The Portal

Clown Therapy

Cori Olinghouse, Clown Therapy (2015). Photograph by Andrew Jordan.

Cori Olinghouse, Clown Therapy (2016). Studio practice improvisation.

Clown Therapy is an improvisational performance practice that plays with the shapeshifting nature of identity and personhood. Integrating clowning and wearable sculpture, sessions bring internal states to the surface, exaggerating and animating a series of fictional characters and personas. The practice began in August 2014 with collaborators Neal Beasley and Eva Schmidt and has grown to include larger groups of participants.

Practice notes:

Entering into internal states, as landscapes
Looking to find a new body or form
Entering into the shape, or the distorted likeness, of a persona we are parodying
As a way to externalize the array of internalized behaviors, belief systems, oppressive postures, and performed identities
into disjunctive, hybridized bodies
Playing with ambiguity and irreverence
There is a relief in finding exaggerated silhouettes to live inside of
Using humor and wit as a strategies for navigating trauma
Making cartoon selves