Praise for ‘The Secret Life of Clowns’
What is a clown? And if you think you want to be one, what do you do? Jeff Raz has drawn on his life’s work to write a pair of narratives – one following a professional clown joining a huge show, and one following a clown student who just wants a job in a circus. It turns out the calling involves a lot of work, and, no surprise, it has mundane and spiritual sides that intertwine. The questions don’t all get answered – how could they? – but the oldest craft in the world gets examined, with just the right amount of historical sidebar. It’s a good book, and if you’re curious about the clowning profession, you’ll turn these pages.
~ Bill Irwin, Sesame Street’s Mr. Noodle, MacArthur “Genius,” and Tony Award winner
Jeff Raz has written a fun, informative read, an up-close-and-personal look at what it is to train as a clown, to teach clowning and to clown in one of the most renowned circuses in the world. This book is also chock-full of asides on the history of clowning, clown trivia and profiles of unique clowns. Could there be a more comprehensive take on the life of clowns?
~ Melissa Smith, Conservatory Director at the Tony Award-winning American Conservatory Theater
A spot-on account of the insecurities, the flops and the triumphs of a student of clown, whether in school or in the biggest circus in the world. It brought a lot of memories back, both as a clown with Cirque du Soleil and as a student of clown. I liked being reminded of the unknowns of it all, when it looked impossibly bigger than life. For an old clown, it jogs memories; for a new one, it’s insightful and affirmative to the challenging rites of passage.
~ Mooky Cornish, star of Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai
The Secret Life of Clowns is a lively, informative and engaging book. Jeff Raz writes from the heart and tells much of what he knows from his four decades as a performer in a way that readers will be able to follow and enjoy.
~ Joel Schechter, D.F.A., author of Durov’s Pig: Clowns, Politics, and Theatre and The Pickle Clowns: New American Circus Comedy and Professor of Theatre at S.F. State University
Jeff Raz taught me that the performing arts are a business, that I should be vulnerable on stage but not when it comes to the business side. Without him I never would have had the courage to move to Dubai and launch Dubomedy.
~ Mina Liccione, star of Stomp, Clown Conservatory graduate and founder of the premiere comedy school in the Middle East
Jeff Raz is the perfect person to give the lowdown on what it means to train contemporary clowns, and what it means to actually be a clown – in the old circus, the ‘new circus,’ and in the theatre. He has been in the ring, above it, behind it and all around the life of today’s clown world. His wonderful passion for the subject is now generously shared in his new book, just as it has been shared for so long with students and audiences.”
~ Joan Schirle, actor, teacher, writer, director and co-founder of Dell’Arte International
Looking from the perspective of both teacher and student, master performer Jeff Raz gives us a clear-eyed and compassionate look at the artistic journey. This book inspires from beginning to end: it captures the sweat, the sinew and the soul of clown.”
~ Patty Gallagher, PhD, Professor of Theatre Arts, University of California Santa Cruz
Raz writes with a keen eye, an open heart, and a delicious sense of detail. He lifts us 100 feet in the air and plunges us into a world of fear, doubt, excitement, and delight – the world of the Clown.
~ Stephen Buescher, Head of Movement and Physical Theater at the Tony Award- winning American Conservatory Theater
His book is one of those tomes on clowning that I raced through with relish, intrigued and fascinated by his two tiered story and his down to earth approach to clowning.
~ Ernest Albrecht, editor/publisher of Spectacle Magazine, the online magazine for the circus arts