored the ground of red earth. Some people had already told us that we could not leave the confetti on the floor of the prayer house. So we knew that was the time to pick up the trail of our passage. When we started cleaning the confetti, the leadership of the tribe (Dani’s father) instantly demanded that we shall leave them there as an “inheritance” of joy. In recent years, we have visited 14 villages and indigenous recovery lands. Wherever we passed, we left laughter and joy as a means of supporting the processes of struggle and resistance. In the suitcase, we brought eternalized memories: candlelight dinners in canvas huts; nights of stories, dances and songs; meals on shared platters; medicines that still work

in our dreams. We lived many years each day. Sacred dances. Guarani Pray. Kaiowá Pray. Terena Waters. Toré (music) Kariri-Xocó. Sacred woods. Smell of urucum. Traits of Jenipapo. Necklaces. Maracas. Cocares. Pawi. Fire. And after all, how to get home? How to follow creation processes? How to deal with the sense of “insignificance” in facing life and artistic work? How can we not allow the ordinary everyday life let us forget the different “worlds” that we crossed and pass through us? How not to fight? How to be a woman? How to be a mother? How to be a clown woman? How to be a warrior of art and love? We are no longer the same and we do not even want to be. So it took a lot of work – scenes, interventions, encounters, and the creation of a new show – so Traço would continue to breathe. “Provisoriamente não cantaremos o amor” (We will not sing love provisionally). A song of love that was born from the gathering of all the lands that we brought under our feet, in the costumes, in the suitcases. It springs from a root like a cry, released by many voices3. It grows in a trunk that rips the sky, like a space to not forget. To overflow. To share. To water us as Cia. and flourish in art. And so, with our red noses we follow... painting the face to celebrate life and to fight for a world that does not stop turning.

1 Song that we learned together with the Kariri-Xocó People, Alagoas, Brazil. Our translation: Earth my body / Water my blood / Air thought / Fire my spirit. 2 Different peoples in a small territory, besieged and crowded, ignoring historical, political and cultural diversities. 3 A collective creation: Débora de Matos, Egon Seidler, Greice Miotell in the loving arrangement of Iván Prado, with the assistance of Gabriela Leite, the modeling of Ana Pi and Zilá Muniz, the glow of Dodô Giovanetti, the image of Diogo G. Andrade, the movement of Duran Sodré and the embrace of the family Sabuká Kariri-Xocó.

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



Black clowning:

representativeness and decolonization

Palhaça Curalina

Drica Santos1 PHOT o S

Chris Mayer


Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine

Since college I had an interest in the language of clownery. Later on I had the opportunity to work on the initiation of clowning with the Cia. Traço2, in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. A more in-depth contact emerged in July 2012 at the workshop Bota a palhaça pra fora (Put the clown out) by Karla Concá and Vera Ribeiro from the group As Maria da Graça3 at the women’s theater meeting Vértice Brasil 2012 – T(i)erra Firme. At that time, Storytelling already influenced my work as an actress. I glimpsed in the language of the clown the possibility of deepening my play with the audience; exercise the ability to seek in the scenic act the rapid response to unpredictability. After this contact with the work of As Marias da Graça, as a group of clown women, these became a significant reference in my path as an actress in search of my clown. So I wrote the project Bota a palhaça pra fora de vez (Put the clown out once and for all) that was contemplated by the Edital Bolsa Interações Estéticas – Residências artísticas em pontos de cultura 2012, FUNARTE. The project proposed the creation of a storytelling show in the language

of clowning through exchange with the Associação de Mulheres Palhaças As Marias da Graça. The proposal was to investigate scenic procedures of clownery that, along with my experience as an actress/ storyteller, could boost my insertion in the practices of woman clownery, in addition to creating a show of storytelling whose resources were minimal, from a material point of view, and based on the figure of the actress and her play, that is, from the discovery and meeting with my clown. When I began the process of researching for the “birth” of my clown, I noticed that the practice emerged in an intense way, a connection with my ancestry, my deepest emotions and feelings. At the time, I was in the transition phase of hair (release from the smoothed part and assumed my afro hair). And how much is said in the clowning world: the smallest mask in the world did not hide me, but it revealed me. And so my own gags emerged and a strong relationship with my hair started. The presence of my great aunts, my grandmother and my mother were visible in my solutions and improvisations on the scene. What

emerged objectively in my clown was operationalized by the subjectivity of my black body. After I had created I realized what was happening to me. The name itself: Curalina came from a dream I had during the creative process. I dreamed about my great aunt Durvalina (sister of my grandmother), who died in 2004, I had a strong connection with her since I was a child and I felt that the name of my clown should be this or else it should relate to her. When I returned to the rehearsal room, they asked me to share a comic childhood fact; and so a link with a familiar childhood nickname related to this comic fact of my life arose. It was then that when I returned to the rehearsal I approached my teacher and director Karla Concá and announced with excitement my name: Curalina. There was a recognition from the director and everyone present that this was really my name as a clown; it was unanimous the sense of fairness, for I had tried other names that seemed not to fit. The choice of my garments also carried an ancestral attribute; it had to do with the dresses of my great aunts, as well as the interest in “oldy things and people” (as my clown used to say), including the manner of speaking and the words that I used during improvisations, those were words that they used to say. And the relation with the comb was another strong attribute of the comic figure that emerged. My grandmother and her sisters used to wear combs on their heads, or with the so-called hot iron and vaseline, much used to straighten

their hairs in the past; it was a significant memory that crossed my creative process. The combs became an essential object that my clown carried. All the action of the spectacle was revolving around the relationship with the combs and my hair. And the question that accompanied me was how could I transposed that to give me strength in the scene, how to reconfigure what was oppressor (hot iron comb, or “comb combing me”) for a potentiation of my comic figure. I think Curalina is the “shadow” that accompanies me; I feel how much it potentiates my voice, in the broadest sense of the word; the voice of an actress who believes in the theater and what it can do for us, the voice of Drica, woman, who allows herself to revisit her body, the voice of black Drica who rediscute the term “Afro” inscribed in what she is; finally the range of voices that constitute us as “living beings”. As I said, in the clowning universe we listen a lot that working on Clown’s procedures is to undress, that the nose is a mask that reveals and does not hide. In fact, working the clown for me was and is that. Curalina is this naked being of myself. There is a question that arose, in November 2016, regarding the ridiculous issue and the gags of my hair, at a table titled Debates sobre estéticas afro-brasileiras: experiências sobre a criação de narrativas na cena teatral brasileira (Debates on Afro-

1 Drica Santos – Clown Woman, Actress, Researcher and Teacher. She has a Doctor and a Master degree in Theater by PPGT/UDESC, also graduated in Art Education (Certified in Performing Arts) by UDESC. In her work as an actress there are references such as: Toni Edson, Guillermo Cacacce, Fátima Lima, Matteo Bonfitto, Tiche Vianna, Julia Varley, André Carreira, Eugenio Barba, Serge Ouaknine, Renato Ferracini, Norberto Presta, Grupo Piolin, Cia. Traço, Ivan Prado, Chaco Vacchi, Miguel Rubio Zapata, Jean Jacques Lemetre, Karla Concá [As Marias da Graça], Andrea Macera, Clara Lee, Nola Era, among others. In addition to managing her work as a clown and working as an independent production actress, she has currently collaborated with the (Em) Companhia de Mulheres – Coletivo de Pesquisa Teatral Feminista (Company of Women – Collective of Feminist Theatrical Research). Her poetic researches have the following axes: political negritude and poetics, acting frontiers in Storytelling, and she has recently combined the language of the clown with storytelling research. 2 The Traço Cia. De Teatro was founded in 2001, in the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. In its artistic trajectory, the clown technique is the main pedagogical resource of shaping, training and creation. Along with this technique, investigations of the street theater and the popular comic theater collaborate to the scenic research of the company. 3 With 26 years of work, and based in Rio de Janeiro, the Association of Women Clowns As Marias da Graça is set in a point of culture of strong reference in the cultural and theatrical context of the country. They are women who work the laughter and chose the art of clowning to express the feminine routine. They thus interfere, in the traditional view of this artistic universe. 4 Substitute Professor at the Department of Performing Arts at the State University of Santa Catarina (UDESC). She is a Master in Theater, with a dissertation defended on the Dramaturgia da Dança dos Orixás - prática artística de Augusto Omolú. PhD student in Theater by the Postgraduate Program in Theater PPGT-UDESC. Her research focuses on: Theater Theories and Practices, working on the following themes: dramaturgy, black theater, African identity and diaspora. <http: //>.

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Brazilian aesthetics: experiences on the creation of narratives in the Brazilian theater scene), an event of the initiative of Professor Julianna Rosa de Souza4 of the Department of Performing Arts of UDESC, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, with the Coletivo Nega5. It was a table of reflection on theater, blackness and resistance. The question was that if my relationship with my hair could not favor the ridicule of Afro hair, getting the opposite sense of identification, overcoming stereotypes and appreciation of black aesthetics. In general, at the time, when my clown and the show were conceived, I questioned how my relationship with my hair would be in different contexts; I was apprehensive, but, at the same time, it was/is part of me, the prospect of working with clownery is that it is impossible to deceive yourself; because it is necessary to go down deep in your own ridicule so that the beauty of the clown man/woman is made. Therefore, I recognized more and more my sad hate relationship with my hair. The movements that came up in rehearsals with the comb were often combing with anger and the memory of pain by combing my hair. Later, with the presentations I noticed I had to work this out with myself. Understanding and transforming the hate relationship and where it came from (relationships structured by racism). I knew it had to do with the non-acceptance of my own hair and it was very strong for the work with my clown, because this “non-acceptance” comes from the racist colonial logics that cross me; that is, I really needed to get rid of the fetters of values that say my hair is “bad hair”. With this

in mind, I realized the force that the social “agreements” carry out in our subjectivities and that there is an arduous work of recognizing and rebuilding amid the colonial mimic project that we are immersed and thus emancipate in fact, in the routine of theater and life; I see that clownery has been my strong ally in this issue. Currently, I see that what I establish with my hair is qualitatively different. I used to start the spectacle as if my hair bothered me to tell the story because it fell in front of my eyes and also because it was hard to comb and nowadays the initial gag is that my Black Power gives me strength of concentration to tell the story and the combs are my allies and my gifts from my ancestors (from my grandmother, from my great aunt, etc.). Of course it is part of a wave of struggle for the aesthetics of Afro hair that has been coined lately. Many people debate it for fear that it is for mere fashion. In any case, I consider very pertinent this appreciation of black aesthetics of the hair as a strong element of strengthening our subjectivities as blacks and of identity reconstruction. I am still trying to reflect on how far the Curalina figure reinforces or values stereotypes. What is the difference between ridicule and mockery in the comic and clownery universe? I realize that from my experience with storytelling and the conception of my clown I envision a rich path of self-liberation from the damage that the racist logics, that inhabited and still inhabit me, do with my black identities. The relationship of the clown Curalina and her hair became a symbol of this emancipation, being part of one of the paths of struggle that has been coined lately by researchers, as Professor Nilma Lino

Gomes (2008)6, for whom the hair is not only seen as part of the individual and biological body, but above all, as a social body and language; as a vehicle of expression and symbol of cultural resistance. Nilma Lino Gomes (2008) affirms that based on her study in which she analyzed the action and the activities developed in the ethnic salons of Belo Horizonte from the manipulation of curly hair, based on the hairstyles of African ethnic origin, recreated and reinterpreted, as forms of aesthetic expression and black identity. The author (GOMES, 2008) states that awareness of the positive possibilities of her hair offers a remarkable contribution to the process of black body rehabilitation and to the reversion of the negative representations present in the imaginary inherited from a racist culture. In this way, the work with Curalina came and has come developing a poetic path that marks the passage from the negative sense of mockery to the positive sense of ridicule, that is, Afro hair seen as “bad” and pejoratively where the vision of beautiful is the standard of white beauty, for a view of non-standard as the true beauty of itself, where social structures are questioned, where a revolutionary praxis of blackness can be concretized poetically. Therefore, I have been building a space of construction of my autonomy as negratriz7 (blactress) ; and I am currently strengthening this space for reflection within the universe of female clownery. Seeking to decolonize thoughts and attitudes in bodies and contexts, and bringing the importance of black representation for clownery, as well.

The Coletivo Nega (Negras Experimentações Grupo de Artes / Black Experiments Arts Group), the only group of Black Theater in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Its existence and actions extrapolate, however, the theatrical scope and they are amplified in the cultural construction of the black art in Santa Catarina. To accomplish this construction, actors and actresses (now composed only of young black women, the group has already integrated male artists throughout its seven years of existence) of the Coletivo Nega are formed to develop an intimate dialogue with the society in Santa Catarina on topics of interest of the state’s black population. The Coletivo Nega was created seven years ago from an extension project created by Professor Dr Fátima Costa de Lima at the State University of Santa Catarina (UDESC), seeking to fill the lack of representation for the black population in the theater field. Influenced by the TEN (Teatro Experimental do Negro / Black Experimental Theater) founded by Abdias Nascimento 68 years ago, in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, with the support of the extension project, but independent of professors, the group works with the management and collective creation with Rita R.I., Fernanda Rachel, Thuanny Paes, Michele Mafra, Franco and Sarah Motta and aims to value the theatrical productions of black artists, with emphasis on black women. Source: <>. 6 GOMES, Nilma L. Sem perder a raiz: Corpo e cabelo como símbolos da identidade negra. Minas Gerais: Autêntica, 2008. 7 The neologism created here is coined as a metaphor to express my inevitably specificity as a black actress who reflects on her own work in theater and clowning. More information see: SANTOS, Adriana Patricia. Dos guetos que habito: negritudes em procedimentos poéticos cênicos. Tese (Doutorado) PPGT-UDESC, Florianópolis, 2017. 5


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Diverse, but not sparse

Female Clowning

Self-poetic and Wanderings Manuela Castelo Branco de Oliveira Cardoso1 PHo t o s

Randal Andrade 18

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This article reflects on nomadism, tradition, itinerancy and wandering to talk about the challenges and provocations in being a clown woman in the Brazilian context, which is a context historically carried out by men, but that is undergoing sensible changes. Ermínia Silva, one of the most important and respected memorialists of the Brazilian circus, together with Luis Carlos de Abreu, in many of her books, try to recover some of these stories from circuses and circus families in Brazil, also reflecting on the circus while spectacle, tradition and renewal, as well as investigating how such knowledge was, were, is passed on from parents to children, or daughters. Or not. In 2010, Ermínia came to the festival2 that I organize in Brasília, to launch Respeitável Público... O Circo em Cena (2009). In this book, according to the authors:

Manuela has been a clown and researcher in clowning since 1998. Since 2008 she has been a teacher at the Escola de Música de Brasília, DF, working the Opera Studio discipline, where she directs opera performances. She is the creator of CiRcA Brasilina, the first women’s ring in Brazil. 1

2 Ermínia was our special guest for the program Palhaças Em Tese (Clowns in Thesis), which is one of the activities that integrates the festival that I have organized in Brasilia since 2008, called the Encontro de Palhaças de Brasília, which from 2016 onwards became known as the Festival Palhaças do Mundo.

Ermínia is the daughter of “Seu Barry”, artist and circus businessman, Barry Charles Silva (19312012), third generation of two important circus families in Brazil: Wassilnovich (current Silva) and Riego 3

4 ‘Family-circus’ binomial used to designate the Brazilian traditional circus, since it was eminently composed of foreign families in Tupiniquin lands.

For a part of circus researchers and memorialists, Englishman Philip Astley, a retired cavalry sergeant who, since 1768, had performed with his company on equestrian events, was responsible for the “creation” of a circular lane and creator of a new spectacle. The composition of the physical and architectural space, where the presentations took place, was around a dirt track surrounded by wooden protection, in which overlapping small grandstands, similar to cabins, covered with wood, as were most of the fair stalls of that period, coupled with small sheds. The rest of the enclosure was formed by bleachers or galleries, very close to the runway. [...] At first, it made only equestrian presentations, altered later with the introduction of numbers of artists - generically denominated of acrobats (saltimbancos) by appearing in the streets, squares and fair theaters, but also there were artists of the closed Italian theaters, Elizabethan theaters, arenas, horse racing track, gypsies, jugglers, puppeteers, dancers, singers, musicians, heirs of the commedia dell’arte, acrobats (solo and air), comedians in general - who presented themselves in the between acts, with the purpose of printing rhythm to the presentations and giving a different entertainment to the public. They also performed in pantomimes, in comic equestrian scenes. Later, these pantomimes will be presented in the circuses, being denominated of pantomimes circenses. This redefinition of the presentation of these traveling artists is considered the basis of the modern circus. In 1779, Astley began building a permanent, wooden, covered site, the Royal Astley Arts Amphitheater, which opened in 1782. That same year, a former Astley artist, Charles Hughes, set up another company, set up at close range of Astley’s amphitheater. For the first time appeared the name of “circus” in the modern world, the Royal Circus (our translation) (SILVA & ABREU, 2009, p. 46-47).

And it keeps going: Thus Astley’s “recreated” model of spectacle united the basic opposites of theatricality, the comic and the dramatic; associated the theatrical representation, dance, music, dolls, magic, pantomime and the clown with the acrobatics of solo and air with or without apparatuses, the balance, the equestrian tests and the training of animals in the same space. This is the basis of the circus that has migrated to different countries, organizing different circuses, marking established singular relationships with the specific cultural and social realities of each region or country. The oral transmission of knowledge and the union of basic points of theatricality and corporal dexterity are also part of the history of the formation of what is called “circus dynasties” (our translation) (SILVA & ABREU, 2009: 47).

