I’m in a 3+ year collaborative relationship with 4 other queer white clowns as we develop a show (and post show workshop or conversation) about our ancestry, the ‘white void’, reparations, the construction and practice of whiteness, and other ways to be inside our skins. My collaborators are: Chenda Cope, Patrick Costello, Sarah Lowry, and Travis Sehorn.
Some source texts include The White Supremacy Cultural Norms and James Baldwin’s Open Letter to Angela Davis. The 5 of us are coming from families of Quaker environmentalists, southern slaveholders, miners, Mormons, farmers, industrialists and holocaust survivors. Our families became ‘white’ at different times through a range of class, culture and geographic experiences. Through activism, DIY theater work, and friendship we’ve come together to unearth/ invent this clown show about our whiteness, informed by our queerness. Most of us have trained in Pachinko style clown work, in addition to being musicians, writers, puppeteers, visual artists, directors and a somatic therapist. Our project has been supported thus far by Hewnoaks Artist Colony in Maine where we had a creative residency in August 2018 and will return again in July 2019.
We are currently in year 1 and taking our time to figure out best practices and which question to hone in on. As our project develops further, we’ll get feedback and shape our work in conversation with a paid group of Black and POC friends and advisors.
Photo credit: Travis Sehorn, Patrick Costello, Nat May