Clown Pippo has stage fright and doesn’t want to perform. His friend Cleo tries to calm him down and has a few good tips. Will Pippo perform in the arena in the end?
Read it here in our clown story!
Clown Pippo and his stage fright
It was shortly after seven and the audience benches in the Ramba-Zamba circus were filled to capacity.
The tightrope walker Cleo had just come out of the dressing room. She was already dressed and made up and still had a little time before her performance.
Now she wanted to stand behind the ring and watch Pippo the clown’s act. She was looking forward to it, because Pippo was going to juggle five balls at the same time for the first time. That was something special, because not every clown could do that.
But on the way to the ring, Pippo suddenly came running toward her.
„Hey, stop!“ shouted Cleo. „That’s the wrong direction! That’s the way to the arena.“
„I know that,“ Pippo replied, wanting to keep running toward the exit.
„But you’re almost there,“ Cleo reminded him, holding him by the sleeve of his clown costume.
„I know that, too. But I can’t perform today,“ Pippo stuttered in a shaky voice.
„What do you mean? You can’t perform?“ Cleo was puzzled.
„Did you see how many people are sitting in the audience? There are more than 100 of them!“ said Pippo excitedly. „Today, of all days, when I want to perform the difficult juggling act with five balls. I can’t go out there!“ He affirmed, shaking his head.
Cleo tried to talk him down, „But you’ve been practicing for a whole year. You can do your act perfectly. The audience is looking forward to seeing you, after all.“
„But what if I drop the balls while juggling? Or even worse, if I trip in the ring and land on the floor? Then they’ll all laugh at me,“ Pippo was distraught.
That’s when Cleo guessed what was going on with her friend. „Let me see,“ she said, stepping closer. „Your hands are shaking. And your cheeks are all red. I can see that even though you’re wearing makeup,“ she noted. „It’s obvious. You have stage fright!“
„Stage fright?“ asked Pippo in amazement. „What is that?“ He never heard of that before.
„Stage fright is when you’re afraid of a big performance,“ Cleo explained.
„See! I told you, I can’t perform today!“ affirmed Pippo.
„But you can do something about stage fright,“ Cleo said.
Pippo became curious. „And what can you do about it?“ he asked hopefully.
„Well, first you have to relax and loosen up,“ Cleo explained.
„And how do I do that?“, Pippo wanted to know.
Cleo knew that too: „First of all, you have to take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose. And exhale again through your mouth. You do that three times. Then you can loosen your shoulders. Swing your arms back and forth. And you can shake your legs vigorously. All the way down to your feet.“
Pippo joined in. „That’s not hard at all!“ he observed.
„Good,“ Cleo said. „Now I have another tip for you: If you’re afraid of all the spectators, pick a spectator who looks especially friendly. Then you look at that one during your performance; and you just forget about the others.“
That’s what Pippo wanted to try. Together they peeked through the curtain.
„Look at that boy,“ Cleo suggested, pointing to a boy in the front row. „He looks nice, doesn’t he? And he’s so excited about the show.“
„Yes, that’s right,“ agreed Pippo. „I’m not afraid of that boy. I’m sure he won’t laugh at me.“
„And then I’ll give you this.“ Cleo pulled a small ladybug made of cloth out of her pocket and pressed it into Pippo’s hand.
„What’s this?“ he asked.
„This is my good luck charm,“ Cleo explained. „I’m going to lend this to you. Then it will bring you good luck.“
„Thank you!“ exclaimed Pippo, smiling. „You know what Cleo? Now I’m not afraid anymore. I think my stage fright is gone.“
Just in time, because that’s when the ringmaster was heard speaking into the microphone, „Ladies and gentlemen, dear children, I bring to you our funny clown Pippo. He will present us a breathtaking number and juggle with 5 balls at the same time! Clear the ring for Pippo!“
Pippo put the lucky charm in his pocket and marched into the ring.
„Good luck! You can do it!“ shouted Cleo after him. Then she stood at the edge and watched anxiously.
Pippo positioned himself in the middle of the ring. He looked at the little spectator in the front row. He was beaming enthusiastically, and this gave Pippo courage. He took his balls and threw them up one after the other. One, two, three, four, five – now all the balls were in the air. And Pippo juggled them with ease. Always in a circle. Not a single ball fell down. He had done it!
The audience clapped and cheered enthusiastically. Pippo was relieved. He bowed and left the circus ring. But not before waving to the little boy in the front row. He had been his most important visitor today.
Questions and conversation prompts about the clown story
1. What problem does Pippo the clown have in the story?
2. What are Cleo’s three tips against stage fright?
3. Do you also have a lucky charm? If so, what is it?
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