Ermínia Silva is heiress of one of these dynasties3, is heiress of this circus tradition, although she does not appear in the ring. In the same way, we, clown women, are also heirs to this context, and to that tradition, and we are living a particularly complex and sensitive moment in relation to the sexual and social division of labor, the social and symbolic oppression of patriarchy. Therefore, I want to believe that the researchers in the passages just presented did not expand these gender issues because they were being universalistic when dealing with the gender of the artists who made up these companies of saltimbancos. From where I can imagine that there were women in that context. But in what roles, and performing what skills? I imagine gypsies, jugglers, puppeteers, dancers, singers, musicians, heiress actresses of the commedia dell’arte, acrobats and comics in general. For the researchers, the Brazilian traditional circus, or the ‘family-circus’ , was able to incorporate very well the notion of ‘family tradition’ in the process of socialization, formation and learning of the circus knowledge and actions in front of the knowledge and doings ‘outside’ the canvas (SILVA & ABREU, 2009). In this regard, circus women had a very different life from women ‘outside’ the canvas. They were women of nomadic and spectacular life. Although

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much has been said about an oral tradition, or rather, about a process of revitalisation of knowledge and acts by orality, it did not imply that circuses were illiterate or uneducated. In its immense majority and for a long period, the teaching of language was internally carried out inside the circus, and above all, due to the nomadism that distinguished them from other professions, and different forms of social and family organization. It was only in mid-1948 that primary school enrollment for circus children in public or private schools in Brazil was established (SILVA & ABREU, 2009). In this context, in the circus life the issues of nomadism and spectacularity arose as two important principles of the whole family and professional life of these groups. Nomadism in the circus brought a series of small revolutions in their way of making and living the art they produced. It has constantly been, and is rightly updated also by the nomadic, changeable character they have assumed since before Astley or Hughes. I see in this nomadism, as a practice of roaming, the essential characteristic of the porosity that made the circus always update itself. A permeability that occurred in several directions, but which, in terms of gender, had its delicacies in relation to the clowning. Likewise, the spectacularity has certainly brought to circus women ‘behavioral and symbolic exceptions’ in relation to the social rules normally directed at women on ‘outside’ the canvas. Spectacularity, understanding it as a basic necessity of the professional life of these women also guaranteed their stay in the ring. But which part of the spectacle are they going to star in? And what does this spectacularity, or the understanding of what is spectacular in a woman, contribute to the continuity of the circus tradition, which in a way, regulated activities for women promoting a clear gender division of labor? It is not about coming here and judging the past. You can not judge time. But it was in this counterpoint between the solid (tradition) and the liquid (experimentation, adaptability, mutability) that clown women “exploded”. Neither exactly solid nor exactly liquid. At first essentially wandering. Sparkling. Clown women escaped from the circus solidity and embarked on the fluidity of contemporary theater, the contemporary circus, and finally arose. Bringing to a discussion the ideas of philosophers such as Zygmunt Bauman (2001)5, and Marshall Berman (1992)6, who, when looking at modernity, found a spirit of disintegration, rupture, speed and liquidity; we bring to the discussion José Sterza Justo, a contemporary researcher who supported by these authors, looks at the wanderers, the maverick, the truck drivers, for more than 20 years, and for whom: The metaphor of air or gaseous state may be more appropriate to characterize the volatility of the present world, the abolition of time and space. Despite the greater malleability of the liquid to the solid, the gaseous state is much more than nomadic, it is erratic. The liquid remains in any way subjected to gravity, to a settlement with a river imprisoned to its bed or the seas contained between the continents. The gaseous state dilutes the liquid itself, evaporates the water, removing the gravitation that holds the earth, to a territory. It is true that liquids, such as gaseous ones, can be retained underground, but the property of expanding the gases is incomparably greater because they can fill any space, even including that of the atmosphere. (our translation) ( JUSTO, 2011, 32).

So every time I think about this ‘bursting’ of clown women I see ourselves in an erratic, luminous sense. But without much continuity. It comes and explodes. I wonder whether the female comedy – in addition to the clown women – is also recurring in a historically erratic way... Underground, and explosive like some gases. Thus, seeing us, seeing myself, at the eminence of the disintegration, of the ruin again, of the invisibility by the luminous dispersion, causes me deep uneasiness. Invoking the idea of ruin, I want to relate it definitively and poetically, aligning it with the thought of Maria Zambrano, Spanish thinker, essayist and philosopher, who says: What are the ruins? Something deteriorated, no doubt, somewhat collapsed. However, not every collapse is a ruin. In the perception of the ruins we feel something that is not, a guest that is gone: someone just left when we entered, something still floating in the air and something also remained. We would not dare to remain alone among the ruins, for everything would be inhabited, it would be inhabited not more by shadows, but something more indefinable. Why? Because the ruins are a category of history and allude to something very intimate


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of our life. They are the abasement of this action that defines man among all others: to build. Building, making history. That is, a double edification: architectural and historical. Architecture and history are solidary and in the background they were born with the same impetus and the same need (our translation) (ZAMBRANO, 2010, page 03).

And it follows: As you edify, try to fulfill your dreams. And under dreams, always encourages hope. The motor hope of history. And so, in the ruins, what we see and feel is a trapped hope, that when what we now see broken is intact perhaps it was not so present: it had not reached with its presence what it achieves with its absence. And this, that absence surpasses in intensity and strength the presence, it is the unmistakable sign that something has reached the category of “ruin” (our translation) (ZAMBRANO, 2010, page 03).

See more in: Modernidade Líquida. Baumann, Zygmunt. Ed. Zahar, 2001.


See more in: Tudo que é Sólido se Desmancha no Ar. Bernan, Marshall. Companhia das Letras, 1992.


Because I feel totally inserted in it, in a female clownery.


Here are some Brazilian clown women festivals, with the respective states where they take place and years of creation: Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaças (2005, Rio de Janeiro), Encontro de Palhaças de Brasília – Festival Palhaças do Mundo (2008, Distrito Federal), PalhaçAria (2012, Pernambuco), Encontro Internacional de Palhaças de São Paulo (2014, São Paulo), Festival Palhaça na Praça (2015, Minas Gerais), Mostra Tua Graça Palhaça (2016, Rio Grande do Sul), Mostra de Arte e Comicidade Feminina (2017, Mato Grosso), Encontro de Palhaças de Belém (2017, Pará), Encontro de Palhaças e Circenses do Vale do Paraíba (2018, São Paulo), Encontro de Mulheres Palhaças do Amapá (2018, Amapá).


“Diverse, but not sparse” is the motto created from the 14º Encontro de Feminista Latinoamericano e do Caribe, held in Montevideo, in 2017.


Translator’s note: “rolê” is a Brazilian slang referring to a stroll, also to a meeting, which often is related to an event. 10

Female clowning has dialogued directly, historically, with this ‘present absence’ that goes beyond the time and presence of clowning, clowns, buffoons, storytellers, jugglers and court jester. In a ruin we know someone was there. We do not know exactly who, we do not know exactly when. But we know someone was there before us. And we awoke, eventually, to the hope of a meeting. From this comes a stifled sensation that the forerunners of our7 clowning are hidden, buried, invisible by time and by the patriarchal system of Western history, which has kept us scattered, wandering, silenced, or underground. So, perhaps, so often, we feel that female clownery still seems to be an authorship, self-poetic phenomenon, made by women who wander among the ruins of traditional clowning. Not saying that the traditional clowning is in ruins, or is a ruin itself, but for clown women like me, who travel for feminine references, the feeling of ruin is frequent. Eventually, we see the ruin, we perceive the ruin. A more critical-feminist look at this more solid, historical, traditional clowning makes us perceive female comedy as a somewhat spectral entity. Beyond the sense of ruin, there is a dimension of wandering, what makes us feel lost on the journey, in doubt as to whether or not we should follow the trajectory made by clown men, the comedy made by clown men, the dramaturgy done by clown men, the technique developed by clown men, the masks or types developed by clown men. Anyway... Moreover, in recent years, and I believe that much due to the agglutination movement that clown women’s festivals have provoked, and that still are presente everywhere in Brazil8, I envision that now we are finally starting to run liquid, and not more eminently erratic. As in condensation, where gaseous becomes liquid. However, wandering exists, persists, has been and is necessary. Diverse, but not sparse9. In condensation and intimate communication. That will be the difference. We set ourselves in moviment... and now in a collective movement, that I can start calling ‘rolê’10, the ‘clown women rolê’. At the root of this liquefied re-agglutination, for me, is the strengthening of feminism in the world. In my view, there will be no way out without the analyzes, the lessons, the ideas, and even the logic of feminist confrontation, which is artivism, for female clowning. We began to see each other and ourselves as a group. Recognizing ourselves as individuals, and, I want to believe, recognizing ourselves as collective. Would you come with us?

REFERENCES JUSTO, José Sterza. Andarilhos e Trecheiros: errância e nomadismo na contemporaneidade. Maringá, EDUEM, 2011 BAUMANN, Zygmunt. Modernidade Líquida. Rio de Janeiro, Ed. Zahar, 2001. BERNAN, Marshall. Tudo que é Sólido se Desmancha no Ar. São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 1992. SILVA, Ermínia& ABREU, Luís Alberto de. Respeitável Público... O Circo em Cena. Rio de Janeiro: FUNARTE, 2009. ZAMBRANO, María. Uma metáfora da esperança: as ruínas. Desterro: Sopro, n. 37, Cultura e Barbárie, out./2010. Disponível em: < arquivo/zambrano.html>.

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Reflections on

Barrica poráguaabaixo show by Michelle Silveira

Jennifer Jacomini de Jesus F ot os

Photos Palhaça Barrica: Renato Teixeira, Piti Tomé and personal archive Photo Jennifer: Drica Santos


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Emphasizing the relevance of this magazine for the establishment of discussions, reflections and exchange of experiences on the craft of female clowns and recognizing it as an important space for registration, training and dissemination, I share the excerpt from an academic research conducted by me between 2014 and 2015 which had as object of investigation the spectacle Barrica poráguaabaixo, created by the organizer of this publication, Michelle Silveira da Silva, the clown Barrica. I hope to bring the practices of female clowns together, to foster communication networks and thus to contribute to the expansion and strengthening of the references on female comics. Born in São Sepé, a countryside town in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Michelle is an actress, director and teacher, bachelor in Interpretation (2003) and Theater Direction (2004) by the Federal University of Santa Maria. She is currently working on the Doutor Risonhos hospital clown project, teaches theater and clownwork at the Cultural Foundation of Chapecó, in Santa Catarina, and publishes a blog with the same name for the magazine Feminine Clown. To provoke reflection from laughter is certainly one of the challenges to clowns. As an artist who reveals the reverse of things, the ridicule of human existence and the absurdity of situations, it is essential that the clown can stand in the face of social realities, which implies certain creative choices. These are some points that I want to reflect on from Michelle’s show.

Jennifer Jacomini is an art educator, actress, clown and researcher. Technician (2008), Bachelor’s degree (2010) and Graduated (2012) in Theater by UFMG, Master (2016) and PhD in Theater by UDESC with research on the ONG Palhaços Sem Fronteiras (NGO Clowns Without Borders). She graduated in 2015 from the Escola de Palhaços do Circo da Dona Bilica (Dona Bilica Circus Clown School) in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. She studied clownery with Ramon Merlo, Caroline Dream, Nola Rae, Ju Balsa, Márcio Douglas, Elena Donzel, Neto Donegá, Silvia Leblon, Adriana Morales, Cláudia Sachs, Naomi Silman, Michelle Silveira, Rodrigo Robleño, Gardi Hutter, Pepe Nuñez, Fernando Cavarozzi, Esio Magalhães, Ricardo Puccetti, João Carlos Artigos, Richard Riguetti, Teófanes Silveira, Iván Prado, Lila Monti, Amir Haddad, Fernando Escrich, Alice Viveiros de Castro, Cristiano Pena and Evandro Heringer.

Perhaps the main difficulty experienced by the clowns is to discover the laughable aspects of the feminine universe, which in a way contributes to reinforce the false impression that this is an exclusively male trade. About this aspect, Michelle argues that the insertion of women into the clownery is a recent phenomenon, and therefore, these artists still lack references, qualification, preparation and training. She argues that “às vezes, alguns homens acham que as mulheres não são capazes” (sometimes, some men feel that women are not capable) (SILVA, 2014) and argues that overcoming this prejudice requires time and practice, since clowning is a profession of constant learning. The Italian Franca Rame, actress, playwright and feminist activist, who credits comedy and laughter with a social function, in defending an authentically feminine comic creation, comments that the process of initiation of women in the clownery usually castrates femininity through constructions which use masculine references for the construction of clothing, voice and corporeality (RAME, 2004). Michelle says that she also went through the experience of creating a masculine archetype at the beginning of her clowning career. This influence arose from the characterization of his character, wearing a jacket and a wig. According to her “era uma figura meio andrógina. (...) chamava Messiê Barrica, era meio homem, meio mulher, não tinha muito essa diferenciação” (she was a half-androgynous figure. (...) called Messiê Barrica, was half man, half woman, did not have much differentiation). The actress identifies that it was from the change in costume, in the outfit of a swimsuit, that she began to explore more feminine aspects of her clown. Although she identifies some differences in themes in the creation of male and female clowning, she realizes similarities in language. According to her: “o que é principal e que liga os dois é que eles são um reflexo da humanidade, são o espelho da humanidade. E isso cabe tanto ao homem quanto à mulher, já que ambos são seres humanos.” (What is main and what binds the two is that they are a reflection of humanity, they are the mirror of humanity. And that fits both the man and the woman, since both are human beings) (SILVA, 2014). Although the principles underlying the practices of both clown men and clown women are the same, I emphasize the importance of the political space that differences provide and reaffirm the impossibility of alienating these issues. Not bringing this discussion to the scene is also contributing to the maintenance of the invisibility of historically disadvantaged groups. However, caution is needed with definitions that preclude flow, permeability between fields and political and cultural intersections. It is worth reminding that the seek for equality presupposes a need for visibility

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and a guarantee of spaces of power that are not only limited to the artistic, but also present in the reconfigurations of the family nucleus, in the professional insertion, in the conception of the couple, in the re-signification of the social roles, at last, in all fields where there is presence – or search for the presence – of the woman. In Michelle’s case, she found, through clownery, freedom to express herself, as the actress herself acknowledges: “A palhaça Barrica é minha caricatura: física, de pensamento e de sentimento. Tudo em mim levado ao extremo. A Barrica é a boba da corte, a louca, e muitas vezes fala pela Michelle aquilo que o sistema não permite a ela que fale, ou a reprime. Mas como Barrica é boba, pode falar tudo e as pessoas ainda acham graça” (Barrica clown is my caricature: physical, thinking and feeling. Everything in me taken to the extreme. Barrica is the court jester, the crazy, and often speaks for Michelle what the system does not allow her to speak, or represses. But as Barrica is silly, she can say everything and people still find grace) (SILVA apud ZANOTELLI, 2009). It was through this consent that, from a critical slant, the actress transformed into creative materiality for the clown her own situation of exclusion, questioning the idealized beauty standards imposed on women in society. On this issue she comments: “Eu aceito aquilo que eu sou e eu exponho aquilo que eu sou. Isso é um ato político, porque muitas pessoas não se aceitam como são e sofrem com isso.” (I accept what I am and I expose what I am. This is a political act because many people do not accept themselves as they are and suffer from it.) (SILVA, 2014). The play Barrica poráguaabaixo premiered in 2009 and was built from a short scene, based on the actress’s own physical, psychological and behavioral characteristics, interacting with the audience and playing with the stage objects. In the show, Michelle uses strategies and features that disrupt stereotypes of the feminine and demonstrates that women, as well as men, can also play with sexual, grotesque and eschatological themes, and elicit laughter from it, exploiting cliché of femininity, breaking paradigms and revealing defects. I can mention as an example a scene from the show in which she appears with a flying fabric, improvise a belly dance choreography and then, when the public expects the performance of an excellent dancer, Barrica confesses to have participated only in a first class. At another scene, she appears with a bouquet of flowers with which she dusts her armpits and sex, implying that she is excessively stinky and leads the performance to the grotesque from the exaggeration, causing a comic emphasis. There are other times when eschatology is approached, such as when the clown puts on her shoes and complains of the odor exhaled by her shoes: “It does not bathe!” or when she confers her own breath, before greeting an audience participant. Michelle explains that her physical appearance was for some time a cause of suffering and that directly interfered in the construction of her clown: “Meu clown nasceu chorando. Nosso nascimento se dava dentro de um processo de iniciação bem delicado. Iríamos usar a máscara, o nariz, e para usar a máscara é preciso um ritual de iniciação a ela, e pra mim foi dolorido. Eu não sabia lidar com o meu ridículo, isso me doía e quando tive que colocar uma roupa que evidenciava minha grande barriga gorda, comecei a chorar” (My clown was born crying. Our birth took place in a very delicate process of initiation. We would use the mask, the nose, and to use the mask it takes a ritual of initiation to it, and for me it was painful. I did not know how to handle my ridicule, it hurt me and when I had to put on a suit that showed my big fat belly, I started to cry) (SILVA apud ZANOTELLI, 2009). Michelle’s attitude of using her corpulence as a creative tool in the context of a prejudiced society was a choice that, as she relates, originated from the perception of the activist dimension that this act could represent: “Eu fui fazer um evento e teve um momento em que eu fui desfilar e eu tirei o meu casaco e fiquei com a barriga de fora. E a mulherada ficou louca: “Êêêê!!!”, gritava e aplaudia. E, naquele momento, eu percebi que expor a minha condição física, de ser gorda, era uma coisa política, entende? No sentido de que existem muitas gordas e que elas não se aceitam e que sofrem, porque existe muito preconceito, existem dificuldades, existe um padrão que nos aprisiona. Aquilo que se projeta, o que a propaganda projeta, o que a mulher tem que ser. Se ela 24

