Send in the clowns

by Charles Stirton August. 11, 2007 5494 views

Send in the clowns

I have been fascinated by clowns since I attended my first circus aged four. When I was 7 my parents used to dress me up as a clown and I would perform for other small children at events run by Rotary International. I remember observing that when people were laughing joyfully they totally forgot themselves and their real essence radiated out from them. This memory has stayed with me and inspired me all my life. Laughter and humour make life totally bearable. Later when I was 8 I was dressed up as a girl for a fancy dress party and at the end of the party when all the prizes had been given out I was given a special prize for helping the other children. My mother pointed out to the organisers that I was a boy. No one had realised. So they gave me a special prize for camouflage! I was in effect a clown.

The most moving theatre experience I have ever had was attending the manic and anarchistic clown show created by Slava Polunin [] called Snow Show. If you ever have the chance to attend one of his events YOU MUST GO. The man is a genius. The show sort of started, and sort of ended. There was an interval I think? Here is a scene from the end when they throw balloons into the audience. [] and this is what it was like in the audience [].

Song Video

"Send in the Clowns" is a song by Stephen Sondheim, from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. It is a slow, mournful ballad, in which the character Desiree reflects on the ironies and disappointments in her life. The title refers to a phrase reputedly used in a circus when an unforeseen disaster had occurred, with the clowns being sent in to distract the audience from the problem. Alternatively, the title could refer to the practice in vaudeville theatre of sending the clowns on to the stage to distract the audience after a particularly bad act, or to the practice of sending in clowns at a rodeo in order to divert danger from a fallen rodeo cowboy. (Wikipedia).

There are so many versions of the song Send in the Clowns to choose from but I think Shirley Bassey’s version is my favourite []. Here is this magnificent Welsh singer singing her version of Send in the Clowns.

I also love the pathos in this GERMAN version Wo Sind die Clowns [] by Zarah Leander, and the deep feeling of the SWEDISH Var är min clown [] by Frida.

Words of the Song SEND IN THE CLOWNS:

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
My fault I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want.
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer,
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Well, maybe next year.

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There are 13 comments , add yours!
Charles Stirton 13 years, 2 months ago

Your'e right [b]Mugsycat[/b]. The clown is a bit creepy. He stood there for 20 minutes a time without flinching before changing postion.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Carley 13 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I think that there is an element of menace beneath most clowns..... which is probably why so many kids are afraid of them!
Anyway, this shot is both really nice and really intriguing...for all those layers of meaning that you mentioned.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Sean 13 years, 2 months ago

This clown is a little creepy.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Cherax 13 years, 2 months ago

This clown looks vaguely menacing. Send in the crowds because he doesn't seem to have an audience.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Charles Stirton 13 years, 2 months ago

I own up here to a visual pun. The 'clown' is indeed a jester. Well done [b]Photopoet[/b].

Wkipedia says: [i]A jester or fool is a specific type of clown mostly associated with the Middle Ages. In societies where the Freedom of Speech was not recognized as a right, the court jester - precisely because anything he said was by definition "a jest" and "the uttering of a fool" - could speak frankly on controversial issues in a way in which anyone else would have been severely punished for, and monarchs understood the usefulness of having such a person at their side. Still, even the jester was not entirely immune from punishment, and he needed to walk a thin line and exercise careful judgement in how far he might go - which required him to be far from a "fool" in the modern sense.[/i]

In this picture we have a medieval jester in a modern context in front of a medieval cathedral and a modern crowd so there are levels of subtext in my posting.

But then those of you who stop by from time to time know that nothing is ever as straight-forward in my postings as it seems.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Txerra Cirbian 13 years, 2 months ago

Ha, ha, ha... very funny! Molt divertit... A Barcelona, a les Rambles, també n'hi ha d'aquests personatges :)

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Lynda 13 years, 2 months ago

He's a rather frightening looking clown. Perhaps he's a jester??parsing words. Great photo.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Colin 13 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the links to those clips. I have always loved the Judy Collins version, just brought tears to my eyes, listening to it. I haven't heard it for ages.
Cheers :)

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Peter 13 years, 2 months ago

Nice post. Clowning seems to be closely connected to our humanity - to the humour but also the tragedy of life.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Colin 13 years, 2 months ago

My all time favourite [i]real clown[/i] was Red Skelton, a genius in his own right!

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Jendayee 13 years, 2 months ago

Then may be you should look for Sarah Vaughan version !! it's a killer ! that's for sure my favorite and my fav song of hers !

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Charles Stirton 13 years, 2 months ago

Real live photo taken in Barcelona in front of the Cathedral.

13 years, 2 months ago Edited
Hazza 13 years, 2 months ago

this is a real clown; he is facing away from the audience;
or did you use photoshop ?

13 years, 2 months ago Edited