Carlos Omar Tapia Levya
Omar Tapia is an ordained minister in The Evangelical Covenant Church of Mexico and serves as co-pastor at MisiónDF Covenant Church in Mexico City. He is also a clown, street theatre performer, amateur photographer, and social circus instructor. Currently, he is a MA in Liturgy student at The Theological Community of Mexico. His pastoral responsibilities include, among others, leading the liturgical ministry at the local church he serves at and supporting relatives of disappeared people in Mexico serving them as a spiritual and pastoral companion as part of an ecumenical team of Christian ministers and leaders.
He has also served in different ministries at The Evangelical Covenant Church of Mexico. Currently collaborates in the Theological Seminary of his denomination and is the national coordinator of the Acts29 Discipleship School for young people. As a clown and street theatre artist, he has created and performed some shows both individually and collectively and has been involved in community development programs using clowning and circus arts. Clowning, circus, theopoetics, the arts, contextual and prophetic liturgy, and their intersections with social justice and peacebuilding are some of his major exploration and research interests.
“Clowns and (Holy) Fools: The People’s Prophets”
The artistic tradition of the clown is much more than performing comic sketches to entertain audiences and make them laugh. Clowning is about dealing with the human condition and about the possibility to explore and discover a deeper and liberated spirituality; it could be understood as an expression of human freedom.
The clown inhabits the space between dreams and the reality, between the realm of imagination and the everyday life; and so, as a sort of shaman, could guide us in both realms and help us to imagine, to explore and then to re-create different realities. Clowning is also a matter of fools. It is a "holy" folly that disrupts, disturbs and defies the statu quo, bearing witness -as the old prophetic tradition did- through life path; a “foolish” state of being and a radical engagement that examine and reveal something of our deeper being as individuals and societies. In doing so, the clown confronts and defies everyday life’s rules, changes the dimension of things, and has the possibility to transform realities; it has the possibility to creatively engage with this world and to transform it.
This exploration of human freedom and the possibilities to change the world through clowning has resonated in different ways in different places of the world. This paper explores and analyzes the artistic tradition of the clown and other related fool movements in order to identify its prophetic role and its importance for our communities and societies that currently face systemic powers and different kind of pandemics. As holy fools, clowns are rising up in the public square turning it into a space where dreams and reality merge, a place where the fantastical, the poetical and the spiritual are discovered and explored in the everyday life, inspiring people and offering to them the opportunity to creatively and collaboratively imagine, explore, and re-create better realities and ways of being in order to allow all life to flourish in this world.