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não for, ela não é uma mulher ideal. E toda mulher quer ser uma mulher ideal. Toda pessoa quer ser a pessoa ideal, né?” (“I went to do an event and there was a moment when I paraded on the catwalk and I took off my coat and I got the belly out. And the women got mad: “That’s it!” They shouted and applauded. And at that moment, I realized that exposing my physical condition, being fat, was a political thing, you know? In the sense that there are many fat women and they do not accept themselves and they suffer because there is a lot of prejudice, there are difficulties, there is a pattern that imprisons us. What is projected, what the advertisement projects, what the woman has to be. If she is not so, she is not an ideal woman. And every woman wants to be an ideal woman. Every person wants to be the ideal person, right?) (SILVA, 2014). Michelle attributes a political character to the office of clowning in the sense of the possibility of exploring her own limits, starting with self-acceptance and exposure of her own vulnerabilities. According to her: “você assumir a sua humanidade, a sua ignorância, a sua fragilidade. Você não quer esconder algo. Poder mostrar, expor e aceitar. Isso pra mim já tem uma conotação muito importante, enquanto a gente vive em uma sociedade que tenta esconder, mascarar, em que você tem que ser o melhor, em que você tem que ter êxito.” (you (have to) assume your humanity, your ignorance, your fragility. You don’t want to hide something. (You have) To be able to show, expose and accept. This for me already has a very important connotation, as long as we live in a society that tries to hide, to mask, in which you have to be the best, in which you have to succeed.) (SILVA, 2014). In her show, the artist approaches, satirically, the social behavior of the difficulty of accepting obesity, which generates hostility and prejudice towards fat individuals. The clown does so in an irreverent, amusing and sarcastic way, maximizing situations experienced by Michelle because of her plump form to a degree so high that makes it absurd and comical. Through the exaggeration of events commonly experienced by fat people, she constructs a series of funny scenes, such as: difficulty getting up from the floor due to her own weight, getting stuck in a float or stuck in a garment, frustrated attempts at weight loss, tachycardia due to the practice of physical exercises, pouring water out of a plastic swimming pool when bathing in it. From these small occurrences, the artist explores the laughable, taking advantage of each situation and showing their ridicule. Michelle’s appropriation of her own body causes her femininity not to be given to objectification; instead, it becomes a form of resistance to her, and serves as a tool of criticism. The actress transforms the eroticization and excessive idealization of the woman’s body into a laughing matter, and thus criticizes and deconstructs patterns, revealing their incoherence. By focusing on obesity, by laughing and mocking her own inadequacy to socially valued aesthetic standards, Michelle is rightly enhancing a concern and criticizing intolerance, lack of acceptance and rejection of fat people. She finds an effective alternative to bringing up a social issue that needs to be considered and discussed. I therefore recognize in her creative action a collaboration in fomenting the debate and stimulating changes in attitude towards the recognition and appreciation of women in welcoming differences through empathy and amusement. REFERENCES

RAME, Franca. A mulher-palhaço, a bufa, a jogralesa. In: FO, Dario. Manual mínimo do ator. Tradução: Lucas Baldovino e Carlos David Szlak. 3ª edição São Paulo: Editora Senac São Paulo, 2004, p. 341-361. SILVA, Michelle Silveira da. Entrevista concedida a Jennifer Jacomini. Florianópolis, 14 de setembro de 2014. Arquivo .mp3 (77 min.). ZANOTELLI, Juliano. Um amor de clown. Chapecó: 19 de outubro de 2009. Disponível em: <>. Acesso: 29 de dezembro de 2015. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine




feminine, feminist, ritualistic, political, and wild perspective Felícia de Castro PHotos

Dayse Cardoso e Nti Uirá


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Felícia de Castro is a mother, actress, clown, creator and researcher of ritual-art, of songs, dances and imaginaries of Brazilian cultures, and of personal clownery aligned with the ritualities of the feminine. Master in Performing Arts from the Federal University of Bahia. She started in the art of clowning in 1999 by Lume Teatro. The clownery revolutionized her career as an actress, opening investigations into acting, and generating various collective movements in Salvador. Currently she has in her repertoire the shows Rosário e Jardim, and two solos in the process of creation. She wrote Ventos que Animam a Terra Voz e Criação na Trajetória do espetáculo Rosário in which she reflects her artistic practice and the ten years of creation of the solo show Rosário e Jardim. The work was her dissertation of master degree in the Program of Post-Graduation in Arts at Federal University of Bahia. She created in 2008 the course Palhaças, bem-vindas sois vós – O Riso que Habita O Ventre da Terra, for practical study of female comedy. For 18 years she has taught courses and assistance on clowning, creation, physical theater and voice, based on personal practice. Her work focuses on the creation and artistic research, and the development of creator artists, bringing the characteristic of being processes of creative autonomy, selfinvestigation and overcoming limits. 1 The group Palhaços para Sempre was created in 2000 by me, Demian Reis, Flavia Marco Antonio, João Lima and João Porto Dias, to research the art of the clown and the art of the actor. 2 The word in italics are terms used or created in the group Vivência Palhaças, Bem Vindas Sois Vós.

I recently received a letter from a participant of the Vivência Palhaças, BemVindas Sois Vós, a women’s circle turned since 2009: “[...]When I heard/hear you talking about your trajectory, I feel that I enter the time of the harvest of a growing that was taken care of with a lot of zeal and wholeness and the fruit reveals it. The harvest, in the times of my grandparents, it was also a distribution. You distribute fruits and sow in the workshops. I left work full of seeds. Seedies in the soul, in the heart, in the eyes, in the skin, in the feet, in the breath, in the hand with time, with the tasks and with the joy. Maybe you have the dimension of it. Perhaps, most likely, you have not...[...]”. No, I really do not have a dimension. There are many testimonials and so many returns of reverberations in life after the Vivência that is immeasurable the dimension of experiences. I reckon that the clowning is something great and in my own life was a watershed. So it is with a lot of respect for the women and the dimensions that guide us and make the work happen that I will try to share a little of what has happened. From my personal search as a woman, an autonomous and creative artist, and from my development for eighteen years as a clown woman, experiencing very diverse, artistic, cultural, therapeutic and spiritual experiences, I began to gather women’s circles. Initially only acting clown women, but soon the work became wider and necessary and we were expanding the circle to all women. This Vivência (experience) has been weaving as a sharing of what I have been walking, seeking, falling in love. The strength of this work comes from what I developed in training alone and in the group Palhaços Para Sempre1, from my initiation of clown in the VIII Retiro de Iniciação ao Palhaço (Initiation Retreat to the Clown) and the Sentido Cômico do Corpo (Comic Sense of the Body), in 1999, with Ricardo Puccetti and Carlos Simioni, and from the courses I took with Lume Teatro after the Retreat, and from what has been added of experiences and personal imaginaries. I deeply honor this source with respect and (ir)reverence, always seeking and trying to inspire autonomy in research and creation, how we have been taught, and how clownwork teaches. Each one is the creator of her life and her art, and yet she is her own healer. As a result of this trajectory, a central dynamic that I have been researching for years and I continue to share, are the Caretas2 (Grimaces), an experience that was born in my body touched by the Butoh, by the clowning and the coexistence with the “Mateus”, clowns of the Reisado de Congo do Cariri Cearense (Congo Reisado of the Cariri of Ceará). This exercise opens doors and windows in the body, it has the vital importance of turning our viscerality, and leads me to enter the tragicomic aspect of all things and the fine line between these two dimensions. I have loved this research. And what we do is seek all this in the body that reveals so many depths. Along with these practices, Brazilian dances lead us, inspire, open... And we find strangers, beings, bodies, dances, voices, cries, songs, figures. Powerful creation path for clown women. Every meeting with women is a revelation of incredible worlds that were buried. All of us, unfortunately and inevitably, bring the wounds and bruises of violence, oppression and sexual domestication. Our body was the first territory to be colonized. We also bring, some more, some less, painful scars from the massacre against childhood. Guilt, shame, and lack of awareness of Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


what actually harms us leads to psychic self-destruction. Our political act is the courage to face our depths, decolonize this body and be who we are at its maximum power. Subverting the order. Thus, I look at female clownery and I wonder what is the role of our bodies and ourselves as women in our political, artistic and spiritual practices. One of the exercises of the Retreat that I emphasize, and that is also key for me to this day, is the Dance of Emotions, which is to perceive the sensations/ emotions in the body and to “be danced”3 by them, in recognition that our muscles are moved by sensations/emotions. This “be moved” by the flows of emotions in the body generates personal actions and a very deep contact with ourselves. The emotions accessed in the musculature are portals for many memories, information and new sensations and it is a challenge for the oppressed bodies. Breathing and getting in touch with your own emotions is revolutionary, healing and freeing. And the clownery is in essence breathing and dancing of emotions. So this is what happens in the Vivência Palhaças, Bem-Vindas Sois Vós. Well, what is our role as clown women? Get these inner feminine worlds to surface. This circle of feminine clownery challenges, with a great laugh that comes from our vulva, this patriarchal, macho, capitalist, inhuman and racist system. In this way, the creation, as overflowing as it is female, asserts itself, and in this affirmation we sharpen our art and move toward some cures. We have risen Goddesses of Laughter, we have risen from the wild underground of our natures, from under the earth, We are the dirty goddesses4. This is the sacred clown woman that I have sought in me. One of the great discoveries created in this course was the dynamics developed with the clay promoting a deep contact with our mother. It is to be blessed by the earth in a rite that connects us to our womb and to give birth to our dirty goddess clown women with a “make-up” of mud, releasing the oppressed and standardized woman. The contact with this element has a great reverberation in ourselves. Following the path of finding ourselves in terms of the classical types of Western clownery, the Jester, the Auguste and the White clown, this Journey, dug the body’s innards, our grotesque, til touching our deep purity and powerful vulnerability. We meet the ancestral comic woman who inhabits us and she brings us into contact with our magical child. In the longest courses we work the access to the White clown starting from the archetype of the woman warrior. All this happens from the humor that part of the body and the stimulation of strong sensory states. The contact with nature is paramount in Vivência and greatly enhances these states. The access to other states of consciousness brings the lucidity about our processes and powerful creativity. The spiritual here is present materially and concretely: we move energies, move bodies, create and give present meaning to our rites. The ritual-axis of the workshop is Baubo, the ancient goddess of the womb, and the concept of “sacred obscene”, stated by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in the already classic book Women who run with the wolves. Far from the current pejorative sense, it traces obscenity as an aspect of sacred sexuality and goodhumored sexual wisdom. There were goddesses of obscenity in the ancient matriarchal cultures and cults devoted to them were facing an irreverent female sexuality. Far from being derogatory, they devoted themselves to illustrating parts of the unconscious that are still mysterious and unknown today. The very word obscene in English comes from the ancient Hebrew ob meaning witch. Baubo is one of those goddesses whose history was buried and we found only a few fragments. She was not just a fertility goddess, as the male version of the facts framed. There is a savage remnant of Baubo in Greek mythology, in the story of Demeter, the earth-mother, who had 28

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gone into a deep depression for having lost her daughter. Persephone had been abducted by God Hades. The Earth Mother’s grief for not being able to find her daughter anywhere did everything she had created withering, drying, dying. And who made Demeter smile, laugh and helped her find her daughter back was Baubo, the little womb goddess which appeared dancing in a very funny and obscene way. A magical female, who had no head, her nipples were her eyes, and her vulva was her mouth. This mouth telling pungent jokes took Demeter from her sadness and the world returned to sprout. Anyone who imagines what this little mouth of Baubo told Demeter, tell me, because this story has deeply inspired my body and is now turning my first solo show as a clown, “Tudo o Que Você Precisa é Amor” (All You Need is Love). In the workshops, articulating laughter, sexuality, breathing and pleasure, which is the very expression of life in women, and I believe, a hidden secret of clowning, I was intuitively inspired by Baubo and stimulating, through the dynamics developed in this work, the contact with the comic ancestry that inhabits each of us. Through a lot of dancing, the psychic and physical dive in the grotesque dimension (which suggests a proximity to the earth), and ritualities of the feminine, we touched our clown. This is the way to do the Journey, in which we enter the Cave of Laughter, with the physical eyes initially closed, but with the eyes of the womb and ovaries open and in total state of perception, as the old sorcerers said about the great perceiving power of these organs, beyond reproduction. We are oracles, women! Joining women and clowning is of overwhelming power because both need a free body to happen and inevitably go for it. Because both want to happen, to explode, to transcend. Because both have the pleasure (the spontaneous, not what we have been taught5), as a guide and source of knowledge. When together, woman and clowning, one feeds and sets the other on fire, as in the circles of women who come together to take care and empower themselves. This is how we get stronger and trust our own perceptions again. We follow the sisterhood and immunity from laughter and irreverence that protects us, defies the order, and all forms of oppression. Welcome are you. Alive we want each other.

BIBLIOGRAFIA CIBELE. Oficinas de Ginecologia Política e Autônoma. Salvador Bahia, 2017/2018. ESTÉS, C. P. Mulheres que Correm com os Lobos: mitos e histórias do arquétipo da mulher selvagem. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1996. LORDE, Audre. Usos do Erótico: O Erótico como Poder. New York: The Crossing Press Feminist Series, 1984.

3 I absorbed the term “Ser dançada” (Be danced) in a course with master Butoh, Tadashi Endo, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2006. 4 Term brought by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in the book Women who run with the wolves, in which it calls attention to the understanding of the English word “dirt” as the meaning of soil, dust, earth, and not just the vulgar sense of filth that is has for us Brazilians.

This question of vital pleasure as a source of liberation and knowledge is brought in by Audre Lorde, a Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist. She described herself as Black, Lesbian, Feminist, also “Warrior” and “Mother”. She has written several essays on issues such as racism, feminism, sexuality. 5

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Women Clowns

Historical trails of women’s clownery in Brazil

Sarah Monteat dos Santos PHo t o s

Alícia Peres


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Graduated in Philosophy by the Federal University of Pernambuco, in 2009, Masters degree in Aesthetics and Scenic Poetics by the Paulista State University “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”, in 2014, with the dissertation “Women Clowns: Historical Path of Female Clowning in Brazil”, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Erminia Silva. Acting in the Theater of Mafalda in the organization of the International Meeting of Women Clowns of São Paulo.

During the course of Philosophy at UFPE, I noticed the importance of laughter in countless reflections throughout history, the plastic arts, the theater and the human sciences. However, despite its great presence in different fields such as mythology, philosophy, theater, literature, fine arts or even psychology, I realized that laughter had always been presented from the male point of view and male protagonism. Entering the texts of philosophy that encompass laughter, between Bergson and Hegel, I began to observe and develop interest in clown figure and began to deepen the readings in the history of the theater and the circus. In 2011, I decided to continue the search for laughter and clowns in the area of the performing arts. Where I found few records of the female presence in this art, especially in the circus environment and decided to focus the readings on this theme. During the research, started in 2012 at the Paulista State University “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” and guided by the professor Dr. Erminia Silva, I found out that despite women perform comedic roles such as caipiras, caricatures and clownesses (Silva, 2009), in the circus spectacle, when it comes to the clown, they had to present themselves under the men’s clothes of the character, keeping the secret of the city. To our surprise, this situation was not restricted to the Brazilian context, as the French researcher Tristan Rémy pointed out, citing a few female names in this art (1945). On the readings about the Brazilian context, Alice Viveiros de Castro cites as an example the performance of Elisa Alves, daughter of João Alves, owner of Circo Guarani (2005) who has long been acting as the clown Xamego. Caricature artist, Elisa Alves had to replace her brother, who was the clown of the circus, as long as she kept secrets about her genre. In spite of this performance, the great majority of the female presence found in the circus routine were called supporting performer or clownettes, considered by some circus artists, historians and researchers to be a “nothing comical” role (CASTRO, 2005, p.221); ( JUNQUEIRA, 2012, p. 48), whose function would be to “prepare the scene for the clown who, in the end, was funny”, as the circus artist Hudi Rocha states (SANTOS, 2014, p. 49). Thus, when we realized that the participation and the construction of women in this art began to change from the appearance of the circus schools in the 80s, we made the cut for the city of São Paulo, from the circus schools that emerged in this period. Then, we performed a survey of the women clowns, clowns, artists and trainers who started this art from these institutions. As the theme became more comprehensive, we delimited the number of interviews to be conducted and, with a questionnaire script to guide the interviews and about 15 names (between women and men, because we were interested in both sides of the story), we began the fieldwork to conduct the interviews. Every person interviewed, new discoveries enchanted us more and more, with the difficult task of limiting the time and having a welcoming conversation, seeking to return, increasingly, the focus on the pre-established script. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


Therefore, among artists and researchers, we came to the information that the movement of circus schools in Brazil emerged from the 1980s, and its main goal was to train a new generation of artists, since the children of circus artists started to be sent to the so-called “formal” teaching, in search of other professional paths, allowing many circus artists to pass on their knowledge to off-the-canvas artists. As an example of these initiatives, stand out the Piolin Academy of Circense Arts and Circus School Picadeiro set in São Paulo, in the 1980s. On the one hand, if some traditional circus artists did not welcome the presence of these institutions, on the other hand, some artists, even suffering retaliation from their relatives and friends, assumed the transmission of knowledge in these spaces, especially regarding the teaching the art of the clown (ROGER AVANZI, apud. La Mínima, 2012, p.17); ( JOSÉ WILSON, 2012, p.15). As a result of these initiatives, women have gained access to the teaching of this art, contributing to the emergence of new types and constructions of clowns, which are permeated by diverse reflections, especially the gender issues arising from the female conquests, as states the artist Juliana Gontijo. (SANTOS, 2014, p.28). In that way, we consider that, the opening of some circus artists for this new form of transmission of knowledge and the increasing access of women to the formation of clown, the emergence of several issues that currently reflect the search for diffusion and consolidation of Brazilian women’s clownery that now embraces a new space that encompasses genres, transgender and non-gender, allowing women who venture in this activity, not to be limited to the male reproduction of the character or to the so-called “female” universe. Women’s freedom to learn and transmit this art allowed them to live new themes and the possibility of introducing themselves and being recognized as women, artists and, above all, as clowns in this art.

