Featured Artist : Leah Abel

This week’s featured artist is Leah Abel. Leah has performed with Clowns Without Borders for over 12 years. She brings a wacky sense of humor, foam roller, and giant appetite to every program she’s part of. One of Leah’s special skills is finding whoever is in charge (school principal, director of a refugee camp) and bringing them onstage. 

Do you wear a nose when you perform?

Yes, usually! But sometimes if I see that it makes people nervous, I take it off. I also work as a hospital clown, and I don’t always wear a nose there. It feels like it is my job to see if it is comfortable for the folks I am working with, and if it is okay (even if it is weird) then YES, I wear it. And if not, I am not tied to it. I mean, it is tied around my face, but you know what I mean.

What is your favorite clown prop?

My clown partners are my favorite prop. But, I never objectify anyone.

Other than that, I love wearing two sets of pants, so I can do a classic pants drop.

I also love small magic for between shows. Aka, I like something BIG, and something small. Lately, I have been carrying around a big life-like rainbow trout fish. AND it makes such a great “Whomp” noise when I wack someone on the shoulder with it.

What’s a favorite memory from working with CWB?

Working with you (and everyone that I’ve worked with). I don’t know, how do I choose?

Like I said before, I work as a Hospital Clown, I perform at community and corporate events doing duo aerials, stilting and walk-around AND run a small social circus non-profit. AND I JUST LOVE WORKING WITH CWB SOOO MUCH.

CWB influences and informs all the other great circus work I get to do. I am still friends with people I went on tours with, and with some of the people from the partner organizations we worked with. For me, it’s all about the relationships and connections we make.

Andres, Naomi and Leah stand nose-to-nose
What are your currently working on ?

I am the ED pf Circus UP, an organization dedicated to making circus more accessible in Boston. The mission of Circus Up is: Circus Up uses circus arts to overcome social barriers and build community with people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Our Vision: A world where inclusion is the model, access is the norm, and play, creativity, and diversity are celebrated.

Clowns Cry on a Clowns Without Borders Tour
What’s something you learned from another CWB artist?

On a trip with Selena and Lucho to Haiti many years ago, we had a lot of funny moments of translation. Sometimes it seemed like we were having conversations about “can you drink milk at night.” And I learned in fact, that yes, you CAN “drink milk in the night.” Lucho did so every night. And, just wow- who knew???

What question do you wish I had asked?

I wish you asked me when I should expect you (Naomi) to come over and finish doing the dishes. There are only like three in the sink, but one is sooo sticky with the crud of a fish and mango waffle that didn’t turn out like I had hoped. So, when are you coming over?


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