On Meeting Richard Pochinko - by Ian Wallace (nion)
Expo 67 - Montreal, July 1967, Rue St. Urbain
I was introduced to Richard Pochinko by Ellen Gautschi, writer/director who i met shortly after my arrival in
Montreal.  Ellen said "you must meet my friend Richard, and took me to the Urbain St. apt.  When we met the
room lit up, the space between and around us was glowing, filled with tangible light particles, it was uncanny,
something i had never before experienced.   I was filled with an all-encompassing peace and a heightened
consciousness of belonging and accepting.  I thought, this is a very special person.  He was all excited about
his new white vinyl raincoat from work where he was one of 12 stage managers at the Expo theatre.  The
sparkle in your eyes, I can see it now, and the smile - I remember you telling me about driving Maurice
Chevalier out to the stage in the little golf cart- he said "you know smiley,"  he called you smiley "I've been
doing this for close to sixty years now and I still get afraid every time".  I still have the picture of you and boris
with chevalier - I found it when cleaning out your desk.  That photo was taken the same year that we met.
Space Ship Dreams -Halifax, January 1969, Woodill St.
One night Richard had fallen asleep and I was still awake.  He began stroking his forehead and speaking to me.  He
called me his co-pilot and told me that we were flying a ship over a landscape. He described  what he was seeing on the
monitors and said that our mission was to rescue people.  We talked back and forth, he giving me instructions and me
carrying them out and answering in co-pilot language.
This turned out to be a re-curring event, happening four or five times in about two months.  One time he was telling me
about the people in the ship that we had already rescued he said that some of them we knew already and that others we
had yet to meet. It was all extremely fascinating and interesting for me since my dream life has been very active since I
was a small child but i had never had a conversation with a sleeping person before.
The most vividly emotional and meaningful flight was one night when we were flying over a dark landscape and he said
that I should steer over to the left and go over the hill there. I said aye-aye sir and made the movement. As we got over
the crest of the hill he got excited about seeing some people off in the distance.  He was very happy and as we got closer
he exclaimed "oh look, they're waving at us" - as we got closer still he suddenly  went "Oh God, Oh my God!"  he went
from being extremely happy and excited to unbelievable shock and horror as he saw the people.  He said in a trembling
voice
"they're not waving at us, they're all encased inside glass tubes and they're banging on the glass trying
to break out"
--- in a flash he said "oh my God!  that's our mission, that's why we're here - to set them free, to
help them  break out of  the glass tubes."
At the time I did not realize the signifigance of these "spaceship dreams" and how they would be such a metaphor for the
work that we would create in the future.
Paris, September 1970
I will never forget how cozy and warm our little room was that first night back in Paris.  Our
bath was one of those french half baths in which you sit like in a chair and the water fills
up to your chest.  We had taken the bus  from London and then the Dover ferry across
Paris.  It was a wet and freezing cold night in November when we got off the bus at the
Place de la Republique.  We had no idea where we were and felt very tired and homeless
as we set out  to find a hotel.  We paid what seemed like an exhorbitant amount of money
for the room with the bath, but it was heavenly to be together and warm and in love in
Paris.  It was like the rooms you see in Lautrec and Degas paintings with the deep red
floral wallpaper and the white brass bed frame. The next day feeling much refreshed we
went for a coffee and croissant and explored the neighborhood. What a pleasant surprize
(and seeming co-incidence) it was to find the Cirque d'Hiver just down the street.  As we
looked at the big photos of the Fratellini Bros. and the other famous clowns I remember
feeling a strange attraction to the whole place.  It was at least 100 years old and circular,
all painted red and gold.  We were delighted that it was so close to our hotel.
