Merry Hearts Clowns learn

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2001

the magic of laughter at workshop


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When "Merry Hearts"

"Laugh-It-Up" they can count on having more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

That’s exactly what happened when the Merry Hearts Clown Troupe of the Colley Senior Complex in Troy attended the Laugh-It-Up Workshop in Birmingham recently.

The workshop featured two of the top laugh-aholics in the business, Duane Laflin and J.T. "Bubba" Sikes.

Cindy Brunson, Beverly Campbell, Hazel Golden, Pete Jordan and Cleo Thompson attended the workshop, which Thompson said was "incredible."

"We learned so much it was unbelievable," she said. "It was absolutely amazing that we could learn so much in such a short time. What we learned, we will now teach to the other members of the Merry Hearts and we will all be better clowns for having attended the workshop."

The workshop, which was sponsored by the Magic Town Clown Alley of Birmingham, included classes on magical comedy concepts; birthday party marketing; fun, funny and fancy stuff; amazing laughter; better shows; character development and magic/clown forum.

"Until the workshop, the Merry Hearts had not had any formal training, so everything was completely new to us," Thompson said. "Now, we will be better clowns because we can perform skits and magic tricks and we learned techniques that will make our appearances more fun and funnier."

The Merry Hearts were able to try out what they had learned at the workshop when they entertained the Salem-Troy Baptist Association meeting held at Southside Baptist Church recently.

"We performed skits that we had learned at the workshop and they were well received," Thompson said. "Our audience laughed at us and clapped for us and we felt like they enjoyed our performance. But, the biggest compliment was when some of them said it wasn’t long enough. We thought that was a very nice and encouraging compliment."

The Merry Hearts are scheduled to perform their new "acts" for 80 children at Highland Home Elementary School on Feb. 27 and at the Taste of Pike County, March 8. They will also be in Troy State University’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17.

"We want to be ambassadors for the Colley Senior Complex, the city of Troy, Pike County and the state of Alabama," Thompson said. "We feel like we are accomplishing those goals, even for the state, because we performed in Montgomery for 3,500 students at the celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Head Start."

The ultimate goal of the Merry Hearts is to entertain on a national stage and they plan to attend other workshops to prepare them for this type performance.

"Our motto comes from Proverbs 17:22, ‘A merry heart doeth good like medicine,’" Thompson said. "We have 13 active members of our clown troupe, ranging in age from children to senior citizens. We would like to invite anyone of any age who would enjoy bringing smiles to the faces of others and giving them a big dose of merry medicine to join us. Everyone is welcome and we need more funny faces and more merry hearts to do good."

The Merry Hearts meet at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Colley Senior Complex. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the troupe is invited and encouraged to attend.