The "Clown Through"
The true intent of "clown through" is to uncover all of the underpinnings, sub-text, hidden desires, feelings, and imaginative leaps that form the foundations of a play. The "clown through" is a chance for all of the actors to make the fundamental idea of the play into a springboard for their imaginations in order to unleash the deep impulses that the play has inspired in them. In practical terms, this means that the actors can choose all manner of new props and costumes from theatre stock set-aside filled with all kinds of types/periods of items, so that the actors can completely re-interpret the play, tailoring it to their own desires and creativity.
The actors must perform the entire play, ie: they MUST GET THROUGH IT FROM A TO Z. But they need not stick to their exact lines/words [they may, but do not have to]. In fact, they are encouraged to speak the sub-text behind their lines, the sub-thoughts and desires that they intuit that their characters have. They may also say their lines in completely new ways, with new emotions, new accents, different status. Some of what the actors do, how they act and speak, spontaneously during the clown through, will come from a sensible understanding of the character's motivations; however, other interpretations of the character types and relationships will explode upon the actors minds from "out of the blue". All of this is encouraged and all manner of changes to the show are sought for and applauded. Mayhem and frivolity are the ORDER OF THE DAY and actors who instantly following "brain-storm-impulses" are to be embraced and cherished. In the clown-through, the world of the play can be turned upside down.
However, if is also much to be desired that, through the clown-through, the actors find even deeper meaning in their parts, their character inter-relationships, status, hidden desires, buried love or hatred, jealousy or greed and so on. They may want to dress their character in a new wig or put on pants or a dress and give a cross-gender twist to a scene or character interaction. And because these changes will burst upon them like a bolt out of the blue, and because they will, on the spur of the moment, enter a scene as a man dressed as a woman or visa versa, their scene partner[s] will have to adjust to this new interpretation "on the fly". They may NEVER BLOCK their scene partner[s] instant changes and choices. QUITE TO THE CONTRARY, they must immediately accept and embrace them and allow themselves to be inspired and raised to new heights of discovery by the unexpected and exceptional choices of their creative partners. The only MUST NOTS of the clown-through are:
One: no actor may ever do something that is too risky and unsafe and which might injure another actor. Part of every actor's brain must be "minding the store", watching out for danger signs that might be lurking in the dark corners of the clown-through.
Two: no actor may damage any prop or any costume during the clown-through. The clown-through is NOT about LOSING ALL CONTROL. Actors in the clown-through are still creative artists and, as such, they must TOTALLY HONOR AND RESPECT THE TOOLS OF THEIR CRAFT and the technical artists who have provided them with the tools with which to PLAY THE GAME.
Three: Actors may not gratuitously take the clown-through into the sewer of vulgar language and behavior just for the sake of sensational exhibitionism. Sudden inspiration that leads an actor into the more raw, seamy feelings and emotions and actions of human behavior are acceptable; however, the tossing out of four letter words and obscene gestures just to grab a quick, undeserved laugh and bit of attention is strictly discouraged. Actors who make the clown-through totally "all about me and how clever I AM" will be reigned in by the director right during the clown-through.
As always, RESPECT OF THE PROCESS AND OF ALL PARTS OF THE CLOWN-THROUGH, PEOPLE AND THINGS, IS PARAMOUNT.