After talking to the couple who ran the place and figuring out how much we could afford, they said
they had a room which wasn't being used just now and we could have a look at it.  When we
opened the door and looked in, I immediately saw the large space and with my creative imagination
saw the potential of the room.  Richard saw the cracked floor and peeling wallpaper and cobwebs
and dust and a half finished w.c. in the corner.  He looked at me and burst into tears - we were to
be here for 3 to 6 months - it was his Canada Council Arts B Grant - time to be creative and in a
nurturing environment.  All he could see was an abandoned shabby room and when he sat on the
bed one of the legs broke which made him even more upset.  So in comes I to make everything
O.K.  "Look at this beautiful colorful mexican blanket on the bed, and we can do our cooking here
by the sink, I'll get some prints to put on the walls and we have this wonderful big window looking
down on the street and these fabulous 50's jungle curtains.  Once we've cleaned it up and made it
ours everything will be great."  My astrological sign is Cancer and I have always been able to make
a home out of anything.  The one really beautiful thing in the room was the little hexagonal art
nouveau glass lamp fixture hanging from the ceiling.  It was very old and exquisite, quite simple and
elegant in a cream color edged with ruby red, and when I pointed it out to Richard he started to
feel better. Over the next couple of days while he was at the school I roamed the neighborhood for
decor.  I found a book of Lautrec prints, some woven grass mats for the floor, colorful oilcloth for
our little table, a single butane camping burner, 1 pot and a few dishes and utensils, I got two
wooden chairs and a big wooden armoire from another room and along with the multi-colored
bedspread and the jungle vines on the curtains we had a comfortable new home.
As I recall that time, and that room I get shivers down my spine.  As I write these memories now,
Nov. 1998, I have our oil-lamp lit, sitting on top of my computer and as I look at it I am flooded with
emotion, my eyes fill with tears. It was such a special time, perhaps the most memorable I have
experienced in my life, the winter of 1970, in Paris on the Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud.  As I reflect
back now, what seems to make such sense, to be such a clear sequence of events and
occurences, at the time was a day to day unfolding adventure.  I would say that the creation of the
room and our sanctification and acceptance of it laid the ground for what was to follow.
On a typical day Richard
would leave for the Le
Coq studio at about 8
a.m.  and I would
proceed to work on my
set and costume designs
for the  3 shows we were
planning to do in Whitby
with Ellen Gautschi when
we returned to Canada.  
At the same time I was
making batik paintings,
having ventured all over
the city trying to find
bees-wax and cold water
dyes. When Richard
arrived home from
school I would cook the
noodles on our single
burner and prepare the
vegetables and sauce
for our evening meal.  
Richard would usually lie
down to take a nap.
One day not long after we had moved in he lay down for his nap, I had the lamp burning on the table and I was finishing up some of my notes.  I looked over and noticed him with his eyes
closed stroking his forehead with his right hand.  This was not unusual for I had seen him do this before when he was having the space-ship dreams in Halifax and Toronto.  However this
time he suddenly sat up in the bed, opened his eyes and looked at me with almost a stunned look, like he didn't know where he was.  He looked around the room and looked back at me and
smiled.  It was as if he was listening to some one. then he laughed.  I thought it was like he was awake in a dream, then he started to speak to me in a child-like voice
"My name is I, me,
Richard, he, and if you tell Richard that this is happening he won't believe you"
and he laughed again.  I must have been a little dumb-struck because he told me not to be
frightened, that he had some things to tell me,  then he said that the light was too bright, he was shielding his head and eyes and asked me to turn off the lights and just have the oil lamp
burning at a certain level.  As I got up to fix the lights he cautioned "don't move so fast - you're shifting the energy too much."   So I moved very slowly and carefully across the room then
back to adjust the oil-lamp and sit at the table again.  All the while he was watching me with these wild eyes and  the face of a six-year old.  Once the light from the lamp was right he
explained to me that this was being allowed to happen because of the depth and strength of our love for each other.  He proceeded  to tell me what he was seeing.  He looked at me and
talked about the colors he saw  around me.  As he looked at the Lautrec prints on the walls he told me how perfect it was that they were there.  That the colors would be very important to us
in the future.  I now realize that they were to be the lighting effects for my show Nion, with one side of my face in green and the other in yellow or pink, just like the faces in the  paintings I
had put up in the room.  He would look at me and answer a question that was in my mind, that I had not spoken.  He tried to explain to me where he was speaking from.  He used his hands
to delineate ordinary daily human consciousness about a foot high, and said that with l.s.d. your consciousness was opened to about 7 feet high, but where he was speaking from right now
was several miles beyond that.  At one point he started smacking his lips and tongue and asked me to get him some water because his mouth was dry so I carefully got up and went to the
sink for the water and slowly came back to the bed and held it out to him.  Just at that moment he snapped out of it and there was Richard looking at me kind of like he just woke up.  "what
are you doing?" he asked. "i'm bringing you the water you asked me for."  i responded.  He looked at me kind of wierdly and said "but i've been sleeping." I said "Richard, I have something
to tell you", and I told him what had happened, about I,me,richard, he, and the little boy. He said "no, I don't want to hear this, it frightens me, I don't  believe you, don't tell me any more."   I
said "that's what you told me you would say."  He said "I can't listen to this." I said "Okay", and that was that for the time being.
