November 22, 2009
Written by Gwen:
Project Colombia just finished its third day of performances and I am very, very excited and happy. We have already performed before approximately 2,000 children and adults! The children we are performing before live in orphanages, foster-homes, and communities so poor that many have no electricity or water in their homes. Our audiences live within Bogota, on the surrounding mountainsides, and in villages close by. Today we performed in Giradot, (a small town about three hours away by car), at the rodeo grounds. In spite of their extreme needs, all our audiences have laughed and played with us with a generosity that cannot be quantified.
This project is such a special opportunity for CWB: USA because two Colombians, Lucho and Wilmar, and one Chilean, Yuri, are collaborating with us, generously volunteering their time in support of our cause. These clowns are amazing! They juggle, play music, and are totally hysterical to watch! Additionally, this expedition boasts CWB: USA participants with outstanding clown credibility. They are Barnaby King (Clowning as Transformative Practice), Adrian Mejia (Chiapas) and Gwendolyn Rooker (Egypt and Sudan)! These are the kindest funniest people, and the children adore them!
In two and a half days we created a show that has elements of an adventure story, thwarted love, all interwoven with excellent music. One of the children’ favorite parts was created by Adrian, Barnaby, and Wilmar. The clowns want to get somewhere but have no transportation, so a trunk becomes a motorcycle. This sequence captivates the children utterly, and they recreate motorcycle noises with enthusiasm.
The sweet but sad part of the show is inspired by a Mexican folk song that we sing together towards the end of the show, entitled La Llorona. La Llorona, or crying woman, is a recurring character in Latin-American culture. In our variation of this theme, I play a crying clown who wants a husband, but can never find one. In the end, my clown marries an audience member, (usually a teacher or man of authority), who is transformed into a clown with a little help from my friends. I walk through the crowd proudly introducing my new husband as the children congratulate us and shake our hands. The clown wedding is very sweet!
Thank you for all the support you show CWB: USA.