Mark Wieczorek has never gone looking for trouble, but when it found him, he didn’t run away explains William D King. That’s why he is where he is today: in a sparkling red and white striped top hat and glittery vest, juggling flaming torches like a pro after juggling his career path from lawyer to clown all in one fell swoop. The transition was not easy; the change of skin required Mark to be daring and fearless in order to shift gears into something that used his talents and abilities but in what he considered “a more rewarding career.”
He tells Law crossing how his journey began:
- I guess I thought about being clown ever since I was eight years old. My grandmother heard me singing some little song about becoming a clown when I grew up. And she thought it was so cute that she went out and bought me the clown suit. I wore it around for months after that.
- I really got serious about becoming a clown in my mid-to late teens. When I realized that my dream extended beyond just wearing a funny costume; what I wanted to do was become an entertainer explains William D King. And also at that time, with the whole world watching (and perhaps Paris burning), there wasn’t anything more important than peace, love and happiness. So like Mother Teresa said: ‘Do something wonderful – spread some joy.’ For me, clowning is spreading joy.”
- Mark has always had an eye for the bizarre; he describes his family growing up as “unique,” citing his parents’ “quirky sense of humor” and the influence of his grandmother’s love for Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, the Three Stooges, and old slapstick comedy films. He says that he always wanted to go into acting but didn’t think that was realistic. However, when he got involved with the drama society in college
- and they did a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night where I played Sir Andrew Aguecheek … It was very funny playing this type-A character who is full of himself and constantly trying to impress people while hiding behind these cheap one-liners,” Mark recalls later in life he realized how much he enjoyed doing physical comedy – gags slipping on banana peels or barf bags.
- He liked the reactions he got from the audience and how it made him feel as though he could really connect with those watching his performance. When talking about his first experience as a clown, Mark tells us that “it was something completely different from what I was used to doing as an actor because no lines were written for me … It was just me being myself.” This way of performing appealed to Mark. So much so that after graduating from college he decided to pursue a career in acting and went to New York City. Where he studied at The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts. The Circle In The Square Theatre School, and HB Studios says William D King. He started out working Off-Broadway but soon moved on to Broadway before quitting acting altogether. When he was offered a position in the legal department of a multinational corporation.
- Mark was somewhat dissatisfied with his career change and after twelve years working as a lawyer. He decided to quit and go back to what he loved doing most: acting. The transition wasn’t easy though; Mark had to take an eight-week clown training course at the Ringling Bros. Clown College and intern with various circuses for two years before getting hired on as a performer by Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus (The Greatest Show on Earth). He travelled around America and all over Europe, performing for audiences of thousands every night; yet never felt more alone than when standing before them all wearing that pointed red hat. Exaggerated white face paint and rainbow suspenders (Mark’s exact clown getup can be seen in this video clip from Ringling).
- Mark had a successful career with Ringling Bros. for over seven years and his passion for the circus arts only intensified during that time. But things didn’t work out in the long run. Mark tells us “the circus may have gone in my blood, but I think at the end of it all it didn’t go in my heart.” He believes that Ringling Bros. strayed away from their original purpose – to bring happiness into people’s lives by promoting “great family entertainment” – when they put on shows which attempted to appeal to adults through more extreme type stunts.
Clowning is Mark’s way of blending his avocation with his vocation. William D King says He wants to make people laugh and he wants to move them. “I love to see the joy and laughter that my clowning brings into people’s lives.”