REFERENCES AVANZI, Roger. La Mínima. In. La Mínima em cena: Registro de Repertório de 1997 a 2012. São Paulo: SESI-SP editora, 2012. Pgs. 17-19. CASTRO, Alice Viveiros de. O Elogio da Bobagem: Palhaços no Brasil e no mundo. Rio de Janeiro: Família Bastos, 2005. JUNQUEIRA, Mariana Rabelo. Da Graça ao Riso: contribuições de uma palhaça sobre a palhaçaria feminina. Dissertação (Mestrado). Defendida no departamento de Artes cênicas, UNIRIO, Rio de Janeiro. Orientador: Paulo Merísio, em 2012. LEITE, José Wilson. “La Mínima”. In. La Minima em cena: Registro de Repertório de 1997 a 2012. São Paulo: SESI-SP editora, 2012. RÉMY, Tristan. Les femmes-clowns et les femmes-augustes. In: Les Clowns. França: Editíons Grasset & Fasquelle. 1945. SANTOS, Sarah Monteath. Mulheres Palhaças: Percursos históricos da palhaçaria feminina no Brasil. Dissertação (mestrado). Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”- Instituto de Artes. São Paulo: 2014. Orientadora: Profª.Drª.Erminia Silva. SILVA, Erminia. Respeitável Público... O Circo em cena. Rio de Janeiro: FUNARTE, 2009. SILVA, Guy. Le Cirque dans tous ses éclats. Paris: Le Castor Astral, 2000.


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Doctor Ermínia Silva, fourth generation of circus in Brazil. Master’s Degree in History at UNICAMP. Published books: CircoTeatro – Benjamim de Oliveira e a teatralidade circense no Brasil. Available online: <https://goo. gl/x23WrM, 2010>. Respeitável público... O circo em cena, with Luís Alberto de Abreu. Available online: < 2010>. E-BOOK (along with Celso Amâncio de Melo Filho) Palhaços excêntricos musicais. Available online: <http://>. E-BOOK (along with Daniel de Carvalho Lopes) Circos e Palhaços no Rio de Janeiro: Império. Available online: <https://>. She is co-organizer of the website www.circonteudo., along with Daniel Lopes; co-leader of the Research Group CIRCUS - Grupo de Estudo e Pesquisa das Atividades Circenses (Study Group and Research of Circuslike Activities) (along with Marco Antonio Coelho Bortoleto, Faculdade de Educação Física (Physical Education College) – Unicamp); winner of the Prêmio Governador do Estado para a Cultura (Governor of the State Award for Culture), Government of the State of São Paulo and Secretary of Culture, 2017. 34

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I was invited to write about the experiences of four artist clown women. The idea was that they would tell their experiences/ training/learning under the canvas, in itinerant circuses – also called “traditional”. I was inspired by the narratives of artists in this field and their processes of formation in the circus arts, particularly of their clowns. Why did the subject matter me? Until the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the next decade, women were recognized as artists who represented the male clown character. That is to say, there was not the female clown under the canvas. From the beginning of the 1980s, but especially during the following decade, with the diversity of ways of training/learning outside the circus family groups – such as schools, social circus, workshops, self-taught, etc. – began the process of constitution/training of artist women, who built their clowns characters –now the clown women. A crowd of female bodies broke through these lands, and the process of constitution of the clown woman was consolidated. But it is important here that most artists who have graduated

from circus schools and/or other training venues have not attended, worked or set out to establish working or learning relationships with the so-called canvas traveling circuses. Therefore, talking about the narratives of these four clown women and their training/learning processes becomes relevant. I do not treat men and women as conceptually defined genders from the heteronormative perspective, which in my view generates prejudice, homophobia and racism. For me, each body is: a multitude of becomings, marks, more marks... Our female bodies crowd passed/ undergo many submissions, but in each historical period, in their singularities, they were always warriors and fought, each in her own way, their ways of producing themselves. This also happened throughout the circus historical process. The crowd of female bodies, up to the 1980s under the canvas, played comedic roles, such as the grotesque hillbilly (as an example), but were not recognized or called as clowns. When we find women playing this role, like rule they dress as a male clown. Most itinerant canvas circuses – men and women – did

not admit (and some still do not admit) that this character had its female version. That is why I mobilized before these four multitudes of female bodies, transvestites and warriors. Warriors, not because men have not gone through similar processes, but warriors for we know how difficult it is for us, women, to overcome certain barriers and have the courage to face them. The four clown women below, in their narratives, not only challenged the female production of the clown, but went into the space where “clown was a man thing”. Gena Leão, Manuela Castelo Branco and Michelle Silveira da Silva, went inside the traveling circuses. The owners of the circuses that have opened to receive them as clown women and to amplify their processes of formation deserve all our respect and admiration. Manuela and Gena not only constituted their characters, but also became circus owners of spectacles and acted as a school, which is even more challenging. Seliana Silva approaches a circuslike who was born on the canvas, he said he was a representant of the traditional, but the moment they met he is not under the canvas, because he had reinvented the way of being an artist. I did not say the name of the circus owners, so that you would be curious to know the four and their masters, but mainly to understand how we are effectively crowds in themselves, under the exercise of any gender. The artistic production (of many others) of the four is the result of constant dialogue, contagion, debates, anthropophagy. This all refers to a long time, an important feature in all historical process of circus formation from centuries ago, to this day. Some call it a dialogue with tradition, but I understand this concept as knowledge and practices that are

constantly transformed, hybrid and mixed with a multiplicity of other knowledge, dialoguing with each period, society, culture, city, plaza, street... The masters who received them and themselves are makers of circus arts stories, then expanding with the various experiences reported, are new in their kinds and methods of training as artists, differing from those circuses that were produced into the means of organization of circus-family work. In all historical periods they are, as were the “canvases”, makers of this art and therefore holders of analogous characteristics, at the same time as they differed; they are the bearers of a transversal work, which is not a privilege of any art, but in the case of the circus arts, transversality has been the main way of living and producing. Even the itinerant canvas, circus families – identified by many as traditional – are also, today, new historical subjects producing circus languages, because, as they are in tune with their time, they passed/undergo significant modifications. Gena, Manuela, Michelle and Seliana understood the importance of experiencing, living and affecting themselves as canvas learners, and then producing diversities in ways of producing artists and clown women. Only when we open ourselves in the experiences of the meetings, we do affect ourselves. So the artists were produced, so the clown women were produced, who at no time can be thought of as only one self, but a singular me-us, always constituting itself as plural, as collective, not one on but one with. The good thing is that experiencing and affecting oneself is for the rest of one’s life. Their experiences under thee canvas were not the only afflictions, but they certainly produced marks on their crowd bodies for other meetings of permanent education in their making themselves. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


MATUSQUELLA AND THE CIRcA BRASILINA Manuela Castelo Branco Photos Thiago Sabino

In 2011 I founded CiRcA Brasilina, a multicultural canvas, oriented to female protagonism in art. CiRcA executes, produces, proposes, strengthens cultural projects of different artistic languages, where women are the main axis. The CiRcA was also born of the need to provide a space for a circus so that clown women could act. From a personal point of view, as a clown woman, I felt the need to experience some of the challenges, the everyday, the business issues, the dynamics of living on a circus canvas. I lived in a trailer for a year. I constituted and managed a considerable heritage, and an agenda of weekly presentations, circus show, musical, book launches and birthday parties. It was a very busy period (20122013). Then we made a short circulation 36

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in the Federal District in 2013 with the project Circulando com CiRcA Brasilina (Circling with CiRcA Brasilina), where we bought a second canvas, smaller and more nomadic canvas, which was assembled exclusively by women, adventure partners. In the sequence, the greater canvas was only set up for CiRcA activities such as the Festival Palhaças do Mundo – Encontro de Palhaças de Brasília, CiRcA Acústica and Pipocando Poesia (Popping Poetry). Other activities are set up like circus-rentals and alike. In 2014 CiRcA was installed in Unipaz, the greater canvas, in a perspective of fixed occupation, with frequent use and in partnership with social and cultural projects of the institution. It is there so far. The smaller canvas is still available for assembly and disassembly.

Anyway, in any of the situations where the canvas was set up, especially the smallest one and during the period of movement where it was set up exclusively by women, we received many looks and comments of admiration and ‘incomprehension’ in this respect. The canvas set up was a spectacle apart. I remember those moments with tenderness. Before, however, I had two more meaningful experiences, where I introduced myself in two circuses and I could see from inside what I had only seen from the outside. Yes, we are talking about belonging. The first experience I had in a ring was with Circo Estoril, in 2009, when it was set up in Sobradinho, Federal District, and where there was a dwarf clown, the Chuvisquinho. Another experience was in 2011 at Circo Grock (Rio Grande do Norte). Being friend of the circus owner family, Gena Leão and Nill Moura, they invited me to spend a whole month with them. Making presentations, learning numbers, exchanging experiences and knowledge. I learned to walk the tightrope, some magic, and I lived a daily life drawn from presentations on and off the canvas. We rehearsed and presented some classic clown entries: Caveirão entrance, plate balance, final cage number. In addition, I made entries with magic and songs, which Gena and Nill later commented on for me to improve. It was Gena who named my canvas CiRcA Brasilina. Gena was the provocation necessary for me to venture into CiRcA and understand the necessity of its existence. I can say without a doubt that much of what I learned about the everyday life of a family circus, I learned in Grock.

The organization of the numbers, entrances, the swap functions, the food court, the speed of actions and the game in the ring and a daily care of the canvas, verifying the tension of the strings that give support, the firmness of the knots, and the care with the scene materials. Another circus where I had the opportunity to make a presentation was at Circo Laheto, Goiás, Brazil, where I performed with magical entrances and music. At Circo Laheto, the focus is another, not exactly artistic, in the sense of clowning, but above all social. Laheto is a social-circus. My connection with it deepened from 2014, when I was in Goiânia, Goiás, for a whole month to attend Sue Morrison’s workshop inside the festival Na Ponta do Nariz (At the Tip of the Nose). In exchange for the lodging, I composed with some entrances the spectacles of the Circo Laheto. Particularly in relation to the experiences I had with clown men, I had everything. It is sensible how much they have been changing since our radicality, in positioning ourselves more vehemently, as clown women. Yes, I’ve been ‘kicked’ out of squares, in street activities, as I felt welcomed by my monsiers Carlos Simioni and Ricardo Pucetti, and by Nil Moura – whom I do not know how to thank for their kindness. Nor can I forget the special conversations and debates that I had with Caco Mattos and Ésio Magalhães. There i salso the admiration for the work of Luis Carlos Vasconcelos, the clown Xuxu, that enchants me with the popular and lyrical rhizoma, and with which so many times I feel to belong. I have seen many ‘macho clowns’ perceive themselves as such and try to ‘improve’, change. Yes, the revival of female clownwork puts us all in a situation of transit, change and much learning. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


CLOWN WOMAN FERRUGEM AND CIRCO GROCK Gena Leão Photos from personal archive

My first experience was in the Gran Circo Popular of Brazil, in 1997, doing the Warm Up before the show started. I traveled with the circus from Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, to Salvador, Bahia, passing through João Pessoa, Paraíba, and Pernambuco. Together with the clown Chupetin, Oscar Spinola, and the clown Espaguete, Nil Moura, we made the project Circo Escola, when we took the circus spectacles to the schools. In 2003 I participated in the special show for the opening of the new show season at Circus Knie, Switzerland, with other invited artists. Returning to Natal, I worked at Circo Trampolim and soon after, we set up the Circo Teatro Cara Melada, in partnership with Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, an extension project of the Câmara Cascudo Museum. Then I returned to Europe where I worked for three years at Europa Park, the largest art and entertainment complex in Europe, situated in the city of Rust, Germany. I performed at Circus Revue, located within this complex. Coming back from this season in Germany, I returned to Brazil and created the first circus school in Rio Grande do Norte, the EPAC (Escola Potiguar das Artes do Circo – Potiguar School of the Arts of Circus) and Circo Grock, where I work until now with daily and itinerant shows 38

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all over Brazil, besides the traditional circus work, we make a motivational spectacle aimed at companies, schools and universities, with Nil Moura (husband) and Lion Nathan (son). At the time of my initiation, I found it difficult to work with clowns, because the woman was not well accepted in the riding arena, as a clown. For five years, in order not to lose more contracts, I had to dress as a clown (male), because the woman still did not have space, as a professional. Many thought it was a man who performed the clown Ferrugem, and I let them think so they could have more work. Today we see a lot of street clown women and theater clown women, but clown women in circus are few, this is due to, in the space men have, perhaps, as a tradition or custom, to play male and female role, in clown comedies. After working in Brazil and abroad, in circuses, I feel recognized and respected in the circus world. I would like to share some experiences that I have lived and that besides scoring me a lot, have helped me a lot as a clown woman. Something challenging for me was perform speaking in another language. I worked in a German show, doing double with my husband, and I was called by the director who told me that he would separate us because he realized that each one of us had

a different way of working, I would work in one place alone and my husband in another one. This gave an empowerment to my clown, we were hired as a duo, and in the second year, I was already working alone. That was very remarkable! Another experience was when we were called in to take a test to participate in the Brazilian film O Homem que desafiou o Diabo, we did not have time to participate, our schedule was full, because it was soon after when we came back from Germany and created the Circo Grock and the circus school. So the director had tests with several clowns and after two months the production of the film called us again, because he wanted to know our work, and after he saw us, he was enchanted. So it was a very good experience to steady my work, to learn a little more about other language to make laugh through the big screen. Another defining moment for me was when we had a TV show, “Pintando o 7” with Espaguete, where Ferrugem had to improvise live, this was a school, right at the beginning of my clown, still as a clown man. But my great school was a lot of animation of parties, events, circus school project... and life! In pursuit of survival only with my clown, all the time! I love being three: Luzia Efigênia, Gena Leão and the Clown Ferrugem.


CIA TEATRAL TURMA DO BIRIBINHA Seliana Silva Photos from personal archive

I spent my childhood and adolescence believing that I would be a doctor. I never had a penchant for art, or at least never noticed it in me, but when I started a theater course at school, I knew that it was what I wanted, since then I faced many difficulties and disbelief of some people, but I thought with myself: - There are things only you can do to be yourself! So I decided to be US, Seliana: Mother, Wife, Housewife, Producer, Actress and CLOWN! I started my career as a clown through the master Biribinha, Teófanes Silveira. As in the traditional family circus, I started as an assistant observing the techniques, the mood and the “wiles” of the traditional circus clown. However, when I was invited to work with Cia. Turma do Biribinha, the canvas was no longer used by the company for presentations or even circulation. In 2017, after 30 years, the company decided to raise the canvas bringing the format of Circus Theater, featuring comedies and dramas, the format of the spectacles was different, the focus was now on street theater combined with clown entries and eccentric musical numbers (these were also passed on to me by Hiran Silveira, brother of Biribinha), in which I work as an actress in the majority. For me, as an artist, this is being the most intense and enriching experience of my life. Before that, we needed a new touch, a confirmation that this line of circus

would still have good results, it was when we made the decision to leave home and go live with the Companhia de Circo de Teatro Tubinho. Total change in our lives, I was with a baby of three months, an eight-year-old son and a husband full of enthusiasm and joy to be “coming back” to his origin, even if only for six months. Tubinho’s repertoire is as great as his generosity. We do feel welcomed and willing to live with the community. Although I did not perform on stage, it was a great artistic experience for me. Regarding my learning with Biribinha, we are partners in everything. He is open to my opinions and I am to his, I think that is why the transfer is more fluid. He is my great incentive, even though sometimes I do not believe in myself, he is there placing the greatest faith, so we can balance ourselves in every way. I confess that I am a stubborn student sometimes, but he is a patient teacher. In the beginning it was difficult, since bringing the clown to the surface is not so simple when you are side by side with a master of almost 60 years of career, as is the case of the clown Biribinha. Gradually I found myself in the art of clowning and also finding my space working on different lines of Comedy. I have tried being White Clown, Auguste, Shrew, Naive and comic counterpoint. In the repertoire shows of the company, Pipoca, my clown, lives very different situations and emotions

which I try to balance them with the personality of the clown, I think Pipoca is playing. In “O reencontro de palhaços” (The reencounter of clowns) Pipoca is a plot partner of the clown Biribinha, the only female figure among three clowns. In “PALHASSADAMUZIKADA”, Pipoca assumes the figure of White Clown, the oppressor who plays with the clown Auguste, Biribinha, but my biggest challenge as an artist is in “Eu Sem Você Não Sou Ninguém”, when I need to hide my clown to take on the figure of the clown BIRIBINHA, which is in scene in the form of Marote doll. A very delicate work with a laboratory of almost 14 years of tuning and learning and for 11 years we have united our ideals and our lives have become one, treading a journey full of love and resistance. I currently work at Circo Teatro Biribinha, as well as Companhia Teatral. In 2016, besides the present of being a mother for the second time, I also had the great pleasure of experiencing for six months the experience of attending all the shows of Companhia de Circo de Teatro do Tubinho in three cities in the countryside of São Paulo, Rio Claro, Brotas and Jaú as a resident of the circus. My Clown made me meet and know how far I can go. I hope I can always contribute and somehow add to the Big Goal – Grace. Long Live the Clownery! Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


