Objectively, going to a war zone for the first time to clown with someone you met 3.5 months ago and have never worked with before might seem like a surprisingly bold risk.
On the plane to Warsaw, I woke up with a start. I had a nightmare that someone had sprayed a red swastika onto the baby of the people sitting next to me. As my stomach dropped to the cabin floor, the risk suddenly felt large and looming and my mind flooded with anxiety; ‘What are you doing? Is this vanity? Or ego? Can you really make any kind of difference by clowning? What if your clowning is so bad you make it worse for people? What if Igor realises that you don’t know what you are doing? What if you get bombed and everyone says ‘well she had it coming?!’
…I take a breath and remind myself: I have a rigorous, professional practice, and an interest in exploring the reach and difference that therapeutic clowning can make. In how we can respond to this rapidly changing and increasingly perilous world in an agile and meaningful way. To do that, you have to take a step towards the thing and look it right in the eye. You have to say yes.
My clown partner on this trip is Igor Narovski, and we are here because we both do just that.
Our journey through Poland is characterised by fantastically monosyllabic bus drivers. It seems to me that we are two little yeses being bounced between ‘No’s’ and shrugs and long queues. Two days of non-stop motion later - car, plane, taxi, train, bus, walk, bus, walk - we make it to Medyka, on the border with Ukraine where finally our clowns, Cuckoo and Maybee, meet...
I am a therapeutic clown and performer. Writing here is part of my wider practice and maybe some of my thoughts will trigger some thoughts of your own and I hope that helps.