It's no secret that coulrophobia is a real thing. And it makes sense. An irrational fear of clowns stems from the bizarre fact of their hyper real presence in the world. Clowns push out against the fabric of reality in a way we are not used to. They mock social mores, they seem simultaneously ignorant of and completely focused on human frailty. They point out our weaknesses and laugh at our strengths. They are anti-heroes of the mundane.
Yet it is clear they hold a superpower. That power is vulnerability. For many performers, clown work is the ultimate challenge. In the work of finding one's clown, you lay yourself bare. You expose all your weaknesses and prides for all to see, and use them as fuel for the creation of a character that is built on the phenomenon of failure. Until we release and let go of our fear of being seen, the clown will refuse to appear. But when they do, something miraculous occurs: we become lighter than air and able to fly through life with a buoyancy and joy unmatched by everyday life.
Traditionally, the clown, the court jester for example, was the only person who could tell the King the truth without loosing his head. Their job was not just to provide entertainment, but to see through to the heart of the matter and reveal what lay behind the masks that people present to one another. The fool mocked the duplicitous nature of human kind and pulled the masks off to see what was really going on. Only then could the King make a clear decision. Maybe that's what democracy needs right now!
This is not easy stuff. And, clearly, for many it is not a laudable goal. But it's hard to deny the power and force behind the seemingly benign and sometimes discomforting presence of the clown. For the individuals who seek a deeper relationship with themselves and the awesome power of vulnerability, this work holds limitless treasures.