I realised quickly that even as an extremely resilient person (which I am not), working in this way in the street as a woman would leave me feeling vulnerable and unsafe. In fact it would BE unsafe. But I have always felt that street clowning is an amazing training ground. And when it is done well, it is a joy to watch. Since then, I have wanted to make a piece that gives me not only the opportunity to play as a clown in this fun and liberating way, but that also makes something of this female experience of public space. And so Werewomen was born. And boy did it have a baptism of fire!
Our first outing coincided with an international Rugby match. The streets were full of huge, drunk men. We were intimidated. And here is where the steep learning curve comes in.
Our first outing: we got stuck having our photos taken, drunk men coming up, being sexually aggresive, dry humping us. The fact that the immediate instinct for groups of men when they see female performers is to dominate and humiliate is disappointing but not surprising. It is the reason I have not clowned on the street on my own before. We came away feeling frustrated and angry. Feeling like the joke was on us.
Second outing: Every time a man came up to us - and they did - we rounded on them. At once. And all together. And it worked. I've never felt so liberated and powerful. And needless to say, the audience found it hilarious (especially the women).