For the next three weeks the same thing happened at the same time every
evening.  He would lie down, start stroking his fore-head then sit up and talk
to me.  I felt like i was having a conversation with God.  He talked of love,
and energy, consciousness, theatre of the future, healing, our mission.  He
spent a lot of time speaking about thought projection and the transmission
of energy.  One night he was trying to describe the waves of light and color
that he was seeing around me.  He took my paints and started painting little
dots of color but very soon got frustrated because it wasn't right so he
crumpled up his paper.  Immediately a wave of concern came over his body,
i could see him listening very seriously.
 "I've just done something really
wrong and they're telling me I have to lie down."  
 He lay down and
stroked his forehead.
 "They're opening up a big book and in it they're
showing me the preciousness of creativity.  It's the most valuable
gift we have been given, and by destroying my creation i went
against one of the fundamental laws of the universe."
I could see the
emotions ripple through his body.  He was like a little boy being lovingly
chastised by his mother.  It was amazing to witness this taking place
because up to that point it had just been he and I.  Now i was aware of the
huge presence of a third party which he referred to as
"they". Suddenly
the event took on a whole new dimension as i realized how privileged i was
to be witnessing this unusual communication and interaction.
He said that we were going back to canada to start a school of mask and clown, that it would be ahead of its time and would close after a year, but would be
reborn and flourish some years later.  This would later be the Theatre Resource Centre.  "
we will create a new, unique  approach to clown through mask
for the North American continent based on Amerindian reverence for Mother Earth and all living creatures.  this  our mission and the teachers
we train will be like missionaries.  This is the planting of a seed that will grow into a major movement."
He foretold that i would have great success as a  "clown",  that the work would be ahead of it's time and not be accepted by every one, but that
we  would  break the ground for those to follow.  That I would find myself in a milieu of artists like the characters in the Lautrec paintings.  He
called me the "keeper of the house" and  said that  in the future i was to share this story with anyone who asked about it.  This was the seminal
origin of what has come to be called "Richard Pochinko Mask/Clown Technique".  Some refer to it as "Canadian Clowning."
As these events continue to unfolded  i think  back on those magical nights in Paris when all of this was revealed to
me.  I remember meeting my first clown from the Le Coq school, we all went to see Fellini's "I Cloune", and while
watching a Czechoslovakian (political) clown show, a red nose was tossed out into the audience and came right to
me.   Hmmm, i thought, maybe there is something here for me to unwrap my mind around.