CLOWN BARRICA AND BIRIBA THEATER Michelle Silveira da Silva Photos from personal archive

In 2009, after attending almost all the shows at Circo Teatro do Biriba, during the season in the city of Chapecรณ, Santa Catarina, Brazil, I got in touch with the owner of the circus, Geraldo Passos, and put my work at the disposal of the Company. To my surprise, I was accepted into the cast and with them I traveled for seven months through the state of Santa Catarina, Paranรก and Mato Grosso do Sul. I had been building my career as a clown since 2001, when I performed my first clown workshop in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. My experience was initially linked to the academy, then I began to perform theatrical presentations, street interventions and alternative spaces and also to work with training. The circus was a new experience, curious and enriching for me. During the period when I was part of the Teatro Biriba company, I acted in different ways, helping 40

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the family and collective dynamics of the circus, I performed in shows such as comic actress, stage set, dressing room, publicity, box office, clown, among many things that the structure of the circus requires. The seven months were intense and of great learning about the theater circus, the mambembe life, the circus challenges, the history of the company, the way of working, the repertoire, the performance and the coexistence. The relationship with people who were already part of the company was more challenging than the relationship with the men. The fact I was a newcomer in that universe and not being of circus tradition, generated some conflicts and mistrust between the colleagues, which did not happen at any moment with the owner of the circus and his family, who received me in a very loving way. In the case of the Teatro Biriba, as in other

circus theaters that act in the same format, the central figure of the plays is the clown. The other characters are coadjuvantes and stairs for the “comic painted face “, as Geraldo used to refer to his clown. This is the figure who leads the show, it is to see the clown that people go to the circus, the others understand this position and all of them are fundamental in the dramatic structure of the show. I, as a clown, have always been received with much affection and admiration by the Clown Biriba, who always made a point of praising, valuing and encouraging my work. So much was this admiration that Geraldo gave me a space to present a comic number of Barrica on Saturdays during the break of the show. This attitude made me very happy and allowed me to continue my solo creation and my clown during my stay at the circus. Of course, that at Circo do Biriba, the clown will always be the Biriba. And I always knew that. When I glimpsed the possibility of pursuing my career by myself, carrying in my suitcase all that unique experience I had, I decided to say goodbye. This decision was not easy, it was received with sadness by Geraldo and his family, but in one of the trips this dialogue happened and I will never forget: Geraldo: - What is your dream? Me: - I don’t know!

Geraldo: - You’re too old not to know what your dream is! Me: (I got up from the table, went to the dessert buffet to get a piece of pudding, thinking of my dream..) Geraldo: - I know what your dream is. That Barrica becomes worldwide known. I also dream it for you and that’s why I let you go! Me: (I sighed excitedly and affirmed my dream). Letting go did not mean I was stuck in the circus, but it meant that I had the blessing of the one I so often called master. Having lived this experience was a watershed in my work as a clown and as an artist. Besides the knowledge I acquired regarding circus and theater circus, applied techniques, circus dramaturgy, coexistence in collectives, assembly and disassembly of the canvas and changes of the square, the relationship with the public and the places where we settled, I learned a lot of being human, of being an artist in difficult times, of not to stop dreaming, of recognizing our reality and transforming it, of strength and faith in the future, of the challenges faced in group relationships and the joy and companionship that we find in those who have a generous heart, how could not be different in a family of clowns. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


From real life to fiction:

biographical film references for women/clown women Michelle Cabral Photos from personal archive

Michelle Cabral was born in São Luís. She has worked in the Maranhão artistic scene since the 1990s. Clown woman, actress and theater director, she is a teaching artist in the course of Theater Degree of the Department of Performing Arts, at the Federal University of Maranhão (UFMA). She started her circus activities in 1996, when he met the circus artist Irê Amaro, who left the canvas circus and settled in São Luís. With Irê Amaro, she learned the technique of leggings, acrobatics and the art of traditional clowning. This learning resulted in the creation, 22 years ago, of the clown Palita Presepada. The play of her clown adds traditional circus skits, acrobatics, and street theater techniques combined with the body techniques of comic composition and the study of female comedy. She is the founder of Cia. MiraMundo Produções Culturais where currently she is a member of the cast of three circus shows, all in repertoire. C O N TA C T 42

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In the creative process of clown woman many materials can serve as a reference or starting point for poetic creation. A song can access our emotional memory and inner sensations, also serving for the sound composition of a show or number, as well as photography, objects, interviews or books, to name a few examples of subjects that we have for research. The cinema is also one of these materials that can be an important support for study, because the language of the cinema brings an inspiring power serving as reference for the artistic creation. In this sense, we bring in this essay the suggestion of two films which scripts based on real cases, make us laugh and cry, showing that life can sometimes be spectacular. The films mentioned here bring real cases of women who have made history and who can be inspiring to think the politics behind being a clown woman. Our first nomination is the American film “Joy” of 2015. Directed by David O. Russell, the

biographical film portrays the story of the American businesswoman and inventor Joy Mangano, who in fiction is interpreted by actress Jennifer Lawrence. The script written by David O. Russell and Annie Mumolo presents this woman whose inventive creativity will turn her into a great business woman. Joy is a brilliant young woman, who lives a very troubled personal life. She is divorced and has two children. The ex-husband lives in the basement of her house while her mother lives upstairs and spends all day watching soap operas. Her father, divorced from her mother 17 years ago, also lives in the same house. Creative from childhood, Joy invents a miracle cleaning wipe that turns into a sales phenomenon and makes her one of the most successful businesswomen in the United States. This is one of those movies that make us revisit those old sheltered dreams, forgotten in the difficulties of life and the lies we tell ourselves to give them up. The story of the daily struggle of a real woman with

a context very close to the lives of so many others can be a stimulus to think the scene and the game of the clown woman in a context of empowerment facing their own limitations. Our second film nomination is a very recent production “Die göttliche Ordnung” (The Divine Order), of 2017. Feature film produced by the director and scriptwriter Petra Volpe portrays the history of women’s suffrage in Switzerland in 1971. The script based on real events ranges from drama, comedy, fiction and reality. The characters who lead the narrative are women of different generations who enchant us with their strength and tricks to break with prejudice and machismo and win the right to vote for all women in the country. In the film, the life of the peasant Nora (played by Marie Leuenberger) was not affected by the wave of social revolutions unleashed in Europe in the late 1960s. Inside Switzerland, she lives in peace and submissive to the husband, taking care of her

children. But everything begins to change by her husband’s refusal to let her go back to work, so she struggles not only for individual rights but also for the rights of all women. The most interesting is that in the film, the great rival in the fight for the right to vote for women is not a man’s voice, but it is a woman who favor maintaining the customs and discriminatory traditions, which causes a reflection on sisterhood and class conflict, since the reproduction of gender oppression may also come from the woman herself, already so deprived of her rights. The film enchants us not only by the history and female protagonism, but also by the aesthetics of the 1970s with its colors and style. The profiling of the characters faithful to the period of events, also serves as an inspiration because it features costumes and props beautifully arranged in different profiles of women. I hope these tips can bring ideas, reflections and inspiration to think of a female comedy and a circus scene that portrays our diversity of being and making you laugh. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


striptease TO THE CONTRARY Ana Fuchs Photos by Gerônimo Bergmann e Guto Muniz

Ana Fuchs - PhD student at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, where she develops studies on female clownery. She is graduated in Performing Arts and Master in Education by the same institution. She has been working with the language of clownery since 2000 when she graduated in a specific clown course developed by the actress and researcher Ana Elvira Wuo. During the following years, she continued her training through courses with other professionals in the area, such as Parlapatões (São Paulo, Brazil), Alex Casalli (Bahia, Brazil), Ricardo Puccetti (São Paulo, Brazil), Pepe Nunes (Spain), Avner Eisenberg (USA), Leris Colombaione (Italy), Ivan Prado (Spain), Lily Curcio (Argentina), Andréa Macera (São Paulo, Brazil) and Raquel Socolovski (Argentina). She took part in research activities with groups of clowns in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. She created and performed in the clown show Sedushow that appeared in several places of the city. In 2010 she started to develop the solo show AMOSTRA GRÁTIS (FREE SAMPLE). The work has already participated in several festivals among them 11th SESC FESTCLOWN Festival Internacional de Palhaços (International Festival of Clowns) (Brasília, D.C, Brazil, 2013), 3rd Na Ponta do Nariz (Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil, 2013), 4th PALHAÇADA (Clownery) (Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil, 2012), 12th Festival Cenas Curtas Cine-Horto (Cine-Horto Short Film Festival) and 4th Breves Cenas de Manaus (Short Scenes of Manaus). Creator and member of the group AS GRACIOSAS CIA DE PALHAÇAS, which has in its repertoire in addition to the solos of the actresses the work of double 1, 2, 3 ECHÁ, directed by Lily Curcio. Professor of Theater at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Application College, where she develops the research “The clown in the school context”. 44

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Being a clown woman is stripping naked in front of you and the other. It is to show all the facets that we are able to recognize in ourselves - from the best to the worst! It is to open our fragility, our pride, our failure and our ridicule. It is also, to reveal our capacity for grace in the face of the ills we carry, it is to create poetry with your own body, to provoke and provoque yourself in a movement of seeing and giving yourself to see. This is the structure that moves the creative processes of constitution of the clown, which has at its core the search for a personal and artistic meaning. It is under this look that I would like to think about the costumes. The costume is, at first, as we put the show to the other. From it we can reveal the funny, the ridiculous, the strange of our body. In the same way it can be an extension of our actions and potentiate the meanings they carry. The costume reveals us, undresses us before the other, like a striptease to the contrary! Wearing as a way to undress, as a way of presenting the speeches that pass through our bodies. The costume can also be a way of accessing ourselves. From looking at us and recognizing what inhabits us, so that these elements are placed in favor of the mask and the construction of our figures.

When I was born, under the care of Ana Elvira Wuo, I wore a plaid dress that clearly revealed the first physical, energetic and emotional record I was able to access and recognize for the composition of my clown. It was something that passed between the naive, the childish, with an air of mischief. As the work was developing and the composition of my solo constituting, I felt the need to invest in something more elaborate to the scene. I drew my costume and sent it to the seamstress. I think the drawing did not help much, because the final product distanced itself somewhat from the initial design! In my mind, it was a dress with tulip skirt. I ended up in a micro dress in a balloon skirt, almost a Chinese lamp. And it was interesting!!! It emphasized my fluffiness, showed my thick thighs, and pointed to the sweet figure that was glimpsed in the first registers of my mask. In my hair I wanted a hat, but under the watchful eye of a costume designer (thanks Cris Lissot) we opted for the white dove! More cute impossible!!! Here I began the work with Lily Curcio who put me in the face of a very strong emotional and physical record. I discovered or assumed all my capacity for fury and evil. If on the one hand it was embarrassing,

on the other hand it was liberating. I was faced with a potent energy state, which I was denied (and I denied) in an education with very strong markers of female behavior. In contact with this energetic state the first image that came to mind was of me as a soldier of war. This image guided the composition of the costumes and the figure of the show that I do in double with the Odette Simonette and that gave rise to our group AS GRACIOSAS Cia. de palhaças. I replaced the white dove in my hair for a helmet on my head and a raven on my shoulder. The question that immediately stood before me was: but is it the same clown? People asked me, I wondered. And now what am I? Am I white clown? Am I auguste? Am I sweet and sassy or furious and aggressive? To be or not to be, that’s the question? Carrying this doubt and with a crazy desire to reinvent myself, I decided to start from the costume for a new personal search. Something that transited between the two records that I had already experienced and recognized (because there must be many others that I am not able to see at this time). I decided to make a tailleur, because after all, I’ve heard all my life that a woman of class wears a tailleur. I completed with a wish, smooth bobbed hair wig, beautiful and ridiculous. I found the ridiculous beauty. I was sitting there

and I felt very comfortable with the new costumes. I discovered many possibilities of actions mainly with the hair, but it was not clear yet what was the state that sustained my figure. There I went after someone who could hold my hand or throw me into the sea. During the II Mostra tua Graça Palhaça, produced by dear friend and sister Lia Motta, I met Andréa Macera who led me on this journey. We did some meetings and another record began to sketch (it was probably already present, but I was not aware). Something uncompensated and nonsense has arisen in my horizon of actions and that transits among the other records already known. I still do not know if I am august or white. I am Generosa, Inha to the intimates, I am that range of records that I was able to access, to recognize, to welcome and to take to the plane of the mask. The construction of the clown woman figure, at the same time as it is a therapeutic process, in the sense of looking back at ourselves to find the possibilities of the comic, is an artistic work that requires the elaboration of these personal discoveries in the plane of the mask, it is through the mask that we act in front of the other, in this process the costume becomes our second skin! Not to cover or cover up, but to undress us by revealing. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


Santa Catarina’s Network of Clown Women Bia Alvarez • Joinville/SC Photos by Chris Mayer

AFrom the 2º Encontro de Palhaç@s (2nd Meeting of Clown Women), held in Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil, which took place during the month of December, 2017, the desire arose for a greater approximation and articulation of the Clown Women who live in the state of Santa Catarina. Rafaela Catarina Kinas, Clown Woman, resident of the city of Canelinha, Santa Catarina, who participated in the two Encontros de Palhaç@s, held in Joinville, she gave voice to this desire by creating a group on Whatsapp, adding all the clown women, as well as she was, were in this second meeting and shared the desire she felt for herself and others with whom she talked, making, from this initial speech, and the creation of the group, an invitation for all of us, Clown Women living in the state of Santa Catarina, to create a space of closeness where we could talk about our yearnings, needs, where we would be 46

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assisting in our office, debating work and finding ways together. Promptly accepted by all of those groups, many suggestions arose and as a first action together we decided to hold a two-day meeting and elected the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, as a meeting point for this first face-to-face meeting. In this first two-day meeting, we met at the headquarters of A Morada Cênica, a collaborative space that has as one of the organizers Caline Detoni, also Clown Woman. Clown women from different cities of our state gathered and there were very rich moments of meeting, socializing, getting to know each other and recognizing each other. In these days, we start with the spaces of interaction, not forgetting also the spaces to look for some guidelines that have been serving as a model for our collective and hear from Michelle Silveira, Clown Barrica,

from Chapecó, Santa Catarina, and Drica Santos, Clown Curalina, from Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, about the Rede Brasileiras de Palhaças (Brazilian Network of Clown Women), of which both are part. It was clear that the desire and the initial urgency is to be together and empowering ourselves in some way and for that we defined that we would do at least two annual meetings in different places of the state of Santa Catarina, in this format, where the interaction and reaching of the greatest number of Clown Women can go up settling as practice. We also understand that any Clown Woman who lives in the state of Santa Catarina is part of this collective that we now call the Rede Catarina de Palhaças (Santa Catarina’s Network of Clown Women). In addition, we took in this first meeting some action guidelines that little by little we are practicing within the time and possibility of each women inserted, trying to exercise a non-centralized way of management, where each one contributes in the way that can and wishes for the network continue to strengthen and build with the necessary fluidity. The Whatsapp group continues to be our main communication tool, any and every Clown Woman of Santa Catarina is very welcome, just as any Clown

Woman who is in that group has the freedom to add others that she gets to know in her journey. After the first two-day meeting the Network held a round of conversation at the Convenção de Malabarismo e Circo de Florianópolis ( Juggling and Circus Convention of Florianópolis), an event organized by Cris Villar, Clown Woman from Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, that year and a meeting at the headquarters of Cia Traço de Teatro from Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, for a conversation with the presence of Karla Concá of the group As Marias da Graça, from Rio de Janeiro, the first group of clown women in Brazil and member of the Rede Brasileira de Palhaças. We created and maintain a fanpage to facilitate the contact and the diffusion of actions and amplitude of the unfolding. We are in collective construction, without hierarchy, or roles instituted. Rede Catarina de Palhaças has been constituted as an open space for strengthening for any and every Clown Woman resident in the state of Santa Catarina. Are you woman? Are you a clown woman? Meet the Rede Catarina de Palhaças and come and build this space with us! Facebook: @redecatarinadepalhacas Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


More Meetings, please… Andrea Macera Sarah Monteath dos Santos Photos from personal archive

Andrea Macera Actress since 1986, clown since 1997 and director since 1999. She founded in 2005 the Teatro da Mafalda, which at the end of 2013 performed and produced the “NATIONAL PRE-MEETING OF WOMEN CLOWNS - SP”. In 2014, she launched the first edition of the International Meeting of Women Clowns of São Paulo, which has its II Edition in 2016. In 2017, produces the III Edition of the International Meeting and the creation of the School of Women Clowns. Sarah Monteath dos Santos Graduated in Philosophy by the Federal University of Pernambuco, in 2009, Masters degree in Aesthetics and Scenic Poetics by the Paulista State University “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”, in 2014, with the dissertation “Women Clowns: Historical Path of Female Clowning in Brazil”, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Erminia Silva. Acting in the Theater of Mafalda in the organization of the International Meeting of Women Clowns of São Paulo and the School of Women Clowns.


