#14 - The Clown Diaries - Characters

Post-Traumatic Gaulier Disorder

After spending three weeks in London over the Easter break I have concluded that coming to Gaulier is the same as being indoctrinated into a cult. Once a Gaulier student, always a Gaulier Student. No matter how much cinema, theatre, music or live comedy you watch to push away what you experienced in the upstairs theatre space of the tiny school in Etampes, the catch phrases, insults and the haunting sound of Philippe's drum ring constantly in your ears like an insane mans' litany. The school affects your pleasure of everything. During any sort of performance you analyse it with the school's vocabulary of:

-"She pushes too much."

- "No pleasure!"

- "You don't want to be major!"

- "We don't see your fun!"

- "There was no game!"

- "This performance was Montezuma's revenge!"

- "The actor had no fixed point."

Withdrawal symptoms from the school come in the form of nightmares centred around Philippe's drum and an incantation of "Twenty Kisses. Is she the Brigitte Bardot of the class? Watch out! The Truck is coming!". The sound of whistling naturally causes me to jump and turn behind me, expecting to see Philippe sludged over his drum, waving the stick in the air like a mad conductor.

The school has even started to affect basic interactions. A friend recently joined me at a house party where a large number of attendees where Gaulier students. "You are like a sect" he said. Not a compliment, but as I followed his eyes around the room it seemed hard to disagree. Everyone was talking about school.

The stereotype of drama schools is often the sense of a 'clique' that forms amongst the students, however, when one witnesses the intensity of what the students experience in class it is hard not to see why. It's not something I like, but it is interesting to observe and worth noting in myself, especially when moving out of the intimate and claustrophobic environment of the school and leaving to go back to the real world of my home city, London. No one likes someone who just talks about school. Let's hope that after these final 10 weeks I am able to carry on as a normal human being, remembering that not everyone has had an old man hit them and make them dance to Edith Piaf for 20 minutes on stage and shout "Dad! I am beautiful!".