Beginners make the best clowns, says Tallie Medel, which raises a funny question about what happens when they get some schooling.
Local residents can find out during three nights of clowning classes being offered at Perseverance Theatre starting Monday by Medel, who’s originally from Ketchikan and soared to global fame as a co-star in “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture earlier this year. The classes are from 6-9 p.m. and participants can enroll in one or all three, but tickets are limited.
Medel — who uses they/them and she/her pronouns — describes the clowning classes on their website as a combination of physical theater and improvisation.
“We introduce ourselves, we have a nice long warmup that may involve playing tag, our feet get squishy and our heads get floaty, we play with tennis balls and hats, we do group games and solo exercises, and we leave room at the end for questions,” Medel notes.” It’s active and exciting and my face hurts from laughing every time. You’ll probably leave with a new friend.”
Medel grew up participating in hometown performing groups such as the Ketchikan Theatre Ballet and First City Players. She attended Emerson College in Boston, then moved to New York City and began performing dance and comedy, along with appearing in various film projects. They met Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, the directors of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” while in college.
The clowning classes are taught by Medel nationwide, with the Juneau classes occurring due to an acquaintance with Phil Hueschen, executive director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council,” according to Rachelle Bonnett, JAHC’s gallery and programs manager.
“When Phil came on board earlier this year he was interested in exploring programming in the theater side of the arts — workshops that focus on movement and voice, etc. — since a lot of our current programming is focused on the visual arts side of things,” Bonnett wrote in an email. “The JAHC and Perseverance partnered on a voice workshop over the summer, so this clowning class was another program that felt like a good partnership with Perseverance Theater.”
They’re meant for people ages “roughly 18 and up,” and space is limited, Bonnet said in an interview Thursday.
“There’s only 16 spots available each night and I would say Tuesday we’re about halfway sold out, but there’s room in the other classes so get your tickets now,” she said.
Participants don’t need clown costumes, but a few casual items are handy, according to Medel’s website.
“Wear something you can move in that can take floor contact (soft swishy things), bring a pen and notebook if you’re a note-taker, a couple of hats, and be prepared to take off your shoes,” they note. “I prefer bare feet but socks are okay.”
Medel is also planning to return to Ketchikan to offer the classes Oct. 25, 26 and 28. The classes are for a broader range of age groups, with the first and third days intended for people 14 and older, and the second day for those 13 and under, Also, the final day will mark a return to the First City Players with the class taking place in theater’s rehearsal room.
Know & Go
What: Clowning class with Tallie Medel.
When: 6-9 p.m., Mon.-Wed.
Where: Perseverance Theatre, 914 3rd St., Douglas.
Tickets: Single class for $40 or three-day package for $100. Limited to 16 people per class. Available online at www.jahc.org/box-office.