arts and entertainment in the street

Andrea Mineo: using humour as a weapon against stress and bad energy

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Andrea Mineo performing at BuskerBus in Krotoszyn
Andrea Mineo at BuskerBus in Krotoszyn photo Joanna Dryjańska-Pluta

Andrea Mineo on common clown stereotypes, his definition of humour, and helping people lose control and smile.

People often have a stereotypical idea of ​​a clown. They only imagine him as a funny and even a little decadent figure that makes children laugh or terrify them (all because of Stephen King).

In reality, a clown is an archetypal character that is present in every culture. He is a fool, a playful spirit that makes fun of the life tragedies, maintaining balance in the universe. 

Andrea Mineo

Ciao, Andrea! How are you?  

I’m fine, thanks. I can say that much better since I have moved to the countryside, where I feel less street from this crazy situation.

What is your background, and what was your path of becoming a performer? Who did you want to become when you were a kid?

I have always been in love with the theatre. When I was young, my parents had a small and non-professional theatre company, so I grew up with art around me. In my free time, I tried to learn about it. Then, my friend started performing in the street. When I saw him, I decided that this was the path I wanted to follow. 

For almost ten years, I also had another job. I worked with children at-risk, with disabilities, drug problems.  

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an advocate. How crazy this idea was. Look at me now!

Andrea Mineo performing at BuskerBus Cabaret in Wrocław
Andrea Mineo at BuskerBus photo Tobiasz Papuczys

What is your creative process?

I’m a Collettivo Clown member and now also a part of a circus collective called Damarame. I enjoy operating in a group. It is a powerful way to work, especially when there are trust and respect between people.

I’m used to working with other people (actors and directors), so I haven’t yet developed a creative process that I could call my own.  

Who is Andrea and who is Domenico? How would you describe yourself in your private life vs your stage persona?  

Domenico and I have some things in common. He loves being in the centre of attention, the applause, but at the same time, he is terrified by the audience. Domenico is an anxious person, just like me. He also represents my silly part, but I think (or hope so) to be not as stupid as he is in real life. 

My other character is called Lion, and he is a foolish magician who falls in love with funky music.

Boato! promo video

Clowns transform our fears into strength

In your promo materials, I read that at Colletivo Clown you are “professionals united to bring the clown beyond the stereotype”. How do people see clowns, and how would you like to change it?

People often have a stereotypical idea of ​​a clown. They only imagine him as a funny and even a little decadent figure that makes children laugh or terrify them (all because of Stephen King).

In reality, a clown is an archetypal figure that is present in every culture. He is a fool, a playful spirit that makes fun of the life tragedies, maintaining balance in the universe. 

The clown is present in all of us; he is our inner child. It is a silly character, continuously amazed by the world.

This hyper-performance society wants us all to be successful while the clown is a loser and a disadvantaged, but through laughter, he transforms our weaknesses and fears into strength.

Street shows are usually universal and dedicated to the audience of all ages, but who is your favourite audience? Do you see the difference in how kids and adults react to your show?

I don’t think I have a favourite audience as each type has its peculiarities. I love how children throw themselves into your world without resistance, letting themselves go in wonder.

On the other hand, I like to see how adults slowly break down their self-control. When you see the first crack in their imaginary wall, you can see a smile and that they enjoy the show.

What skills and personality traits do you need to be a clown? 

The desire to question ourselves, the ability to listen to each other and a pinch of ego.

Andrea Mineo at BuskerBus in Zielona Góra photo Małgosia

You entertain other people, but what puts a smile on your face?

The puns make me laugh a lot and also the comedy that comes from the pauses and silences. I like black humour too.

What is your definition of a sense of humour?  

For me, a sense of humour is a weapon against all the stress and bad energy we feel every day.

Do you remember your impressions from the first street show? Do you still busk? 

During my first street show, I felt a lot of anxiety, but the audience was totally by my side, and the volunteers tried to calm me down. I still busk, and I love it. 

Sometimes fancy spots pay you more, but you don’t build connections with the people. I prefer wild places where I receive a lot of love and energy.

What makes a performer a good busker?

Empathy, the ability to understand the audience and the street’s temperature for sure make a performer a good busker.

Andrea Mineo
Boato! at BuskerBus in Zielona Góra

What is the best crowd reaction you have ever seen during busking?

After one show, the crowd started shouting my name. I felt like a rockstar.  

What are your tricks to build the crowd?

I try to break the routine of the street. For a street show to work, the audience needs to trust in you, so you have to build this trust minute by minute.

What shows make you stop and stay in the street?  

The shows with a lot of energy.

Who are your favourite buskers?

If I have to choose the one, I will say Mimo Tuga, a street mime from Chile.

What tips do you have for beginners?

One thing I have learnt is that a busker should believe in himself. Don’t wait until you are ready; just go to the street and try.

Andrea Mineo

What are your plans and dreams?

My plan and my dream are to travel all around the world with my show. I want to perform in different contexts – at festivals, rural areas and war zones.

Sounds like a beautiful plan. I’m looking forward to learning more about it!

About Andrea Mineo

Andrea Mineo was born in Milano, Italy. From a young age has been passionate about theatre. When he met the mysterious creature of a clown for the first time, it was love at first sight. It led him to various workshops worldwide with clown masters like Andrè Casaca, Jhonny Melville, Antonio Villetta, and Fraser Hooper. In 2015 together with Fabio Lucignano and Chiara Cimatti, he created the comic magic show Funky Magic Show. He is a member of circus groups Colletivo Clown and Damarame.

In his show Boato! he experiences his body without the limit of heigh.

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