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After my visit to the meeting “Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaça” (This Bunch of Women Clowns) (Rio de Janeiro) with my solo “Sobre Tomates, Tamancos e Tesoura” (About Tomatoes, Clogs and Scissors) in 2009, I began to realize the need to reflect on the growing role of women clowns, their themes, their creations and everything that surrounds this beautiful story, so short and at the same time so urgent, so eager for a place worthy in the history of comedy. All these were associated with the lack of space for women clowns in various events, workshops, festivals and gatherings of this field, to the detriment of the male performance and presence in the same art. This situation has widened myself the desire to promote a reflection on the role of the woman clown, her stories, her references, her formation, her labor market and, mainly, to think about the Meeting of our masters of laughter with her successors. Another important point was to notice the absence of meetings focused exclusively on women comedy in São Paulo. As a consequence, I started the production of the Meeting of

Women Clowns in the city, which had as its starting point the National Pre-meeting of Women Clowns, in December 2013, and featured tables, movies, workshops, parades, shows and the course School of Women Clowns, which became a major project, launched in 2017, as the first School of Women Clowns in Brazil. The Meeting was extended to the international level and its first edition in 2014, brought an intense programming, retaking the idea of a Network of women clowns. Started in 2010, the Network aims to discuss, gather and expand the exchange of experiences between artists and producers of meetings and festivals of women clowns in Brazil. Thus, in the first edition of the Meeting we seek to give the Network a greater importance, seeking to gather and broaden the discussions about the understanding of feminine protagonism in this art, besides fomenting the creation of meetings on this subject in Brazil. For me, the Network has also appeared as a necessary cultural policy in the current context in which we find ourselves about the woman issues. The exchange of experiences achieved through the Meeting

allowed, in addition to the diffusion and exchange of knowledge, the contact with many woman references in this art that, for so long, bequeathed to women a place of always-beautiful-supporting. We discovered, at each contact with our masters, the power of the woman presence in the arena and in the universe of women clownery in other places as well, we were revealing the passage of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;always-beautifulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; supporting to the protagonists of laughter. It is important to emphasize that the reflection starts from the place of equality between men and women, thus, realizing that the women numbers were in the background in the meetings of so-called mixed clowns throughout Brazil, there are several initiatives that sought to establish a connection with this exchange of knowledge, promoting and redefining the woman presence in this field. It is important to emphasize that the meeting has, in its programming, with Cabaretrans, an initiative unprecedented in Brazil that seeks to value and give space for the presence of men, as long as they play with the female universe, as well as women who have a figure or number that works the male comedy. In 2015 we made a leap, we could not carry out the second edition of the International Meeting due to financial difficulties. And we ended up resuming the production and the holding of the second National Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


Meeting. Still independently, but very rich and huge too, almost out of our arms this son is asserting himself in the city, being nominated for the Governor of the State Award in 2017, which proves that we are on the right track not only in the affirmation of its importance as well as the construction of a Meeting that values relations, the empowerment of women and the development of their humanity. In this way, in idealizing the International Meeting of Women Clowns of São Paulo, I sought, in addition to consolidating the feminine performance in the field, to spread this ideal of (ac) knowledge(ment) of women and the sharing of techniques. So, I would like to finish by mentioning other initiatives throughout Brazil that are a source of inspiration for us: Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaça (This Bunch of Women Clowns) (Rio de Janeiro), Meeting of Women Clowns of Brasília (Brasília - DF), Woman Clown at the Park (Belo Horizonte), Mostra sua Graça Palhaça (Show your grace, Woman Clown) (Rio Grande do Sul), Women Clownery - International Meeting of Women Clowns (Recife/Pernambuco), Meeting Asphalt Circus (São Paulo). Anyway, the feminine space in this art has been conquered, but still there is much ground for many others that will come and take space in this Network. 50

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Be inside some of the Meetings and Festivals of woman clowning and comedy that happen in Brazil, by the look of woman artists/clowns who organize or participate in the event. These meetings are inexhaustible sources of power and are responsible for the great movement that woman clowns have done in Brazil and beyond the borders of this country. Even with all the difficulties resulting from the precarious cultural policies in our country that are presented in the process of production and realization of these events, the strength and determination of each of these women, organizers and participants, is commendable.

Each meeting is carried out with a lot of struggle, and it is seen that even before these difficulties, the artists are mobilized so that these rich moments of womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s learning, exchange and empowerment continue to happen. We continue to strive for art to be more valued in our country, for more and more cultural policies according to the needs of artists and the community, more investment from all sectors of society and more respect for our craft. Michelle Silveira da Silva Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine



About “Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaça” (This Bunch of Clown Woman) Ana Piu • Campinas, São Paulo Photos by Mariana Rocha

Taking a first step to open the way deserves admiration, respect, reverence. What is admirable about this group of female Carioca clown women: Geni Viegas, Karla Concá, Samantha Anciães and Vera Ribeiro, is that the relationship is of horizontality among each other and with the feminine ‘clownish’ community. Accompanying and participating in an Festival Internacional de Comicidade Feminina (International Festival of Feminine Comedy) as “Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaça” (This Bunch of Clown Woman) is to reassure us that the choice we have made in turning our art a choice of life and livelihood is not entirely misplaced. In short, every festival I take part always confirms that there are some crazy women and crazy men who lead their lives with the seriousness of following their dreams, their missions. The particularity of a Meeting or Festival of Female Comedy is that we have the opportunity to affirm and strengthen our femininity in a way that is just ours. Blessed art of clowning that allows us to be everything and not be anyone in particular! Being stupid, silly, neurotic, lovely, gloomy, sensual and beautiful in a clumsy and funny way. Deconstructing old 52

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patterns and dynamics fruit of a patriarchal mentality and practice. Being in a state of grace is to be full. Our inner girl is radiant to play herself and play with her emotions, frailties, repressed and allowed desires. The Female Comedy with a focus on the art of clowning is an opportunity to be reborn together, each one with its particularity, to know that we are not the only ones to tread this exciting artistic and humanist path. We have the opportunity to free ourselves together by doing a “xôôôôô” for competition and comparisons that can choke and suffocate. In 2016 I participated in the Festival by giving a workshop on “Dramaturgy and Comedy” with the purpose of thinking about the artistic work: What do we want to bring to the scene, within the archetype of the clownwork? How do we intend to resignify and write our stories through comedy? At this meeting I found some beloved clown women, such as Lia Mota, who organized in Porto Alegre the Mostra a Tua Graça Palhaça (Show Your Grace Clown Woman). Other people I met at the time: Matusquella, who organizes Palhaças do Mundo em Brasília (Clowns of the World in Brasília), Nara Menezes

with the Festival PalhaçAria do Recife (CloWnery Festival of Recife), Bia Alvarez of the Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville (Meeting of Clowns of Joinville), Michelle Silveira, from Chapecó, Santa Catarina, and promoter of this magazine, Thaís and Laís Oliveira, from Belo Horizonte, among others. That same year we met again in São Paulo at the Encontro Internacional de Mulheres Palhaças (International Meeting of Clown Women) organized by Andrea Macera. Summarizing and concluding: the movement is there with these and another women who go on and emancipate themselves through their artistic and professional expression. It is an honor to be a part of this movement. From these meetings the project “AR DULCE AR” was born with the clown Maffalda dos Reis (Geni Viegas) and Bell Trana d’Tall (Ana Piu) with the direction of Leonardo Magno Tonon and artistic assistance of Adelvane Neia, which theme is violence against the woman. Thank you, Brazil with its diversities, which allows us to find our family. The path is open. Now it is tread it with sisterhood from the heart. “Arigatô danka you verys mercis plenos de gratidones haux haux!”


About Encontro Internacional de Palhaças de São Paulo (International Meeting of Clown Women of São Paulo) Dani Majzoub • São José dos Campos Photos from personal archive

Morning of May 6th, 2014. I left my native land, São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil, towards São Paulo, capital. I was not selected for the course “Escola de Mulheres Palhaças” (School of Clown Women), promoted by the Oficinas Culturais (Cultural Workshops) of the State of São Paulo and taught by Andrea Macera, but even so I decided to go in the first class in the hope that someone would give up. When I arrived at the headquarters of the cultural workshop Amácio Mazzaropi, I realized that some people did not go to the first day and soon I noticed myself in the room, warming myself up for the beginning of the course. Andrea starts her class and I, completely lost, did not understand what a course for clown women was like. Gradually I became aware of the importance of knowing the peculiarities of the woman’s comedy in clownery. It was a watershed for me. Andrea informed us about the meeting of clown women that she was producing in São Paulo, the first, and invited us to participate in the program. My heart pounded. I knew I was entering another phase, which, as a clown woman, had not yet experienced.

At the hostel, where I was staying, I came across clown women from all over Brazil and from other countries. I felt shy, as it was a bit difficult for a beginner clown to come out from the countryside and have a first contact with names that until then I had only heard of. Masters. Andrea welcomes me without distinction, we are all the same, we have the same goal. This comforted me. I met incredible clown women during the stay, I was moved to see the work and the resistance of the woman in this art until then marked by men like reference. It was important to know that clown women are uniting around the world with the aim of providing reflection and change on the clownish, with regard to female comedy. In the presentation of my number, on that October 12, at Cabaré das Neófitas, directed by Adelvane Néia, a renowned Brazilian clown woman, the “primate clown women” (the most experienced) were there, in the same line as us, to watch us and support us like new clowns. Olivia, my clown, puts me in situation of improvisation and total play with the generous audience.

Mixed feelings, despair and joy! In the end it worked! There is no wrong. And the feeling of all together, women of struggle and resistance, was the great feeling of the meeting for me. I thank Andrea Macera who showed me another world. Based on and inspired by the I Encontro Internacional de Palhaças de São Paulo (First International Meeting of Clown Women of São Paulo), in March 2018, I held the I Encontro de Palhaças e Circenses do Vale do Paraíba (I Meeting of Circus and Clown Women of the Vale do Paraíba). During the week of the meeting we had more than 40 women artists from all over Brazil, we held cabarets, workshops, a chat about the importance of women in art and a procession through the city center of São José dos Campos, a historical moment in the Valley, because nothing like that, with just women, had happened there. I could feel and experience the strength of the woman as an artist, clown and circus, all together. Long live the network of female clownery. Long live the Vale do Paraíba, here also has clown women! Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine




of clown women of Brasília Ester Monteiro • Taquaruçu/TO Photos by Thiago Sabino

Boroca is a way of calling our suitcase where we keep everything we like most in life, in my case is my arsenal of clown. 1


Name of my clown.

‘Uterine politics’ is an expression I learned from the actress/ director/clown Karla Concá, it is how she refers to the way we communicate with each other, saying that our politics is not interim but rather uterine, from the inside out. 3


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Yes, I left Tocantins and moved my ‘boroca’1, in it I put everything that could be used in this meeting, a wooden leg, juggling, costumes, my mother, my grandmother and an enormous desire to share with these clown women that I so admire. I participated in 2016 and in 2017 of the Encontro Palhaças do Mundo/ DF (Meeting of the World/DC), and it was very transformative, because we really know that these meetings exist so that we can strengthen and learn from women so important in female comedy, and I also know the difficulty of having these meetings and festivals of clown women, so it was an experience that I saw would be necessary for the construction of Tapioca2. Arriving at the meeting I was greeted with affection by the clown women that were there and by the festival. I was invited by Michelle Silveira (Barrica) to participate in the cabaret and this was incredible for me because I was ready for any invitation that could happen there, it was sensational the patience and the affection that existed there. Manuela Castelo Branco, clown Matusquella, Encontro Palhaças do Mundo creator, had a great idea to bring popular games and different

parades in the issues of the meeting, such as: the Bra Dodge Ball game, where clown women played Dodge Ball game with only bras and alluding and a pun on the symbolic event in the history of women’s liberation; ‘women biciclown’, where the clown women did a procession riding bicycles, creating a space where riding was allowed, making a subtle allusion to the political situation of the country, among others. The games always come with some message that brings the feminine sense and empowerment and the ways to run the state of CLOWN, and so we stayed there, playing and practicing a ‘uterine politics’3, which is one of the things that I most like in the meetings, is the direct exchange we have with these teachers, masters, and we can use the same tools as clown women of the world. Also we had the meeting of the network of clown women, where we can talk more about the work we develops in our regions. The importance of being in these meetings even though we are not selected is to be strengthening and updating ourselves, understanding more how female clowning and this comedy works, that is so overwhelming and libertarian.


About Mulheres Inusitadas de Narizes – Encontro de Mulheres Palhaças de Uberlândia (Unusual Women with Noses – Meeting of Clown Women of Uberlândia) Giovanna Parra • Uberlândia/MG Photos from personal archive

MINAS – Mulheres Inusitadas de Narizes - Encontro de Mulheres Palhaças de Uberlândia (Unusual Women with Noses – Meeting of Clown Women of Uberlândia) – had its first edition in August, 2017, thanks to the support of the Federal University of Uberlândia, which through its Culture’s Direction supported this meeting. Throughout the event we had many actions such as shows, round of conversation, two workshops (one in Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais, and another in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais), an interview with great clown women, thus managing to reach an audience of artists and the community in general. We had the presence of invited guests Karla Concá, a founding member of the group As Marias da Graça; Ana Elvira Wuo, professor of Theater at Federal University of Uberlândia and researcher of clownery; Vilma Campos Leite, also a professor at Federal University of Uberlândia

and a mask researcher, and Amanda Aloysa, founding member of Trupe de Truões and researcher of clownery. The event was aimed at the exchange between clown women from the city and region, dissemination of female comedy and space for clown women to show their work. Even many students of Theater from the Federal University of Uberlândia researching clowning, the focus of the Woman as a clown had never been discussed, with that many students did not know how to continue developing their work, even they having reference of Clown Women in the graduation course. It was reflecting on this that the idea came up to make this event totally free to help the training and development of the research for many women. In the year 2018, the event is heading for its second edition, which is taking place in the second semester. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


MOSTRA TUA GRAÇA PALHAÇA (Show Your Grace Clown Woman) Lia Motta • Porto Alegre/RS Photos from personal archive

What are clowns for? Or more precisely the clown women? What are the clownery festivals for? What to do with this work beyond the scene? These are just some of the thousands of questions that surround me with every new project, workshop, show, partnership and so on. So it is with the Mostra Tua Graça Palhaça (Show Your Grace Clown Woman). Why perform a show only performed by clown women among so many other events with this theme that already happen in Brazil? The Mostra Tua Graça Palhaça had two editions, the first was in March 2016 and the second in March 2017, both held without sponsorship. In the first edition it was just a meeting of four clown women in order to take a collective action in honor of the international women’s day, and it was also a way to give more visibility to the work of four clown women working alone on the scene, each one doing their own season in any corner of the city did not arouse the same interest in the public and in the media than the four gathered 56

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performing a show of clown women. In the second edition, however, the show brought together 34 clown women from different parts of Brazil and a clown woman from Mexico. The exchange, the formation and the debate about our craft have always been the key to the realization of these meetings, but one issue was the north for the second edition of the Mostra: “What is the social function of clown men and clown women? Who do we serve and for what purpose?” In the second edition of the Mostra, trying to answer these questions, we spread through various spaces inside and outside the theater trying to be with more people, seeking to understand the dimension of our craft that almost does not fit in this economic system where the human serves only to generate profit and not its primary purpose of being human. So we went to the women’s prison, we went to the hospitals, down the street, we went to the theater to hear and speak of black representation, we went to meet minor offenders, we sat around and talked about our work and the paths we still have to

tread, while the children ran around us or were breastfed by their clown mothers. The Mostra Tua Graça of 2017 was danced and very much breathed, it was a scene of laughter and healing, of laughter and complicity, of laughter and strengthening of women, of clown women, of the excluded. For seven intense days we worked, exercised our craft of clowns, but also our office as caretakers. We took care of each other, we listened to us, we hugged each other, we looked with power and love, we embraced and laughed a lot, and we made the audience laugh, and we cried a lot, for we were moved by every vast look of life and desire that crossed ours. The questions still follow me, and I hope they will always follow, but some answers also come to accompany me: We clown women exist for the world to be more full of grace and less hard, our office overflows the clownery, our existence is revolutionary, and our revolution is graceful, loving, powerful, generous and welcoming as it is proper to our nature.


