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BOUFFONS and the Ecstasy of Mocking

26 June, 2010  → 19 July, 2010 - Boulder, COLORADO



  The word Bouffon comes from a latin verb: buffare, to puff, to fill the cheeks with air, to deform oneself, to swell in order to provoke laughter. It seems to be a very old human practice. In fact, bouffons are direct descendants of the satyrs from Ancient Greek Satyric Drama.
The actual word "Bouffons" comes from French language and entered  English theatrical language through the work of Jacques Lecoq.



  The essence of the Bouffon is in the dyanamic of MOCKING.
The MOCKER is a specific role, existing in all human societies.  Bouffons represent elements of their society in an amplified, distorted or exaggerated way, thereby provoking laughter and outrage.

  Their Mockery doesn't have an agenda in itself, because the Bouffons don’t have opinions, and they don’t protect any side from their mocking. They just mock everything and everybody. Their purpose is to have fun mocking humans and therefore they use everything they find, with ferocious ecstasy and jubilation. This is their power: they see and play with everything, they feed on human dynamics in order to play with it.
  Bouffons never touch on individual or private themes, instead they take on big collective movements –  involving the social complexity and the very essence of society and culture. Politics, religion, economy, power, money and finances, morality, war and the military, science, gender and race, ecology, family, education and school, cultural institutions…

  For Bouffon work to be possible, we need to be very well and precisely informed about  the situation or themes that we are mocking, in order to see and then reveal what is hidden, what lies underneath – on the other side, in the shadow or the unspeakable. Nothing can be invented – all the movements and dynamics are documented and are based in authentic behaviors.
  The actors  need to collect facts, not opinions. Bouffons have no opinions or values.  Actors, directors, writers and members of the audience do. That's why, as a theatre genre , Bouffon is often very provocative, because its very nature is to bring hidden things to the surface and to unmask the collective games lying behind events. This often includes the fact that the role of oppressor and victim are always intertwined.

Everybody in the audience gets scrambled by a bouffon piece, which can be often a bit difficult and or even unbearable. It’s not the Bouffons who are unbearable but the truth that they reveal about humanity, what is hidden, what lies underneath, on the other side, the grotesque of human society (grotesque comes from greek cryptos = hidden).






- Play, action/reaction and fun
- The grotesque body: amplification, deformation, swelling and puffing
- The white bodies
- Engaged madness
- From children playing to Bouffon games
- The Bouffon “state” and the mocking eyes

- State of play: bands of Bouffons, rhythm, rituals and mocking dynamics
- How the Bouffons see the world: themes of play
- The Bouffons mocking the great themes of humanity
- How Bouffon relates to  Tragedy, Melodrama and Clown

- Writing in the Grotesque.
- The writing of a Bouffon pieces.
- Staging of "bands of Bouffons"
- Dancing, singing and playing instruments
- Writing and directing Bouffon: each bouffon will work and rework on some acts, which will  be presented at a public performance
- Devising, rehearsing and performing an evening of Bouffon.






Saturday June 26th to Monday July 19th, 2010

JUNE Saturday 26th – Registration & Presentation:  2 – 10 pm, with public introductory lecture/open class, by Giovanni Fusetti at 8pm
General Schedule: 4 – 10 pm (6 hours per day), except for:
-Sun, June 27th,  4th & 18th : 1 pm – 7 pm
-Thu, July 8th: 11 am – 5 pm
-Tue, July 13th: 10 am – 4 pm
-Thu, July 15th: 11 am – 5 pm
-Mon, July 19th: 10 am – 1 pm & 3 pm – 10 pm

Days off:
-Thurs, July 1st
-Tues, July 6th
-Sun, July 11th
-Fri, July 16th
Performances: Mon, July 19th

The location of the workshop is the Boulder Circus Center




The aim of this course is to give participants professional theatre tools, in order to play and create in the genre of Bouffon.  It is addressed to people with previous performance experience (theatre, circus, dance, music, etc.) It is a training based on generosity, poetic ruthlesness and a commitment to exploring extreme states of physical excitement, madness and play.

To apply, you need to email a CV (Resume) and a letter of motivation. The letter must include these themes:
    -how did you come to know about this work?
    -what is your experience with movement-based theatre?
    -what is your previous experience with bouffon?
    -for what purpose do you apply for this program?

Giovanni will choose students from the applications received, forming the group.
If the student's application is accepted, s/he will be given a spot in the class, in the order that the application was received.

Once Giovanni has selected 20 students, the workshop is full, and a waiting list will be created. If you intend to participate, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Enrollement situation on May 15th 2010: a few places are still available!!

To confirm the enrollment, a deposit of US$500.00 is due.
Please note: the deposit is non-refundable. 


Early bird discount (Full payment received by May 1st, 2010): US$ 1,200.00
Full price (Full payment received after May 1st, 2010): US$ 1,400.00

A discounted total tuition fee is available for participants who enroll in both workshops: THE RED NOSE +BOUFFONS = US$ 2,200.00. To receive this discount, the full payment must be received by May 1st. After this date the reduction will not be available.



The workshop will be taught in ENGLISH and requires a basic understanding of this language.





For any questions regarding the pedagogical content please contact:
Giovanni Fusetti

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please contact

Elizabeth Baron


Telephone: +1 303-746-2669 (US Mountain Time, GMT-7)



Pictures from the Bouffon Training taught by Giovanni Fusetti. with the MFA students at the Dell'Arte School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California –  Spring 2007.













Design & programming : DomRadisson.net