We literally had no choice  in the matter.  It was what was to be.  When i was told that i would
become a clown, i thought "i don't think so."   It was the last thing that i could imagine doing.  I
was terrified of getting up in front of people, and the idea of trying to make people laugh was
inconceivable to me.  But it all happened.  In 1974, during my season at Stratford, Richard
called and said he had this great idea, "to start a school for clown & mask."  I laughed and said  
"hmmm! what a good idea."  The TRC was incorporated by Richard and Anne Skinner  in
Ottawa in 1975 but after a year Richard and the other 5 board members felt that it had served
it's  purpose and wanted to close down.  I sat there listening to everyone, knowing that this was
to happen and also knowing that it was to continue in the future.  I told them all, Richard, Anne,
Jan Miller, Ellen Pierce, Linda Rabin, and Jan Henderson that I felt that the energy that had
gone into creating the TRC was very special and that I would like to  keep the incorporation and
charitable status open on paper, and at some point in the future start up again. They gave their
approval, and first of all Anne and then  I carried the filing cabinet around, eventually to
Toronto.   Several years later began the process of applying for grants from the Ontario Arts
Council and the Canada Council and  the Theatre Resource Centre was reborn.
The TRC began to blossom.  We started creating shows and continued to evolve and refine the mask and clown
workshops from our studio on Adelaide St.  My own experience going through the process and seeing the effect it
had on other people  made me realize that this is the
"breaking out of the glass tubes".   The breaking down of
the wall of fears and constrictions that built around us through our experiences in growing up, creating a persona,
schooling, social interaction, etc.  The discovery of the "personal clown"  is the realization  and celebration of who
we are, in all our creative potential.  It all started to make sense.  The first new teachers were myself and Jan
Henderson, followed by Cheryl Cashman , David MacMurray Smith,  Sue Morrison, John Turner, Karen Hines, Mike
Kennard and Sara Tilley.  The little seed that was planted continues to grow  all across this country and is now
being made available in others.
Well, I did become a clown.  One night at the Foufoune Electrique on St. Catherine's St. at St. Laurent in Montreal, I
was sitting upstairs in my make shift dressing room getting ready to do the midnight performance of "Kabaret de la
Vita" in what had been an old strip club.  In my tutu, my white make-up on, listening to the noisy crowd of people out
on the street remembering what he told me that night in Paris ten years before.  There I was, just like the Lautrec
painting, getting ready to perform Nion.
A Clown for our Times
Richard Pochinko takes his clowning seriously and, through his passion for the art, inspires others to do the same.
"EVERY ONE OF US HAS A CLOWN INSIDE; IT'S JUST A MATTER OF FINDING THE
WAY TO  IT"  
says Richard Pochinko. From anyone else, that statement would sound
like saccharine pop Psychology in a clown teacher. In Canada, where only a decade
ago the art of clowning was almost non-existent, he has been responsible for
spawning a host of performers, men and women who are now earning their living as
professional clowns
We are sitting in the Montreal apartment which has been his home for the
past two years. The apartment has an atmosphere of quiet restraint. It is
sparsely furnished; a few masks and ian's batik hangings on the theme of
clowning decorate the walls. But the charismatic presence in the chair
opposite me charges the room with vitality. Pochinko's blue eyes light, his
whole body is animated as he talks about the art of clowning. As he speaks, I
begin to understand how much more there is to clowning.than painted faces
and circus gags, and why it is said that the clown is a free spirit who makes it
possible to view the world in new and extraordinary ways. Richard Pochinko's
passion for clowning has propelled him across the nation again and again
over the last nine years, teaching the future clowns of this country as well as
giving workshops to people without such ambition, people who just want to
find their laughter again.
What comes into your mind?"I sat for a moment frozen into a self-conscious attitude, hands folded under my chin, thinking frantically. "There!" he exclaimed, mimicking my
gesture. "What just went through your head?"I answered that at first I was panic-stricken, then I saw all the different possibilities. "Yes, and between the panic and possibilities
lies your clown. The panic and the possibilities are universal. If you can learn to laugh at your panic and together we can find a way to express it, then people will identify with it
and go through their panic with you and release it. So you see what you're doing for an audience? The audience identifies with the clown. That's the difference between an actor
and a clown. While an actor is playing someone else, a clown is playing himself and you. A clown doesn't act; he pretends, like a child does, but his is  the innocence after
experience.