Festival Internacional de Palhaças do Recife (CLOWNERY – International Festival of Clown Women of Recife) Enne Marx e Nara Menezes • Recife/PE e Photos by Lana Pinho

The PalhaçAria (CloWnery) Festival, created and conceived by Cia Animée (Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil), is in its fourth edition and was created from the restlessness of the actresses/ clowns Enne Marx and Nara Menezes (Band of clown women As Levianas/ Cia Animée), in city of Recife, a festival dedicated to female clownery, highlighting women’s humor and nuances, updating language research and supporting the culture of laughter based on the professionalization of clown women. The event brings together solo and group works exhibition, at the invitation of the curators, and promotes the training through Workshops, Forum for discussion of relevant topics to the world of clowning and interchange. An important space for national and international discussion through the meeting of clown women from different regions and countries, who stay in the city during the event, the PalhaçAria Festival deals with the subject in great style and provokes women’s space in art – to make them laugh and think. Feminine clowning has become prominent all over the world and today it becomes an independent and consolidated expression. With the constitution of an audience and each year gaining more space in the arts, this movement has been

expanding and becoming more and more expressive, read by the number of reference festivals dedicated to the genre. These festivals are part of a Network of artistic exchange and create an international circuit of shows, bringing to the stage and street a language that privileges “all audiences”. Brazil is the country that today has the largest number of clown women festivals. With constant research in the language of the clown, we consider that female clowning is part of the contemporary context of the performing arts and dynamizes the cultural scene with great dramaturgic emphasis, putting in check the female reality of life, questioning the very fact of being a woman, laughing of everyday problems and taking advantage of themes that are peculiar to our universe. The PalhaçAria Festival seeks to place the clown woman on the international route of festivals and events that bring together artists around the language, provoking also the collaboration between the participants, generating powerful relationships in the creative field. In all the editions, the Festival creates two original shows joining several short numbers in the realization of the Cabarets of varieties. Here, clown women and audiences live

an experience that belongs only to them, in that one hour and a half of presentations and experiments, allowing space for error, a minefield of fruitful explosions that makes any artist grow. The Cabarets also open space for a rich exchange between professionals of excellence and beginner clown women, resulting in delicious nights of laughter. With each edition, the Festival seeks to innovate in proposals and captivates the community of Recife with the implementation of other actions beyond that expected, such as Courting on the street and the creation of an interaction space (with food and drink) and a store with several products for artists and general public. The Festival also seeks to aggregate the universities with the participation of students of Scenic Arts in some actions. With the encouragement of Funculture/Government of the State of Pernambuco and the important partnerships of the Bureau of Culture/City Hall of Recife, Centro de Formação e Pesquisa das Artes Cênicas Apolo/Hermilo (Apolo/ Hermilo Performing Arts Research and Training Center) and Sesc Pernambuco, the PalhaçAria Festival is currently an important agglutinating event of the arts, which sediments the city of Recife as a cultural pole also for the clownery world. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


FESTIVAL PALHAÇA NA PRAÇA (Clown Woman at the Square Festival) Laís e Thaís Oliveira • Cia Gêmea • Belo Horizonte/MG Photos by Ronaldo Ribeiro

The festival “Palhaça na Praça” (Clown Woman at the Square) was created with the intention of encouraging more clown women to perform in the public space and create this moment of change and exchange between the clown women sharing with the audience the trajectory, research and artistic repertoire of the clown woman. We have already held three editions, 2015, 2016 and 2017, in the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, and performed independently, the festival gathered around 6 thousand people, including artists, cultural producers, volunteers and the public. In fact, because we believe in the street as a democratic space lacking in art and feminine presence, we are each time more convinced that this festival is for women of courage who face the challenge of meeting the most varied public and showing all their power as a “Clown Woman in the Square”. In addition, the festival was an important tool to create bridges between clown women from different regions of Brazil and stimulating the study and practice of the clowning done by the women of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and region. 58

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With the growth of the last edition, we decided to postpone the fourth edition to 2019 and be able to handle all demand for production so that the Festival reaches more public and guarantees the quality to receive the clown women of the programming. The festival is held by Cia Gêmea, a circus-theater company that was born in the city of Confins, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The company has been working for six years in the city of Confins, Belo Horizonte and other cities of Minas Gerais, with projects that stimulate the occupation of public spaces, the formation of public, and the training of interested parties in the circus arts through workshops. The company was created in 2012, but prior to its creation, the members were already participating in cultural projects aimed at the population’s access to cultural assets. To integrate the program schedule of the Festival, we select the artists according to whom you are interested, and if you are willing to come, if you are reading is an interested person send your material by e-mail:


Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville (Meeting of Clowns of Joinville) Bia Alvarez • Joinville/SC Photo by Ale Mello

The Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville (Meeting of Clowns of Joinville) was born in 2016 in a very spontaneous way, based essentially on the human need to meet. In a post-presentation meeting, in the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, I hung out with many Clown Women and Clown Men of that city and during the conversation the desire was to be together watching our works, exercising this place of the meeting. As a Cultural Producer in Joinville, Santa Catarina, the city where I live, I proposed that we should organize a weekend with four shows, dividing all production assignments in an egalitarian way, and I was willing to take care of the local production. At that moment we were in four Clown Women and Clown Men co-creating what would become the I Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville (I Meeting OF Clowns of Joinville): Rhaisa Muniz, Drica Santos, Marcio Momesso, from Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, and me, from Joinville, Santa Catarina. We set a date and began the production of this “meeting”, and what happens thereafter is something that is beyond the explicable universe with the common logic. The news of this meeting began to spread and, to my surprise, astonishment and joy, I began to receive contacts from other people from all corners of the country, who also wanted to be here sharing these moments and my biggest fright was the maintenance of everyone’s desire to come even knowing that we did

not have any more elaborate production support. Thinking about what moved us from the beginning, we decided to hold the event in a fully collaborative way. This happened from April 21 to 24, 2016, the I Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville, with 15 shows from four different states of Brazil: Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Rio de Janeiro. We have the local support of the groups Essaé Cia and Circo Lúdico, with the support of AJOTE (Associação Joinvilense de Teatro – Joinville Association of Theater) and AMORABI (Associação de Moradores e Amigos do Bairro Itinga – Association of Residents and Friends of the Itinga Neighborhood). Outside artists were received in a solidarity housing system, and after paying the fixed production expenses, we equally divided all the entries of the box office and hat, the only financial resources that we raised that year. All the artists involved worked in some way on the dynamics of building this movement to meet. We opened spaces for debates about female clowning and street art, what put us in a place of listening and very rich exchange between Clown Women and Clown Men, among artists who are taking their craft to the street and to the theater. At the end of this first Meeting I felt that we had inhabited and built a very special environment, besides the realization and an event, we made a meeting starting from the collective desires to meet. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


Photo by Susane Sabino


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Moved by this same energy I started the realization of the II Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville (II Meeting of Clowns of Joinville). For this second edition the female protagonism was very much in evidence, in a meeting of mixed clowns, but entirely thought on gender equality, thus guaranteeing that the process of clown women has its granted space of speech, appropriation of the space also by right. The exchange was extremely rich, an opportunity for Clown Men to be talking directly with this universe that is the same and often seems so diverse, the human truth of the Clown Woman and the Clown Man. The place of the meeting was made, this time with a clear cut of gender, offering a specific day with the exhibition of the film “Achei o meu nariz” (I found my nose), with direction of Barbara Amádio, Diana Magalhães and Jacqueline Durans, from Rio de Janeiro, on female Clownery, and of the series “Palhaças do Mundo” (Clowns of the World), with the presence of Manuela Castelo Branco, from Distrito Federal, director of the series, conducting a debate about the series and statements by the directors of some of the most important female comedy festivals in the country, such as As Marias da Graça, Rio de Janeiro, directors of the Festival Esse Monte de Mulher Palhaça and Manuela Castelo Branco director of the Festival Palhaças do Mundo de Brasília (Festival Clown Women of the World of Brasília) where, with the presence of many Clown Men in the audience, we had a moment to reflect, together, on the presence of woman in the clownery, as well as the importance of the realization of festivals exclusively for women, among other issues in this sense. I feel that to think of these Meetings as a meeting and not as a festival has a very symbolic character, that dialogues with the origin from where it was born in 2016 and

with my perception and world, who believes in the meetings, in the real and direct relations as a form of a movement of humanitarian evolution. In this way, I realize that the most striking feature of the Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville, which I intend to maintain as long as I am responsible for its organization, is the establishment of an environment of open and frank dialogue, of the feminine and the masculine, opening up a listening space that the exclusively women’s festivals have been building so well until then. For being a woman and a clown, I understand that it is important to maintain this space, that we have arrived at a possible moment and fortunately I have been living it with the experience of these two Meetings of Clowns. The II Encontro de Palhaç@s de Joinville (II Meeting of Clowns of Joinville) was held from December 2 to 10, 2017, with 17 shows, three performances, a comedy cabaret, procession, film screening and discussion rounds. There were nine days of intense programming, of coexistence and meeting, with important supports such as SESC and Plataforma Eu Faço Cultura, among others that guaranteed the possibility of a greater support of production. The realization of this II Encontro de Palhaç@s nourished me even more in the sense that the art of clowning is, in essence, the art of relationship and that the main function of this Meeting is to open space for these dynamics and relationship, with the public also, but, essentially, with artists and their ways of acting in the world, women, men, transgenders and so many more, desiring and sowing this space of listening so that at some point we have only the Clownery as the essential art of crossing through laughter and lovely relationship.

A Special series of illustrations on signs and CLOWN WOMAN, by Driely Alves.

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Humor is intrinsic1to my survival . 62

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Julie Goell Julie Goell was born in Brooklyn on April 19, 1951, she was a comedian, musician, puppeteer, mime and longtime woman clown on the international stage. She had worked with music, cinema, television, theater, was an excellent teacher and a lover of Commedia Dell’Arte. She passed away on December 12, 2016, in Peaks Island, as a result of a neurodegenerative disease that gradually robbed her ability to run, walk, talk, but according to reports it was not able to steal her good humor and ability to reinvent herself. In the year 2009, I had the great pleasure of meeting Julie Goell. At the time, we were participating in the Festival Anjos do Picadeiro that took place in the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Julie was of impressive delicacy and gentleness. I had the opportunity to watch her spectacle and I was able to accompany her on walks, popsicles shopping, conversations, corridors and boat trips to get to know the island. (of Florianópolis) better. I admired her performance very much, I was delighted as she animated as many objects on the scene as a child playing to give life to things. A long time passed until I get to know that Julie had health problems, I had no idea how serious her condition was, and then I contacted her and her husband, Avner, and asked her if she would like to give us an interview. I was very happy with the answer, as Avner said, “Julie would love to be interviewed.” I sent her the questions and soon received her answers, “short and sweet”, as she herself said. After a while I understood that Julie was really very weak from her illness and certainly answered so many questions with great difficulty, but with the generosity and sweetness so peculiar to her and her clown. Julie passed away in December 2016 but left her contribution to our magazine! Here is a record of affection and recognition to this great artist who was and always will be JULIE GOEL.

P Hot os

Steve DiBartolomeo

1 I suggest you read the following articles to learn more about the history, difficulties and achievements of Julie Goell: and

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Michelle - Julie, I would like to know how and when did you begin your job with the clowns language? Julie - At age twenty-five I was performing mime in the streets of Rome, Italy. The mime being silent just wasn’t enough. I put on a red nose and never looked back. Michelle - What were your influence in preparing your work as woman clown? Julie - My influences were hard to come by. Back then there was Lucille Ball and Carol Burnette and a pair of other TV personalities. We had no idea what a female clown or mime would look like, and had to extrapolate a look for ourselves. Michelle - I read that you have experience with theater, commedia dell’arte, physical comedy, puppets, music, and another artistic languages. I would like to know how these languages intersect each other in your work as woman clown? How did they intersect each other in your craft? Julie- I used the string bass in “Carmen the Mopera” and have always incorporated little puppet buddies of some kind or another as they make convenient relationships when needed. As for commedia, I based Escamillo on Capitano. Michelle - I read an article wrote by Ana Carolina Sauwen – wrote to our magazine, issue number 3 – about the experience that she had working with Avner, where they work hard over a technique called “Eccentric Performing”. This technique was developed by Avner and you, Julie. Can you tell us more about this? Julie - You can read all about Eccentric Performing in my new book, Life in a Clown House, available at website or at Michelle - I watched your play “Carmen the Mopera”, in Brazil 2009. I realized that you don’t use the red nose as a sign, like some others american clowns. I would like to know what defines the clown to you, beyond a sign, such as a nose or exaggerated clothes? Julie - To me the clown is defined by her relationship to the world as she defines it. Michelle - After we know your job as actress, comic actress and woman clown, I would like to know how do you understand the craft of woman clown throughout history and today? How do you see this unfolding, this 64

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great movement of women clowns around the world? Julie - As we understand ourselves better we can begin to understand who we are as clowns. And there will be more of us, mark my words. Michelle - Julie, in Brazil we use the term “PalhaçA” to call a woman that is a clown. On our magazine, we are translating it by “woman clown”. But we would like to know how do you call your work: woman clown, clown, queer clown or any other term? And also, we would like to know how do you feel this movement and how this appears on your work as woman clown? Julie - I call my clown Julie. I don’t differentiate between male and female clowns. Sure, I had plenty of problems along the way clowning. It has been defined as a male art form. It is up to us to change this perception. Michelle - Did you face any difficulties in your career as a “woman clown”? Do you want to share some of these difficulties with us? Or have you always had good reception on this matter? Julie - My only difficulty was overcoming the assumption that I couldn’t possibly be funny. Michelle - Dear Julie, finishing, could you let a message to the women clowns that are beginning their careers, encouraging, making aware of this noble craft to be a woman clown. Julie - To those women who are beginning their career, I would say, just be yourself. Michelle - Julie, thank you once again. I wish we could see each other soon. I will always be rooting for you. See ya! Hugs from Clown Barrica and Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine.

e, “Dear Michell . rite much. w our magazine y ’t h n it a c w d k n c a lu Best I am very ill s a t e e w Short and s Best wishes, Julie” Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


A special about the Portuguese Women Clowns Organized by Eva Ribeiro1 and Catarina Mota2 Photos from personal archive

With an explosive awakening of the art of clowning, the last two decades have also led many women clowns to affirm the unique nature of their art in Portugal. United by genre and by strength of the transforming language they use, Portuguese women clowns are usually researchers and creative women who, in parallel to their work as clowns, are also actresses, storytellers, teachers, musicians, filmmakers, biologists, farmers... In Portugal the art of woman clown as a tool for social work is also quite remarkable and already quite ingrained. Of these social projects we can highlight the fundamental role of women clowns. Let us see the example of Operação Nariz Vermelho (Operation Red Nose) the largest organization of this kind in Portugal and which was founded by the woman clown Beatriz Quintella, who, “borrowed” from Brazil, in Portugal decided to install and launch this incredible ‘Operation’. This institution over the years has hosted many women clowns in their team and nowadays has a total of 28 men clowns and in the group there are eight women clowns. In Visita (The Visit), also founded


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by a lent woman clown, this time from Spain, Eva Sarmiento, a family of clowns – men and women – visit day centers and homes in Lisbon and Porto. The project has a team of 11 elements, four Men Clowns and seven Women Clowns. Also the projects Remédios do riso (Laughter Remedies), Rugas de Riso (Laughing Wrinkles) and the Palhaços d´Opital (Clowns O’hospital) have mixed teams with a strong feminine presence. The spaces of artistic presentation for their works spread a little throughout the country and in this matter, the art of clowning, has reachd a place of importance with the general public. Designed now by events such as circus festivals, street theater and, notoriously, for the emergence of meetings and shows dedicated exclusively to this language. However, there are still few financing and cultural structures to invest in the works of national women clowns. The specificity of language and the joviality of the movement still cause strangeness to programmers not knowing yet well where to “shelve” their crazy and sensitive creations. The street is still unknown territory for

Passionate about her red nose since 2006, she has been learning to be reborn in her clown, to laugh at herself and the world. She thanks to the mastery of national figures like Pedro Correia, Jorge Paxeco and Pedro Fabião and international ones like Jesus Jara, Virigina Imaz, Celia Ruiz, Alex Navarro and Caroline Dream, Jeff Johnson, Johny Melville, Tom Roos, Silvia Leblon, Adelvane Néia, John Beale, Eric Davis (Red Bastard) and the clown Tomate. She studies physical theater at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. She also guides courses where she shares her deep belief in the transforming art of clowning and loves to visit people where the isolation feels through the project A Visita (The Visit). She organizes with the Company Madame Nez Rouge Clown’s Nights in Lisbon and Porto and a series of Shows devoted to female clowning and national comedy. 1

