At the end of April I spent a week together with 14 adventurers at the Spring 2018 Intercultural workshop conducted by Robert McNeer and Mirco Trevisan at the Luna nel Pozzo (Ostuni) – a really magical place created by Robert McNeer and his wife Pia Wachter.
Five days of play, exploration, dance, experimentation accompanied by music, sounds, voices. Different languages, different sounds and different landscapes. Also different abilities.
Fourteen apprentice clowns discovering the world, themselves, the others, the beautiful, free nature which makes the Luna nel Pozzo the special place that it is.
Nature is free here not because it is wild, but because— carefully tended— it is left free to express itself under a loving gaze which is respectful of the vital space necessary to growth, but prepared to intervene if necessary. I never saw a fragile branch here which was not sustained.
And we 14 were offered the same freedom. Accompanied gently by Robert and Mirco as we interacted with objects, hats, plants, ladders, flowers, colored cloths, costumes and red noses.
And as the world took on unexpected form and colors, as our bodies expanded, gradually an interior space began appearing, pushing forward, inviting change, opening. Something which demands our attention as it manifests. One can be suddenly overwhelmed by this tenderness, not always easy to manage.
Perhaps it was the unexpected kisses on our hair from Massimo, our master clown with Down syndrome. Perhaps the long eyelashes of Lorenzo, superbaby of Mirco and Susanna, while he watched the stage action from my arms.
Perhaps the uncombed beauty of this place. Or everything together. At some point I asked myself whether I had ever in my life played like this, with the liberty I sense here.
When had I forgotten that play is letting go of responsibility?
Who had convinced me that letting go of responsibility is absolute evil, chaos, loss of control, egoistic, brutal individuality?
Why so hard to accept that, together with a sense of obligation/responsibility, we are blessed with a capacity to follow a new rhythm, new forms, to see in a different way…
As far as I understand, the clown doesn’t know “long-term” or prudence, the clown doesn’t feel threatened by the world, thereby seeing no need for self-defense. The clown knows that the world gives her what she needs, whatever needs might come up. As in other artistic endevours, the clown grows in that creative leavening.
Letting go, here and now! And when you are pondering this opportunity, what a perfect time to meet the diversely-abled clown. A triple arial flip, why not? An occasion for which nothing is prepared, and for which nothing can possibly prepare you.
Will my sense of responsibility dominate, insisting on my supposed superiority, or will my clown come out and enjoy herself happily, unconcerned with the rules? I got an answer when I saw Robert running to offer a red nose to Mara, when she unexpectedly jumped onstage to dance.
I see you, I comprehend you, I welcome you.
Diversity is a strength of nature, there is no up or down.
I feel very fortunate to have met people in my life who have the constancy, the discipline and the calling to help the world to bloom.
Experiencing the capacity which love has, to leave the other free (thereby freeing also myself). I feel a great gratitude to those who show, with their own lives, that this love is possible, who make it real.
– Paola Gennari