Introducing the Clown

 Registration is closed for this event
March 16th, 2013 1:00 PM   to   5:00 PM
Co-sponsor: Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory
Introducing the Clown
Facilitated by Reka Polonyi & Jennifer Sargent

The workshop will introduce participants to the fundamentals of Clown—we will take a moment to enjoy and relish how ridiculous we are! Whether it is our human physicality, mannerisms, environment, our ideas, decisions, the world, the universe, there are plenty of things we might consider ridiculous. If we could.

Clowning offers a profound state of freedom and authenticity, which allows us to change our fear of ridicule into the act of laughing at ourselves...and everything else. We take a risk and let go of all intentions; we simply bathe in our unique folly and when we play we don't ask why. It's the only time we don't need to know why we're doing something.

We all have a Clown; who is ready to fail, who is honestly baffled and terribly courageous.

This workshop will offer the space to develop our sense of play—something we are rarely allowed to do anymore—through improvisation, status play, love for absurdity and personal creativity, individually and within a group. We will explore the contradictions between the fear of failure and the joy of play, and savor the pleasures and possibilities that exist in a state of bafflement.

No clown, theater or drama experience needed, but please do write to TOPLAB at with any questions or to let us know you will be attending.

Reka Polonyi is a French-Hungarian practitioner who first bumped into Clowning when living in Cuenca, Ecuador. She received training by Carlos Gallego, an École Jacques Lecoq graduate. She founded Footmumblers, an international ensemble dedicated to foot mime (the actors are hidden) and clown in street performances. Later she was trained specifically as a Clown Doctor according to the Austrian Rote Nasen clown doctor teachings, by Magyar Bohocok a Beteg Gyerekert Allapitvany based in the Heim Pal General Hospital, Budapest, Hungary. Together with a colleague from Clowns Without Borders, Yvette Feuer, and with a touring Clown Company, Trambulin Theatre, Hungary, she was also involved in community clown projects with young Roma populations. Reka has been researching the therapeutic qualities of clown primarily within refugee communities. Since her graduate studies in London, Reka is a professional Social Theater practitioner, facilitating community engagement and mobilization specifically with immigrant, asylee and refugee communities in the UK, Ecuador and New York City. She works partially with forms of Theater of the Oppressed, and has collaborated with TOPLAB in workshops with Occupy Wall Street and during the Left Forum in 2012.

Jennifer Sargent is a New York-based physical actor, creator of devised work, and the Artistic Director of Vagabond Inventions since 2008. Ms. Sargent has originated, directed, and co-devised six full-length theater shows (four of them clown-theater pieces) and many short works that have been performed across the US and in seven different countries, all through ensemble-based collaboration with other artists. While living in Paris for nearly five years, Ms. Sargent was the co-founder and co-director of Théâtre Déséquilibrium, an international 8-member ensemble that experimented with open-air and street theater. She has worked alternately as an actor, writer, coach, and/or director with various physical theater companies including Tuning Fork, Les Tirors Noirs, and Matador Productions in Paris; and Trusty Sidekick, The Sweet Can Circus, The LITE Company, and SaBooge Theater in the U.S. In New York City, she has performed devised shows at The Chocolate Factory, HERE, Abrons Arts Center, and The IRT Theater, among others. She has performed in five of the Brick Theater’s New York Clown Theatre Festivals, including hosting two Cabaret Nights for the festival. Her clown duo “The LeRoy Sisters” has appeared at over a dozen NYC venues and across the American South. She completed the two-year training program at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris and holds a BA from Oberlin College, Ohio. Ms. Sargent is currently a member of the New Victory Theater’s Teaching Artist Ensemble and has been a guest teacher at Oberlin College and Loyola University. Her website is at

Sliding scale: $35 - $65