The Only Clown in the Village
In the book of clowns, Kingsley Perera stands out as the only Asian clown registered in Britain. In this film – made by film and video production company ‘Undercurrents’ - we follow him as he goes back to his roots in Sri Lanka. His family in the UK are proud, but also scared for what might become of him. Little do they know just how much the trip will change him.
Taking a tuk-tuk from the capital Colombo, Kingsley, whose clown name is Theeeko, goes on a physical, emotional and spiritual journey to Tamil, an area in the far north of Sri Lanka torn apart by civil war. Years of unrest have killed twice as many as lost their lives in the tsunami, but the disaster affected both sides.
The Only Clown in the Village Theeeko sees and hears how one village lost one sixth of its population, including children killed whilst they made their way home from school. The remnants of 150 years of British occupation on the island are still visible through the rubble but despite the trauma, Kingsley can’t suppress his natural desire to entertain, his infectious joy crossing the borders of culture and language.
Life goes on, as it must, as Kingsley meets other volunteers from outside the country who simply don’t want to go home. Others, less fortunate, who have lost more than just their livelihoods, have nowhere to go and no way to escape. Rice warehouses act as impromptu accommodation and charitable art projects take the place of counselling facilities as children draw page after page of waves.
The Only Clown in the Village Rehousing and compensation plans by the Sri Lankan officials are seen as too little, too late. Even those who still have jobs and homes are losing hope as their businesses fail and homes deteriorate. At another school, exactly one hundred days after they lost sixteen classmates, children gather in a packed hall to be entertained by Kingsley. To some, his gift of happiness, if only for one day, is more valuable than anything else.
Ringing in the Sri Lankan new year after weeks on the road, this big-hearted clown meets distant relatives and begins to become deeply connected with suffering that has passed, but also encounters the glowing hope for the future.
Before leaving to return to the valleys of Wales, Kingsley’s final show brings together children, families and even soldiers under one universal action – laughter.
On Community Channel (Digital TV) Sunday 26th at 18.05pm
This film and video production company produced the film 'The Only Clown in the Village' and is based in Swansea.