Article by Jan Hamilton
HUMOUR, RESPONSIBILITY AND SONG
This year’s Challenge (2005) saw the much heralded return of the KenjaShow – what prompted it?
JH: This year (2005) saw the twentieth anniversary of Kenja’s Challenge. They wanted something bigger than normal – something consistent with having sustained such a huge concept and such a creative one for two decades. I mean, it’s one thing to put on a sporting and ballroom competition – but the Challenge is different. Its name comes from the postulate that we Challenge each other to bring out the best in ourselves. The postulate has been sustained and expanded over twenty years.
A celebration of this achievement has to be something special. I think Wendy suggested using the music from past Kenja shows. In a way these Kenja shows may have represented something of what many people had taken to get to this point. Wendy with Amanda and Tim (and others) had numerous conferences on how this could be achieved. Assisted by Amanda, they finally chose a short list of songs from the shows to somehow be brought together to form an opening concert.
I stepped in at the end and strung them together. Once the songs began to present themselves it suddenly became obvious how timeless and powerful they were as fun communication tools. So many people put this show together.With twenty years of show material to draw on, how did you decide what to put in and what to leave out?
JH: We tried to follow the theme that the songs themselves presented. That was an obvious starting point. The understanding that we are all part of the family of mankind and that love and understanding is our basic motivation. That to joy in each other is our natural state. As we struggle with reactive energies and thoughts that would convince us that we are less than who we really are, and would incite us to resent and despise our fellows: The songs were all there, reminding us to reach for something more.
Then, as we created for ourselves an environment that would validate and inspire us – there were songs to follow that. There were even songs that communicated the ease of using energy conversion to quickly handle and dispel fears and confusions on who we are. And then of course, the whole theme comes back to one of understanding, unconditional love and compassion.Why are our show songs still so relevant?
JH: Because they touch on universal themes which will be around as long as man inhabits this planet. They touch on who we are – the spirit. They celebrate the child in us all – the human – bringing sanity to our lives. They explore the nature of our unconscious minds and the reactive energies there. They explore ways of gaining insight and humour into our nature – and regardless of how it is expressed, these questions of who are we and why are we here will be around as long as we are.What do you think is the key to encouraging a human spirit to again express itself freely?
JH: Energy Conversion meditation – as practised in Kenja – combined with Kenja Klowning is the key. As spirits we need to clear our confusion on who and what we are. Through Energy Conversion we start to realise what we are not. This begins our quest of what we are.
We begin to understand that we have a human, we start to take responsibility for that human and begin to set up energies and a life for it where it will want to emerge and it will want to communicate. Through Klowning we begin to understand how to do this.What was your purpose for developing Kenja Klowning?
JH: I studied clowning initially as a part of a 3 year full time professional acting training course at the E15 Acting School in London, England, on an Australia council grant. That training required that the childlike part of oneself be explored. I found it a very powerful and simple way of communicating. It opened up that childlike part, with all its vulnerability and humanity. It was for me a beginning, a rough introduction to what was called ‘the child in ourselves’
When I returned to Australia I developed clowning shows with other women – based on the same principal of clowning I had studied overseas. This type of clowning was very fashionable and I began to give workshops. Then I met Ken – suddenly my understanding of the human began to expand quickly. Ken had, and still has an exceptionally high reality on the human spirit, the childlike part of everyone. This whole area of the human became relevant and integral to everyone – not just actors. I was privileged to be able to work with Ken and Energy Conversion and use the clowning to help expand the search for enabling people to explore themselves and their human. Naturally the purpose for clowning changed for me at that point. So people suggested that clowning become Klowning with a K – which it did.Kenja Shows are an exhilarating and challenging way for cast members to put into practise their communication skills. In what ways do you see shows assist people with their evolution?
JH: Evolution is a very individual thing. A show merely provides and opportunity for people – it is really up to each individual. If we do use it, we learn to become responsible for the way we use abilities. Like sharing space with an audience. We learn how to leave an audience in a better space than when they came in. We can responsibly use energy and illusions to inspire and engender hope.
The whole process of a show goes way beyond team work and achievement. It is not just about feeling great at the end of the night – it encourages people to put an ethic into their skills and in doing so, assists them to creatively set up games to achieve more of what they want for themselves.“Many people appreciate the magic that KenjaShows continue to share and we’d like to thank you for them."
JH: The thank you should go firstly to Energy Conversion and the role Ken has played in these shows – thank you Ken. Over the years he has accurately diagnosed the needs of the performances. He has contributed so much to training and increased the understanding of all involved with his time and space and energy training.
Then of course to acknowledge the music; it is the essence of the shows. Thankyou to the composer Amanda Hamilton for the wonderful scores, and the talented musicians who have, over the years, brought life into the music. And to the all of the people who have helped in any way to make the shows a success.
The Kenja Show has and always will be a great testimonial to all the marvellous efforts of so many people.
Thanks for your insights, Jan.