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Type: Journal article
Title: John Clarke: the man, the mask and the problem of acting
Author: Pender, A.
Citation: Comedy Studies, 2019; 10(1):8-20
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 2040-610X
Statement of
Anne Pender
Abstract: John Clarke delighted audiences with his satire for many years. He was both a writer and an actor, but in many ways, particularly in his early years, he was a reluctant actor. This article examines the development of Clarke’s unique approach to performing and his solution to the problem of establishing a direct connection with an audience. It explores Clarke’s development as a performer and writer from his beginnings in university revue in New Zealand in the 1960s, his association with Barry Humphries and others in London during the early 1970s, and his work in Australia from 1977 until his death in 2017. This article charts Clarke’s distinctive contribution to Australian comic drama as writer and performer in The Games (1998–2000) and in Clarke and Dawe (1989–2017). Drawing on numerous interviews the author conducted with Clarke between 2008 and 2017, it also investigates the unique ways in which Clarke prepared for comic performance, and his approach to collaboration with other writers and performers on scripts for television and in film.
Keywords: Australia; approaches to acting; comedy; film; John Clarke; New Zealand; satire; script-writing; television
Description: Published online: 28 Mar 2019.
Rights: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
DOI: 10.1080/2040610X.2019.1592313
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