Exploring Female Sexuality and Desire Through Clown

Charlotte Ford



Sarah Sanford in Bang. Photo by Kevin Monko.


Lee Ann Etzold in Bang. Photo by Kevin Monko.


Sarah Sanford, Lee Ann Etzold, and Charlotte Ford. Photo by Kathryn Raines.

Performer and theater artist Charlotte Ford researched and developed a new theatrical project that asked, "Can a woman be funny and sexy onstage at the same time?" The project grew from a free workshop called "Clown Strip Tease" that Ford and clowning expert Emmanuelle Delpech offered to female performers as an experiment. That workshop brought together participants who proved eager to express desire without the pressure of being desirable. Throughout the discovery process, Ford explored questions about female sexuality in theater practice, including: Is it possible to create a work about female sexuality that doesn't objectify women or reference female cultural stereotypes? Are we doomed to reference stereotype and cultural baggage, or can we find a deeper, more elemental truth about female sexuality?

Ford created material in collaboration with Delpech as well as Pig Iron member Sarah Sanford and Lee Etzold, a founding member of New Paradise Laboratories. Bang, a show featuring the creators, resulted from this discovery process and played to sell-out crowds at the FringeArts Festival in 2012. Culturebot called the production "a bubbly celebration of female energy and real female bodies."