By Alison Sargent, Camp ZinZanni Counselor, Team Water
Since yesterday went so smoothly, today we decided to let the kids get physical, so we brought in Peter Pitofsky, “the human cartoon”, to smack the kids around a bit. It was hilarious to watch them learn slapstick as they knocked each other across the face, kicked each other in the pants, and rammed their heads into doors. The louder the smack and the cry of pain the better!
While this sounds like a camp counselor’s nightmare, it was just what we wanted at Camp Zinzanni. I’ve never seen kids look so happy after tripping over their own feet and running into a door. And over the course of their two hours working with Peter, their initial self-consciousness became replaced by a desire to make a fool of themselves and laugh about it – the most important lesson he taught them.
The kids also learned about the legacy of physical comedy of which they are becoming a part. They all agreed that clowns play an essential role in every society, and Markus and les Castors introduced us to Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Harold Lloyd and the Three Stooges, as well as the concepts of white, red and pink clowns.
While getting goofy today, everyone started to become more and more comfortable with each other, and I’m excited for tomorrow’s partner work to take their new friendships to the next step. Especially if that next step is as amusing as some of the steps – or trips – that I saw today.
Les Castors help Markus Kunz field questions about the role of the clown. Photo by Christopher Nelson.
Peter Pitofsky talks about his life in the circus. Photo by Christopher Nelson.
Campers enthusiastically volunteer to walk into a door during Peter Pitofsky’s workshop.