Over the years, Richard Pochinko has sought to develop a uniquely Canadian brand of clowning. Before he began teaching at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 1972,
anyone in this country wishing to become a clown had to go to Europe or the United States to study "As Canadians,"he says, " we are wonderful imitators, and Canadian
audiences accepted the classical tradition of Europe and the Barnum and Bailey circus type of clowning without thinking of the potential alternatives we could offer."   Pochinko,
who studied both the European and American styles and did not feel satisfied with either, searched for another direction. He found it, after many detours, in the ancient tradition
of North American Indian clowning.
A clown teacher is an odd profession for someone who, as a child growing up on a farm outside Winnipeg, hated clowns; they frightened him. It was the theater that attracted
him. In 1960, at the age of 14, he left his parents'  farm to enter a four-year theater program at the Manitoba Theatre School under the direction of John Hirsch. After graduating
he embarked on a career as actor. director, choreographer, working in theaters across the country. By 1970, although he had gained a sizable reputation, he began to feel
restless, confined. His classical training, he felt, was too limiting, it didn't  speak to the present age, yet the outpourings of the new theater of the late sixties seemed to lack
form and roots. He decided that he needed to broaden his understanding of what theater was. That year he applied for and received a Canada Council research grant. With it
he traveled to England, Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Scandinavia; watching performances, rehearsals, attending workshops and seminars. Eventually, he and Ian  ended
up in Paris.
It was in Paris that his fascination with clowns began. "We lived across the street from the Cirque d'Hiver. From the window I could see the clowns coming and going and
became intrigued with them. I began following circus after circus all over Europe...It wasn't just the circus I was following. It was something bigger, something to do with the
ability to laugh at yourself. I realized that this must be what clowning is all about and got more deeply involved."
Pochinko enrolled in Jacques LeCoq's mime school in Paris where
he spent a year studying mime, mask and clown techinques. In
1972, he returned to Canada but was immediately invited to teach
mask work at the University of Washington in Seattle. While in Seattle
he continued to study clown technique, this time with a professional
clown named Bari Rolfe. During this time he came into contact with a
North American Indian clown, spirit-guide Jonsmith, who became his
mentor and initiated him into the tradition of North American Indian
clowning.
Jonsmith was the one who helped Pochinko find his own clown.
"The first time I met Him, he walked into the studio wearing a
business suit and a hat with a feather in it. He looked at me keenly
and said: "So you're interested in masks, boy," Pochinko adds,
laughing. But from that moment on, Jonsmith took Pochinko under
his wing. He spent months working with Pochinko on Native Indian
masks, telling him stories about clowns, recounting Indian legends,
imbuing him with mystery of clowning.
For the first nations on this continent, clowns were revered as powerful shamans, healers, as well as being delight-makers. They were the ones who kept people in touch
with Creator. He told his pupil how his people had always had clown clans as part of the social make-up of their tribes, and that clowns were with the everyday while
fulfilling the need for a connection with the sacred. Functioning as social regulators, they had absolute freedom to ridicule whomever they pleased, and whenever the
society became too rigid, the clowns were called out to perform their raunchy antics. They would
insult and humiliate the chief and the elders in public, to show them
that they were only human. They would defy accepted behavior, turn the world tospy-turvy and bring new insight into the truth about Man's place within the order of
the universe.
"Then one day, quite abruptly," says Pochinko. "Jonsmith sent me away: 'I'm not going to see you again. Good-bye,' he said. 'But I'll always be there if you really need me.'
I never saw him again. But sometime when I'm standing in a class facing a problem, not knowing which of the multiple possible solutions to choose from. I can feel him
looking over my shoulder, saying 'So what are you going to do now?' and I hear him giggle."
Richard Pochinko now believes North American Indian clowning to be the highest refinement of the ancient art. "In the American circus, "he says, "the clown is not
important. What's important is the gag. That's why you never remember individual clowns (with the possible exception of Emmett Kelly). It's the gag that's handed down
from one generation of clowns to the next and the audience laughs, not at the clown, but at the gag. In the European system you're laughing with the character in a
situation. Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, for example, are basically Europeans clowns who brought that tradition to America. but the North American Indians consider
the clown to be holy man; he is the
"messenger of the gods" - and the gods have an incredible sense of humor."
