"Talent does you no good unless it is recognized by someone else." - Robert Half
Skill is often considered a component of talent. For that reason many magicians and clowns include a demonstration of skill in their performances. For example, during the International Humanitarian Clown Show at the recent World Clown Association Convention in Borneo, Ben Christensen performed "Two on a Chair" with his father, Randy Christensen. Ben was the less intelligent Auguste clown paired with his father's authoritarian Classic Whiteface character. After that routine, Ben performed a very accomplished juggling ring act. He started off by doing a linking ring routine using his juggling rings and ended by juggling five rings. By the finish of his act nobody in the audience could doubt that Ben was a very talented juggler. Perceived talent earns the audience's respect leading to better response. That is the key to a clown being able to entertain older audiences. A talented clown is perceived as being more than somebody just acting silly in order to amuse young children.
Use this link to see an article from the Borneo Post with photos of Ben in action.
Borneo Post Article
The desire to have their talent recognized motivates many entertainers to enter competitions. I felt that the clowns from Asia who participated in the WCA Convention in Borneo were extremely talented. I was very impressed watching them work. I was pleased that the judges from America recognized their talent and rewarded them many of the medals distributed during the Awards banquet.
A way you can promote the art of clowning and other variety arts is to recognize the talents of others. I had the honor of producing and directing the International Humanitarian Clown Show at the WCA Convention. Sam Tee, a WCA member from Malaysia, recommended some of the acts that were in the show. Richard Snowberg, the convention chairman, arranged for some of the acts. I selected the rest. Backstage I noticed that everyone seemed to be honored to be part of the show. There was a page in the convention program with photos of all of the performers. Each performer went around and got everyone else to autograph that page of their program. They recognized the talent of the other acts and were thrilled to be part of the group. They appreciated that being invited to perform was recognition of their talents. I was flattered that Richard Snowberg trusted me to be in charge of this show because he recognized my talent at producing shows. I was glad that I had the opportunity to demonstrate to the others that I recognized their talents.
A demonstration of traditional cultural performing arts of Borneo was included in the Welcome Party at the WCA Convention in Borneo. An entertainer from Borneo did an act with two audience volunteers. The act was built around using a blow gun to burst balloons. I don't think the entertainer would technically be classified as a clown, but his act certainly had a lot in common with clown acts. In this particular performance he had one volunteer who was a little too energetic, but he handled the situation well. The performers were posing for photographs afterwards so I took the opportunity to tell him that I thought he was very funny and a talented entertainer. I could tell that he was pleased because he presented me with one of his blow darts as a souvenir and offered to let me wear his headdress and ceremonial collar while posing for a photograph together.
When planning an act, how can you include a demonstration of skill? What else can you do to display your talent? How can you recognize the talents of others? What can you do to encourage them by letting them know you recognize their talents? How can you express your admiration for them?