I work as an actress, puppeteer and woman clown. I graduated in the Professional Course of Scenography, Costumes and Props of the Professional School of Arts. From 2011 to 2015 I, together with the actress and woman clown Eva Ribeiro, the female clowning Cia. Madame Nez Rouge, with which I created and performed several clown shows in Portugal, France and Argentina. I have been working as an actress, puppeteer and manipulator of objects in collaboration with Cia. Alma d’arame since 2012. Throughout my career I have worked with companies such as Echo Echo Dance Theater Company, Lua Cheia Teatro para Todos (Full Moon Theater for All), PIA (Artistic Intervention Projects), Companhia Caótica (Chaotic Company), Associação Fosso de Orquestra (Fosso Orchestra Association), Teatro do Elefante (Elephant Theater), among others. I had training with companies and artists such as Pepe Nunez, José Carlos Barros, João Calixto, Amândio Anastácio, Miguel Moreira, Karim Dakroub, Cia. Philippe Genty, Agnés Limbos, Ana Piu, José Carlos Garcia, Nuno Nunes, Catarina Câmara, Tom Roos, Rob Marchand, Nuno Pino Custódio, Teatro the band, among many others. In 2015 I had my premier solo “Chou!”, which I presented in Portugal, Uruguay and Brazil, also debuting my Be Master of Your Nose project. Since 2016 I have been part of the artistic project of social solidarity A Visita (The Visit). 2

most Portuguese women clowns. Most of them prefer the stages to meet the audience. Fleeing to this rule, there are clowns to ask you in marriage (“Aceitas?” (Accepted?), Marta Costa) or to create moments of ecstasy of pure improvisation absurd like Safaneta, in spectacles strongly marked by the interaction and the game with the public. Characterizing itself as an art that by nature is distinguished by sharing and meeting, in Portugal men clowns and women clowns cultivate the concept of a large family. Events such as the Encontro de Palhaços de Vila do Conde (Vila do Conde’s Clown Meeting), Semana dos Palhaços (Clowns’ Week), PalhaçARTE (Clown+ART) and Gargalhadas na Lua (Laughing on the Moon) aim not only to offer the art of clowning to their communities, but also to bring together professionals to foster this network of national and international dissemination. Amidst these Meetings, “born” by Maria Simões and the Descalças Cooperativa Cultural (Barefeet Cultural Cooperative), comes the unique Bolina - International Festival of Women Clowns that in its first edition in 2015 took place in the coast of the Island of Terceira in the Azores, gathering more than 40 women clowns from different countries. Biennial, the festival had its second edition in 2017 in Castelo de Vide in mainland Portugal.It traded the sea for donkey rides and again challenged national and international women clowns to meet with and to the community to show the uniqueness of the red nose in its artistic, communitarian and pedagogical aspects. These Meetings also encouraged support and solidarity among the women clowns in an attempt to strengthen these women and their projects. For this purpose it was created the International Network of Women Clowns, where women clowns of many nationalities have now been connected and in constant and direct interaction. Pioneer in the art of clowning, an inspirational figure, not only for women, but also for hundreds of young people who every year embrace the circus art at Chapitô Professional School, stands out Teresa Ricou, better known as Tété woman clown. It was also her that in 2008 launched the Women Clowns’ Cycle, shows of spectacles, among other activities, all designed to make known the work of international women clowns. On the stage of the tent artists such as Pepa Plana, Laura Herts, Marta Carbayo, Gardi Hutter, Charlotte Saliou, and others have passed. In 2014 the Cycle was dedicated to the Portuguese women clowns, in homage to its precursor Tété. Inspired and nourished by the detail in the exploration of their personal universe, the Portuguese women clowns surprise us when we talk about the drama of their spectacles. Most women clowns invest deeply in a poetic and intimate look, addressing themes such as loneliness, dream, aging, communication etc., where through the stories that succeed them we can realize the messages of utopia and the transformation of the human being. Approaching the ridiculous sensitively these spectacles are poetic and brave since they are the result of a cultural baggage that we are only able to understand looking at the reality of the Portuguese woman and their history of the last decades. When already in America or even in Brazil the women gave the Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


cry of “Ipiranga”, here in this small country bathed by the Atlantic, people still lived in the reality of the New State and fascism that lasted until 1974. There were decades of stark repression and censorship in a society subjected to colonialist thought, where the main concerns did not include free Feminine thought. In this context in which the humor in Portugal was reduced to the comedy of customs, sum up the Christian morality that always forced the Portuguese woman to the modesty. The Portuguese woman could be a housewife in the city or a peasant midwife, nevertheless she was always in charge of the house and the education of the children, away from the public sphere and social decisions. Needless to say, there was no room for laughter or humor that would place women as the protagonist of their own themes. From this baggage comes our cultural identity that gives wings to the imagination of the new generation of women clowns. Since the suicide of a woman who seeks love and notoriety (Madame Kill, Eva Ribeiro) or a woman waiting for a man who stubbornly does not arrive (With love, waxed paper and marker, Susana Cecílio) or even the vision of a woman who bends over the meanders of power to which we are silently confronted daily (The Chair, Anabela Mira). In the clothes and scenery we almost always realize that these women speak of a very Portuguese universe, filled with loneliness, in private spaces, marked by the idea of hard work or by a certain melancholy so characteristically ours. They talk about the search for marriage or for solitude... of an empty house, the household chores or just the neighbor’s chicken – which is always better than mine, (My neighbor’s chicken, Graça Ochoa). They are women who heal and heal each other, who transform and transform around them, they give life and they are reborn in a transgressive poetry that brings with it the laughter of freedom for the Portuguese woman. They are Women, Artists, Portuguese, Women Clowns... they are what they dream to be.


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MARIA SIMÕES • Castelo de Vide “Being a woman clown is a difficult and responsible exercise of extreme freedom. It is living in a constant tightrope of emotions, always alert, always available to play with everything with everyone and with myself. Being a woman clown is still a good reason to live a very long life. And it is to thank every day the wonderful smiles that give me the people I meet. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is suddenly touching hearts. And keep that song alive as I get older! Three indispensable items for my clown: a handmade clown nose (in my face or hidden in my pocket), a suitcase, something on my head (from a hairpin to my hat) to protect myself. My clown dreams of real utopias, a world made of peace, frank joy, equality among all people, happy lives, many smiles, beautiful silences.” EVA SARMIENTO • Madrid “Being a woman clown is the greatest freedom in the world! It is to have fun to amuse, it is the place where I am best with myself. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is to show and know how to play the truth always. Three indispensable objects for my clown: a hat, a lipstick, and a discreet small bottle of soap bubbles. My clown dreams of being a wonderful woman clown.” ANABELA MIRA • Peniche “Being a woman clown is everything that is nothing. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is to have all the techniques and time to be ‘just’ alive. Three objects that are indispensable to my clown: a nose that rests well, shoes with style and much desire to be with the public. My clown dreams of what comes to her in the moment.” MARTA COSTA • Porto “Being a woman clown is to be able to laugh at myself, to like making mistakes and take pleasure in fall, to make others laugh. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is to make someone cry laughing, and thus contribute to the toning of your abs and facial muscles! Three indispensable objects to my clown: a broom, a ‘naperon’ (crochet cloth) and two balloons. My clown dreams of being able to turn on the light of a dark room with two palms.” SUSANA CECÍLIO • Lisboa “Being a woman clown is to accept: myself, the other, the objects, to accept: ridicule and imperfection. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is to be in the here and now to say, yes! Three indispensable objects to my clown, paper and marker. My clown dreams of traveling, having lots of friends and eating oranges.”

TERESA RICOU • Lisboa “Being a woman clown is a very serious thing! The biggest challenge I meet as a woman clown is to keep the flame burning! Three indispensable objects to my clown: suitcase, chicken and shoes. My clown dreams of getting back on track!” GRAÇA OCHOA • Setúbal “Being a woman clown is putting the world upside down. The biggest challenge is to make the other, the public, dream, poeticize... see the world upside down. Three indispensable objects to my clown could be, perhaps the hat, but in fact I do not have, they vary, they were once a broom, a bread, a cabbage, a plastic bag with her belongings. My clown dreams of utopia.” TANIA SAFANETA • Sintra “Being a woman clown is my life purpose and a ‘state’, a magnificent energy of simply Being. Playing was my dream that came true, it is what I love to do. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is whenever I step in, it’s a challenge. Now the biggest, biggest, hum... The TIC TAC has no sense of time. Often! Three indispensable objects to my clown? She walks with many objects, but they are all expendable. My clown dreams of not losing the ability to dream and to continue to provide HUMAN BEINGS and creatures alike, more absurd moments than life, but with a good analgesic.” EVA RIBEIRO • Porto “Being a woman clown is to celebrate life among human beings by fragility and imperfection, to be the freedom and to desire the impossible. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is to denounce the bestiality of the human being and to remember the love. To be able to make laughter a powerful weapon of transformation. Three indispensable objects to my clown: a musical instrument, my shoes, my duster. My clown dreams of being eternal.” CATARINA MOTA • Setúbal “Being a woman clown is looking at the world with compassion and humanity, presenting anywhere to any public and learning a lot and always. The biggest challenge as a woman clown is to put egos aside and let the essential and simple be the focal point of my world. Three indispensable objects to my clown are lately a nose, a broom and an empty stage. My clown dreams of being loved by everyone.”

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BEING MEXICAN WOMEN CLOWNS A special with women clowns from Mexico By Darina Robles1 and the Rede de Palhaças Mexicanas (Mexican Women Clowns Network)

“Sometimes life is not easy”, it is one of the recurring phrases of my clown, Atanasia. I know, like Atanasia, that life is sometimes not easy, but it is wonderful. Atanasia and I know that being a woman clown is sometimes not easy, but it is wonderful. I started to want to be a woman clown in the year 1999 thanks to a book I found in a French library: “Clowns et Farceurs”. When I read the book, my heart was beating fast, I realized, and I wondered laughing: Do you want to be a clown? My heart beat stronger than ever, and with complete astonishment I promised it earnestly: we’ll be woman clown. Returning to my hometown, Mexico City, I did not know where to start. I felt like an apprentice woman clown thrown into space flight. Would I find my clown in outer space? In Mexico I did not know any clowns, I only had the presentation card of the children’s party clown Mágico Margarito who when heard from me: “Margarito, I want to be a clown!” contacted me with the clowns movement of children’s parties. At the same time, I found workshops for clowns at festivals and other workshops that would complement my training as a woman clown. I conducted an investigation into indigenous communities in my country, about their scenic art and humorous characters. Little by little I would meet the few people who were like me in Mexico in the quest to be a clown. I started participating in the spring movement of hospital clowns. In the journey of finding my clown, I would be happy to survive the challenges of navigating a profession under construction. I ignored it when I was told that women can not make people laugh; I was not discouraged when I was told that I should have studied Bachelors degree in circus or theater, rather than art history, to be a woman clown; I resisted when my father refused to accept that I was a clown and introduced me to his friends as a ‘clon’. In 2004, I was able to carry out my intuition that, after all, I could be a professional woman clown. I started training at École Philippe Gaulier. With my master Philippe, I found my woman clown, Atanasia. She was not in 70

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1 Theatrical and social woman clown with a degree in Art History. Founder and clown of the Compañía Atanasia, Llaven nü Nomad Festival of Intercultural Clown and Center of Laughology. She is a member of the French-Mexican company Trasatlancirque (2011). Founder of the Mexican Women Clown Network. Training at École Philippe Gaulier, France (2004-2005). She has performed clowning workshops with: Avner Eisenberg, Cal McCrystal, Daniele Finzi Pasca, Gardi Hutter, Jennifer Miller, Leo Bassi, Ricardo Pucceti, among others. She has performed in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Scotland, France, USA, Peru, Sweden, Tokyo, Uruguay, Zimbabwe. Since 2010, she has given the workshop “Where’s my clown?” in Mexico and other countries. E-mail:

outer space, but in my heart, in my pleasure and in my beautiful and vulnerable humanity. On the last day of class, I asked my guru Philippe an advice for Atanasia, he told me: You are on the right path, now may the complicity with the public help Atanasia continue the encounter with your humor and language. So I started with the creation of numbers and then a spectacle. I wrote for Atanasia, directed and presented ourselves in all the spaces that invited us: chains, nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, Zapatista communities, street children, small independent theater forums etc. I also started sharing my learning through my “Where’s my clown?” workshop. And so the wonderful years passed. In 2016 I had the great joy to participate in the II International Meeting of Women Clowns of São Paulo/Brazil with my spectacle “The creation of the world” and my workshop “Where’s my clown?”. I have met, my now clowning sisters, my woman clown’s heart companions. Returning to Mexico City in 2017, I called, at the request of Andrea Macera, the Mexican women clowns to form the Mexican Women Clowns Network. My language as a woman clown was inspired by my indigenous roots. Learning about the humor and worldview of the indigenous communities of Mexico, I learned about their community organization and tequio. Tequio is a job, a knowledge, a follow-up that you give to your community for being part of it, even if you are a migrant. For me, calling the creation of the Mexican Women Clowns Network and cultivating it is to give my tequio to my community, to my community of Mexican women clowns. We are a very small community, but very passionate about our work. The beginning of the network was to locate us, to get to know each other, we made Varietés (Cabaret), a visit to a hospital and then a picnic. We meet and talk about what our woman clown needs most and what the network can help to channel it. Thus, from the first meeting Paola Avilés invited us to have her cultural space called Laboratorio Cracovia 32 (<http://www.cracovia32. com/>) be our home, a nest for the Network. Our next actions will be aimed at supporting us in our creative processes. So we will have a Varieté fixed bimonthly with a creative laboratory; with which, in each Varieté of the Mexican Women Clowns Network, we will present spectacles worked together in our laboratory. In the same way, we want to have workshops and international guests to help us cultivate our languages and women clowns. “The Mexican Women Clowns Network is very important to me. It was a very good idea to gather clowns of different trajectories and disciplines: children’s parties, hospital, scenic, circus. It is an excellent opportunity to promote the work of all, to get to know each other and to become known; support what each of us does and continue to explore with our women clowns. The world is our scenario.”, Chispola. I think listening is one of the best virtues as a woman clown. Listening to my clownish heart, I concluded that for women clowns, for the art of making people laugh and move, to take care of ourselves and the world and to be happy to live in it, it is indispensable in every society that there are women clowns and the best way is to unite and support locally and worldwide the professionalization of our artistic work, with loving and maternal accompaniment. First of all, a thousand thanks to the Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine, Michelle Silveira and the Brazilian women clowns. In order to make this collaboration, I asked the women clowns of the Mexican Network to share a few words about being a woman clown. My story ends here and continues with my fellow women clowns, reports about female clownwork in Mexico, which I wish to continue in other editions of the Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine. Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine


MARÍA ELENA ROMERO HERNÁNDEZ Woman Clown Chispola “My clown is myself. I learned to accept that I am a very ridiculous person and that learning is with me at all times, it gave me as a clown: acceptance and selflove. When I tried not to be ridiculous, it was more ridiculous and I understood that this is me. I do not fight more against it and now I enjoy it, although it has cost me a lot of work.”

NOHEMÍ ESPINOSA LUNA Woman Clown Nohemí Espinosa “As a woman clown, Josephine Backer was a great inspiration. When I saw her, I told myself: I want to have this madness, I want to have this audacity. The thunderous madness of that woman on stage enchanted me, and I think of that when I make a number, I want the audience to see the madness that is inside me.” DANIELA SÁNCHEZ REZA Woman Clown Lolita Bolita “What I love most about being a woman clown is being able to make a mistake and laugh at myself, to be and share a moment together, sharing the desire to live and pursue our dreams, to be as happy as possible! New cultures, friends and incredible artists (and good hats in my street performances).” IRAZEMA HERNÁNDEZ Woman Clown Ira “Meeting the clown was the connection I needed to interact with the world. It allowed me to recognize myself and find the pleasure of humor, of laughter, of wonder, of curiosity, of error, of failure and clumsiness, of my clumsiness. It allowed me to create spaces of trust and play so that, for a moment, people can enjoy, laugh, express themselves and be surprised.”


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SABINA GUZMÁN PIAZZA Woman Clown Pachouli “Once my mother asked me: What do you want to be when you grow up, Sabi? To which I replied: Aztec. I remember the first time I saw the Mexican dancers, I was a little girl and the image of the dance was etched in my head. So, on my mother’s question, it was easy for me to respond. I was hoping to get those dreams out of my mouth. From this memory was born my character. I am someone who does not exist anymore. This is very tragicomic. However, it is a way of seeing life, you can recreate things from the imaginary or the past. The Aztec gods come to life.”

FABIOLA VARGAS • Woman Clown Lola “Lola taught me a lot: to see with my heart, to continue to surprise myself with small things, a smile, the joy of a child when she sees how to play with bubbles, a hug, that doing crazy things that make people happy is what better we can do, that we all have a gift, something special that we can share and that if we all give it, however small we think we are, it will be transformed into something immense and wonderful: A revolution of love.”

GLORIA D. NUÑEZ VAZQUEZ Woman Clown Esferita “I love to see the human being laughing. Enjoying and sharing the little things with which we laugh and are happy.” SOPA DE CLOWN Nubia Alfonso and Anamaría Moctezuma Nubi and Tita “If I could explain in words why I’m clown, then I would not be one.” Nubia Alfonso “Many years ago I attended a course of clowns and was told to wear a red nose. I went downtown not knowing exactly where to buy it, when I was walking down the street, a man suddenly passed me and asked me: Don’t you buy clown noses? I bought only one, which is what I use so far, I tried other noses, but I didn’t like anyone.” Anamaría Moctezuma

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PAOLA AVILES • La pao yasa ve uste “For me, being a clown means walking the path of my authentic self. I do not think being a clown is more or less than any other profession. I wish every job had a little clown to cheer up at any moment. I really like my comedic occurrences. Many do, others I just laugh at how absurd it is to think such a thing. Being a clown introduced me to the best travel companion of my life.”

LAS GRAMELOTS Vanessa Nieto Terrazas, Karen Tlahuizo, Claudia Vélez Women Clowns Bracho, Son, Maravilla “The most important thing for us, producers and implementers, is to be able to contact people from the vulnerability and availability that clown training gives us, we love that people find a space for laughter and reflection at the same time and also why not a little crying and an open heart.” PERLA DELGADO • Cascabel “Being a clown, besides an academic or theatrical definition, is to find the beauty of the world and the human being and share it with love and joy. It is making friends with fear and failure. It is to have the power to stop time and just matter the moment and the people with whom you are. It is freedom, it is to celebrate life, to love, to share and to smile.” ADRIANA MEDINA • Adri “The Clown is for me a deep space to look at myself and share with the other. Embracing the vulnerability from which the most powerful force emerges, I build my characters and play with my Clown. I allow the joy of existing to arise! I find myself through an unconditional embrace, where I can share with the other and play in the mirrors, look at each other and move together and play!”

PATTY VÁZQUEZ • Doctora Simplycita “It is the magic of Being... it is the magic of dreaming... it is the magic of healing. For me, the clowning arrived late (although I was always a clown, I did not practice in a professional way) and it came to give a fifty therapist a turn to the possibilities of being an instrument for healing confused hearts... Being a clown was the best choice of my life.” VAINILLA NAVARRO “For me, the clown (from the verb to clown, from the noun clown) is a space of connections of love, of gratitude to life, of sharing the simple certainty of being alive with others. An infinite playing space.” 74

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Foto: Nti Uirá

“Hail, clown woman full of grace, the Lord laughs with thee, blessed are thou among humans and blessed is the fruit of thy laugh, our glow. Holy clown woman mother of emotion, Pray for us those who’ve lost the grace to laugh, Now and at all times. Amem” A gift from Robson Siqueira to Felícia de Castro

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Profile for Miguel Vassali

Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine - N04 - 2018  


Palhaçaria Feminina Magazine - N04 - 2018