Upon his return to Canada from Seattle at the end of 1972, Pochinko was hired as a freelance director at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He convinced Jean Roberts,
the artistic director at the time, to sponsor a Centre of Research into mask work, clowning and circus techniques and sent out a letter across Canada inviting anyone
interested in clowning to write to him. Within weeks he had 600 responses. From these he chose 28 actors to join the workshop.
The workshop lasted approximately a year. Pochinko taught the usual
clowning skills, mime and mask work, plus tight-rope walking,
unicycling, juggling. To acquire practical experience the group even
joined an American circus touring the Maritimes. For a whole month they
slept in tents, did one-night stands, and when the ringmaster bellowed:
"And here come the clowns, "  all 28 of them would come out and
perform the regular circus gags. But what is most important  is to teach
each person to find and express his own personal clown.
To do this, he involves his students in a lengthy series of exercises
involving movement, mask work - making them and wearing them -
and psychology techinques aimed at stripping away the layers of social
persona they have accumulated, in order to find a neutral place within
from which to work. Only then, he believes, can a person begin to find
the character of his clown - and often what emerges is very surprising.
Pochinko tells the story of a woman, a protestant minister, who came to a clown workshop he gave a few years ago in Toronto. She said she came because she
had a lot of questions about her faith and thought she needed a good laugh. The first day, she brought a balloon saying "God is love." I told her that was the
phoniest thing I had ever seen.
She was furious. For the next class, I asked her to bring all
her slogans, to come dressed in all the ways she could
sell God. Well, everything was there! Buddha, crosses, a
Salvation Arm drum, slogans, banners; I made her do a
strip-tease of sorts, throw everything away and see what
she had left to sell.  She came selling dogma, but she did,
in fact, have a real faith which emerged the minute she
stopped selling it. I would love to hear one of her sermons
now.
Richard Pochinko is a most unusual teacher. One of his
former students, Cheryl Cashman (whose highly
acclaimed show Turning Thirty toured Canada during the
last two years) says that there was always an energy and
air of excitement in his classes: "Richard is not a
methodical teacher; he works spontaneously and by
instinct, giving personal attention to each individual. The
atmosphere he creates is inspiring; people would do
anything he asked - things they never imagined they were
capable of. In the end, I think what I learned was that
clowning is more human and more intimate than acting.
The clown is the basic unltrammeled self. It's the closest
one comes to the real "I."
Out of the original center for research and subsequent workshops that Pochinko has been invited to give across Canada over the last few years, about a dozed
professional clowns have emerged. Performers such as Montreal's Bob Pot, Jan Kudelka in Toronto, Jan Henderson in Edmonton, Ian Wallace in Vancouver,
Cheryl Cashman, Sue Morrison, John Turner, Karen  Hines, Michael Fahey in Halifax and Sara Tilley in Newfoundland are passing on what they have learned by
teaching as well as through creating their own clown shows.
Jan Kudelka pictured on the cover, who spent three years working with Pochinko, credits him with being the finest theatrical teacher she has met. Kudelka was
part of his maritime tour and went on, with another Pochinko student, Marsha Coffey, to put together a show called Circus Gothic. It has toured parts of Canada
and is presently under option for off-Broadway productions.
These are not clown shows for children. Performed in theaters and cabarets, they are intended to stir adult audiences to reflect and laugh and rediscover their
sense of play. In his show, Birth of a Clown, which played across Canada this year, Ian Wallace, another former Pochinko student, takes the audience on a journey
form birth through life and then beyond. Wallace (professionally known as Nion) breaks all the cardinal rules of traditional clowning. A clown is one persona; Nion
is continuously transforming himself from one character into another, but without ever losing his essential clown. Traditionally one never combined props and
mime, and mime language; Nion does. Under Pochinko's direction, Wallace gives a mesmerizing performance which keeps us laughing, astounded, and at the
same time puts us back in touch with the mystery of life. as we observe and interact with Nion in his various situations, we become aware that he is listening for
our reactions and, by improvising on them, Bringing something of us onto the stage so that we begin to see ourselves and laugh at ourselves.
