…More Remarkable Clowns

By Ira Seidenstein

March 23, 2011

This continues from my blog titled ‘Meetings With Remarkable Clowns”.
One of the world’s greatest clowns who also was one of the greatest women clowns, was Lotte Goslar (1907-1997). I saw her company perform, and her solo show as well, and met her about June 1975. One of my most important teachers was from Germany. He was Peter Dittrich and he taught me sociology mainly as well as political science. He was the first person I told that I wanted to become a clown. This was immediately after I attended the Experimental Theater Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan in May 1975.  Peter led me to Lotte Goslar. Coincidently she was being interviewed by a friend of Peter’s who worked for the national radio in Washington D.C. So Peter arranged for he and I to stay a weekend at his friend’s and the friend arranged for me to meet Lotte after the performance of her company – Lotte Goslar’s Pantomime Circus. The show was quite remarkable in many ways. We would look at it today as naive art. Yet, Lotte’s team were extraordinary clowns. My understanding at the time was that Lotte trained six dancers each year to learn the show, the choreography, and to learn her method of mime and clown. She was a true master.
I now know that some dancers loved the work and were able to stay for a number of years touring mainly in the USA and Europe. Lotte asked me some questions about myself and my hopes. She knew that I had applied recently to the Ringling Brothers Clown College and was awaiting notification from RBCC. Lotte said there were a lot of ways to train in clowning. She said she didn’t know that RBCC was the right way for me. However, she added, none the less, Bill Ballentine – the director of RBCC was a good friend of hers and that for whatever it was worth be sure to say that we had spoken. Lotte then explained her most important advice to me “Remember, that a clown has to create their own world”. With that after a few friendly remarks she wished me luck and we parted. The following week, she was performing her solo concert show in Washington D.C. It was an old classic theater, maybe the Ford Theatre? So the next weekend Peter, myself and another good friend went to Washington DC to see Lotte’s solo show….. more anon
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