Eggheads need more clowns and theatre

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by Neil Godfrey

A year or so ago a friend and I had a little stall at an International Women’s Day function in a park with the usual literature and a nice quota of friends and few newbies taking a look. But nothing beat the results we got when we decided to hold up silly masks in front of our faces and walk through the streets and shopping malls handing out our little pieces of paper spiel.

Jules and me in disguise

It was dead easy to do. Find some faces on the net, adjust their size and print them out and paste them on some cardboard. Dirt cheap and quick and fun. And it gets attention. And people remember ya! And all get a great laugh.

And you don’t have to be funny or a show-off. You can hide behind a mask and let it take all the attention!

The photo reminds me we also had funny hats. But I think they are an optional extra. The top hat was home-made and the other funny thing was picked up for a dollar but that was in China and not being able to hide my westerner provenance I was ripped off. Cheap party hats will do.
A recent Insight program (titled My Vote) discussed the election with young people. Check that site for the Transcript.

Amazing number of them learn all they know about politics from comedy and satire, like The Chaser. That sounds scary to oldies but really, did not the Chaser stunt of having a motorcade for a fake Bin-Laden drive up to the APEC/Bush-Howard hotel, with all the over-the-top resulting fallout, explain everything anyone needs to know about the nature of power and politics in Australia? 😉

We know the power of the Raging Grannies.

And the Clowns in Afghanistan and East Timor.

And the attention grabbing Street Theatre and mimes. And all the great funny blues and folk songs.

Best antidote to the next several weeks of electioneering is to do the John Clarkes and Bryan Dawes thing and get it out there in small snippets with a few rostered friends and contacts.

Next step: be sure the paper handouts are trenchant, easy to read and really spot on. No vague stuff or untested assumptions allowed. Or they’ll think you really are just a joke! 🙁

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Neil Godfrey

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