Today Pochinko is more interested in directing and producing professional clown shows than in
teaching. Having spent many years as a traveling clown teacher, giving workshops and master
classes in response to the needs of performers and lay people in different parts of Canada
(which he still occasionally does) he now prefers to work on the next plateau with clowns he as
trained: the development of clown shows for an adult audience. Over the last two years he has
been working closely with Cheryl Cashman and Ian Wallace on their respective solo clown
shows. Their performances have received rave reviews in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Richard Pochinko believes that the performers he has trained are a new breed of clown. A clown
closely in touch with the people and rhythms of this country. ";In traveling across Canada," he
says, "you see how in the different provinces. I say it in the workshop, how differently the same
mask was worn, which parts of the mask people chose to interpret."
There are more clowns performing in Canada today than ever before. In Quebec, where clowning
has long been actively supported, a whole new generation of clowns is playing to packed
houses. In Toronto, York University's theater department is offering a new course in clowning
taught by Dean Gilmore ( a Canadian clown trained in Jacques LeCoq's school). Next year,
Pochinko hopes to open a center in Montreal for further clown study. He'll call his company Les
Productions Derido (a play on words "des rideaux'" (curtains), and an amalgam of the names of
himself and his two partners, Debra Silver and Pierre Dominique Fecteau).
"Perhaps all this interest in clowning reflects the state of the world," he says.  "Clowns are born
when society has a need for them. Remember that Chaplin and Keaton were most popular during
Depression. And that the Indians say that clowns appear when the leaders get out of hand!"
"What we need," Pochinko concludes, "is a clown for our time. A clown that gives us a larger
sense of God in each of us, that celebrates our humanness, our animalness, and the times that
we can touch each other in a moment of laughter."
nion and les spirales, rivoli, toronto 1981, photo by gordon wallace
ian & doug, (far right) edinburgh 1950, by Archie Wallace
ian & richard on their european tour, south of france 1970
ian by richard, toronto 1971
In our initial worksops this evolved into seeing yourself in each of the six directions and sculpting the soound and gesture rhythms into clay, making a mask  for each,
the medicine wheel, which is the ESSENCE of the six masks that we make in the baby clown class.  The seventh goes further, bringing all possibilities into the
trickster, heyoka, fool, contrary, symbolized by the
red nose.
There was more "metaphysical" input re: the mask making.  Richard encountered a "shaman presence" who had appeared at the foot of our bed in Toronto
several times, waking him in fear and agitation.  He described the figure as nine feet tall wrapped in a cape covered with moons and stars and calling himself
what sounded like
"jah-smih".  Later in Seattle "jonsmith", as we referred to him appeared at the museum of native west coast masks.  He told Richard to sit on
the wharf and to look out at the horizon until he could see himself.
richard, jan miller & jan henderson, trc ottawa 1975
Richard in Central Park, New York, 4 July 1984, by nion (ian a. wallace)
richard and michael rudder, ottawa 1972, photo by doug wallace
patricia nichols, andre, richard, photo by ian wallace ottawa university
1973
                                                               
richard, deb, dominique, DERIDO, montreal 1980
production company for Nion at "Clochards Celestes"
also known as "fou-foune electrique"
by Eileen, reprinted from EnRoute Magazine
Richard asleep in our hotel room, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris, 1970
ric asleep at 795 manning ave, toronto
Yanina Jessek with Richard Pochinko, Paris 1970, photo by Ian Wallace
Wendy Gorling and Richard with the girls of the Le Coq Mime School, Paris 1970
Toronto, 1971
Les Girls from the Jacques Le Coq Mime School with Ian Wallace and Wendy Gorling, Paris 1970