Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Sue Marranconi AKA Squeeze. Sue is from Meadville, Pennsylvania and is very active in clowning and sharing her gift with others.
I have a follow up post which will show the creation of her watercolor painting. Please take the time to check it out. Prints are available from the artist or from many of the print on demand sites. Sue also benefits from any sale of one of her prints. I have enjoyed working with her on our painting project and I am sure you will like Sue to.
So on with the interview…
1. How long have you been a clown?
I have been a clown since about the age of six.
2. Who inspired you to become a clown?
When I was young (6) I went deaf because my adenoids grew up my ear canals. I had already had my adenoids removed so no one suspected that this was the cause. My Grandmother had a heart attack and came to live with us. She was a wonderfully creative person and she spent many hours playing piano and teaching me to act and dance. I had thirteen ear operations and was not allowed to go outside at all. Grandma also brought a huge trunk of fun costumes with her when she moved in. I eventually regained most of my hearing, but never forgot the fun, theatrics with Grandma. I eventually went to clown college in my hometown of Meadville, Pa. when I was 18. I’m currently 54 and clowning is still my passion.
3. What people do you give credit to in helping you advance your art in clowning?
I credit many others with advancing my clowning, among them are the Erie Clowns of Erie, Pennsylvania. My dear friend J.T. “Bubba” Sikes also inspired me by asking him to perform with him at the grand opening of the Red Skelton Center in Vincennes Indiana.
Vincennes is Red’s hometown and we put on a really fun Christian based program for the folks there.
Another great influence is Keith “Toby” Stokes who founded the Toby the Clown Foundation and the American Clown Museum in Lake Placid Florida.
I am an Ambassador to the museum and a portrait of me is painted on the ceiling.
I also credit my husband, Rick Marranconi for his support and his wonderful creative ideas. He also does all of my graphic work.
4. Where did you receive training & where did you get your first big break?
My first really big performance was opening for the Supremes in Erie, Pa. I just happened to know a fellow in the opening band and he ask me to do a little something. I got to meet Mary Wilson. She loves clowns! I got V.I.P. treatment!
5. How long have you been a clown? Are you still Clowning?
I have been clowning 36 years…that’s not even possible, I’m too young at heart!
I am still clowning. I am a comedy white faced clown. My clown name is Squeeze. I am called Squeeze because I play an accordion. I do not play it much anymore because of an aging back. I also do other characters as well. Several of them are Auguste clowns.
6. Are you involved with any clown organizations?
I am the Education Director for Clowns of America International. I am also the Education Director for Mid Atlantic Clown Association. I am also the Education Director fro the Erie, Pa. clown alley, the Eriesistible clowns. I am an Ambassador for the Toby the Clown Foundation and the American Clown Museum in Lake Placid Florida.
7. How do you feel your clown has evolved over time? How did you settle on the particular style and design of your clown or the personality you try to project as a clown?
My clown came about as many do. I think we all change over time. I sew, so for me creating my own costumes is part of the fun. My costumes are usually always quite elaborate. Squeeze is very much a girly clown. She has great morals and thanks those who say thank you! I am always mindful to make a good impression. I am always extra kind and loving. I always try to be the best clown I can be. I love the little ones and the seniors especially, but I clown for people of all ages and all walks of life.
8. I have learned a little more about clowns and I know there are different types of clowns, What kind of clown are you and what do you feel is your clowns most interesting characteristic?
I am a comedy whiteface clown. I think my costume colors draw in children and adults. I have often been told I am the most beautiful clown they have ever seen. Such kind words. I think the shoes and the nose are important too. I have a heart shaped nose and really big shoes!
9. Have you ever worked in a Circus and if so which ones? Do you have any great stories which you can share – feel free to add them.
I have never worked in a circus, although I would love to do it. I have had some wonderful experiences as a caring clown visiting patients in hospitals. One dear lady in the oncology ward once borrowed my wig! She said it was great to have hair again since she had lost hers due to chemo therapy. The nurses all got a good laugh and years later I got a letter from her stating that I made a difference in her healing by my visits. Another child with muscular dystrophy took his first steps to reach a puppet I had been entertaining him with. Mom and Dad had tried everything to get him to walk! These and many other like experiences are what make clowning worthwhile.
10. What kind of functions are you hired for example: conventions, parties…
I have been a clown teacher. At one time I had a clown program called Squeeze U, clown University through my local Arts Council. Due to funding cuts the program was discontinued. I enjoy corporate clowning and birthday parties. I do shows for many different functions. I am also a balloon artist and a face painter.
11. Do you have bits that are standard in the clown world or do you create your own acts?
I enjoy making up my own skits or putting a twist on many of the old classics. I am a very creative person and I enjoy making props and any kind of performance.
12.Do you use props? If so did you make them yourself?
I do use props and many of them I have created myself. I enjoy the creative process.
13. If you were in a parade did you ride anything? Bike, Unicycle, Clown car?
14. Is there video we can watch of you on the web acting as a clown for us to enjoy?
Yes. There are several – Videos will be posted soon.
15. Do you have any clown wisdom to pass on to fellow younger clowns who are starting out in the business?
Wisdom…hmmm. Know that if you become a clown, you are creating a character that will be loved. Be the person that children look up to and adults respect. Always answer your phone with a smile on your face. People can tell! Ignore the haters. There is much love in the world…work with that! And my motto: Changing the world one smile at a time!
16. What are you long term goals in clowning? Example: Become a Ringling Clown.
My long term goal is to continue to grow in the art of clowning and to inspire our youth to fill our shoes. The average age of new clowns is forty five. We need to inspire younger people in our art form and help them become the future of clowning.
17. If you can say one word that summed up all your years of clowning – what would it be?
Things I didn’t mention…I am a CHARLIE award winner from Clowns of America. Charlie stands for clowns have a real love in everyone. I also have my Excellence in clowning award from Clowns of America Int. I am an award winning clown, face painter and balloon artist.
Oh and my one word for #17 would be passion.
I hope you have enjoyed this post about another wonderful clown.
I have a follow up post which shows the creation of her watercolor painting. Please take the time to check it out. Prints are available from the artist or from many of the print on demand sites. Sue also benefits from any sale of one of her prints.
Until next time. Happy Clowning!
Thanks to Sue for all her help in creating this blog.
Patty Sue O’Hair –Vicknair Clown Artist
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