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This class will explore physical comedy from a clown point of view and expand your physical vocabulary and develop your comic sensibilities. We will explore the technique and use of slapstick, improvisation, partnership, comic timing, prop and object interaction and accidents in solo, duo and group exercises. The exercises are designed to discover a true sense of pleasure and joy in play. Clown work is unique in that it allows us to explore the wide range of passions and expressiveness within us, from the ridiculous to the grotesque to the innocent, thus allowing us more freedom to access the many colors of our expressive selves. We will develop tools to use in playing comedy from the clown point of view. We will play improvisational games and explore the basic relationships between the performer and the audience, between two performers and within a group.

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Classroom language: English!


Hilary Chaplain has been recognized as one of America’s foremost professional physical comediennes, performing her original solo and ensemble work for over a decade throughout the US, Canada, South America ,Europe and Asia. Uncovering the humor in everyday life, Hilary’s extraordinary work has won accolades worldwide. She is also a founding member of the New York Goofs (est.1998) appearing with them in prestigious New York venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, the American Museum of Natural History, Symphony Space, and on tour at Wolf Trap with Bob McGrath from Sesame Street.

As a solo performer Hilary Chaplain has appeared at Anjos do Picadeiro and the FILO Festival in Brazil, the Atlanta Fool’s Festival, the Funny Women Festival in Chicago, the Crazy Women Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, PSNBC in New York City, Caroline’s Comedy Club, Surf Reality among others.

As an actress, Hilary was an original cast member in Bill Irwin's Largely/New York and appeared on Broadway and at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park as the Goddess Ceres in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Tempest directed by George C. Wolfe. Regionally, Hilary has worked with the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and with Israel Horowitz’s Gloucester Stage Company. She also played a featured role in the 1994 Oscar winning movie Forrest Gump, a lawyer on Law and Order Criminal Intent and made a special appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.

Hilary was an adjunct professor of clowning at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for eight years and has taught numerous workshops in clowning and physical comedy. Known as "Nurse Nice", she has been entertaining hospitalized children with the renowned Big Apple Circus Hospital Clown Program® (since 1987) and has been invited to teach Hospital Clowning internationally. A graduate of Hampshire College with a BA in Theatre Arts, Hilary has also worked with such teaching greats as Tony Montanaro, Avner Eisenberg, Julie Goell, Philippe Gaulier, Angela de Castro, David Shiner, Dick Monday, Ami Hattab, Bob Berky and Bill Irwin, to develop her unique style of performance.

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Hilary Chaplain