by Gail M. Burns, July 1999

Emily Windover has just returned to Williamstown after spending a year studying clowning at the Dell'Arte School of Physical Performance in Blue Lake, California and is prepared to share her new skills with the north Berkshire community in a one-woman clown show "HelloHiThanks".

"It was a really fabulous experience," Windover said of her year at Dell'Arte, "I think anyone who really wants to be a performer should do it. I was really in the right place at the right time, doing what I really wanted to do." Dell'Arte was founded in 1975 by Carlo Mazzone-Clementi and Jane Hill. Mazzone-Clementi has worked with theatrical greats Marcel Marceau, Dario Fo, and Jacques Lecoq and the School is operated today by men and women who have worked closely with him in the past. Windover was one of a handfull students selected for Dell'Arte's one-year program last year through an international audition process.

"One of the focuses of the program at Dell'Arte was to get people to go out and create original work," Windover explained, "The training is all about the actor and the importance of physicality transcending oral language. Body language is more universal."

The 1995 Mt. Greylock graduate has been active in the performing arts since her childhood, "It is great to be doing this show here because there is so much suppport," Windover said. She is the third child of Mark and Debbie Windover of Hancock Road, who moved to Williamstown when Windover was five.

Windover performed a solo clown show this past spring under the direction of Lindsay Pontius, but this time she is working alone, which she sees as a new challenge, "It is hard to work alone, but it is also nice to say, 'I think this is fun and funny' and just go with it," Windover said, "I have had the chance to bring other people in on the creation of this project, but I feel I need the time to develop on my own. It was inspirational for me to see the Dell'Arte faculty, many of whom were so happy in their solo work."

Windover feels she has made great progress in identifying and developing her clown persona, "If you have a clown character in you, you find it," she explained, "The clown is not a written character, so each person brings to it his or her own point of view. I feel I am in the process of creating a really strong clown character, which has been the best part of the process for me - discovering my own little clown."

"I intend to show the severity of the clown, but not the tragedy," Windover said, "I don't see the dark, sad side of the clown. For me the clown always stays above tragedy. There is always a resiliance, always a bouancy, which is what I find so great about clown work."

You can see "HelloHiThanks" in two outdoor performances in the coming weeks. On Tuesday, July 27 at 7 PM Windover will be performing on the grounds of Mt. Greylock Regional High School; and on Friday August at PM she will be performing out of doors at Caretaker Farm in Hancock Road (Rt 43) just north of the Hancock border. The performances are free and there is no need to make reservations as the great outdoors can hold us all. Bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on. Windover stresses that this show is suitable for children, but it is not a show for children - it is a show for all ages to enjoy.

copyright Gail M. Burns, 1999

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