Helikos Summer School 2023
August 7th → 26th , 2023
BOULDER, Colorado, USA
Bouffon Intensive, Boulder 2022
Welcome to a new edition of the Bouffon Intensive
A wild ride in the world of mocking and grotesque theatre
A radical call for anyone who wishes to develop their satirical mind and body
and feed their poetic world
with the irresistible folly
of the ecstasy of mocking
The Bouffons are buzzing with jubilation
ready to mock the exquisite insanity of human race
It’s Time for Satyric Timing !
Pablo Picasso: Goat Dance (1959)
WHO ARE THE BOUFFONS?
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 appears to be a very old human practice. In fact, bouffons are direct descendants of the satyrs from Ancient Greek Satyric Drama, whose task was to balance the Tragic Space through mockery and grotesque play. The actual word “Bouffons” comes from French and it entered English theatrical language through the work of Jacques Lecoq.
The essence of the Bouffon is in the dynamic 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 playing at being 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 dynamics and roles – 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).
The audience laughs at the Clown.
The Bouffon laughs at the audience.
First Week: THE BOUFFON FOLLY
– Play, action/reaction and fun
– Flocking and collective movements: the shapeshifting chorus
– From children playing to Bouffon games
– Engaged Madness: the “buzz”
– The Bouffon “state” and the mocking eyes
– The grotesque body: amplification, deformation, swelling and puffing
– The white bodies
– Altered states of play: bands of Bouffons, rhythm, rituals and mocking dynamics.
– The shapeshifting body.
– How the Bouffons see the world: themes of play
– Bouffons impro: non-linear and non local writing.
– The Bouffons mocking the great themes of humanity.
Second Week: THE DYNAMICS OF MOCKING
– How Bouffon relates to Tragedy, Melodrama and Clown.
– Groteque Characters and Grotesque Bouffons.
– Grotesque Writing
– The devising of a Bouffon piece
– Staging of “bands of Bouffons”
– Dancing, singing and instruments
Third Week: DEVISING WITH BOUFFONS
– Writing and directing Bouffon: participants will work and rework on some acts, which will be presented in a public performance.
– Devising, rehearsing and performing an evening of Bouffons.
The training will take place in Boulder, Colorado, at the BOULDER CIRCUS CENTER
The workshop is an intensive three week Masterclass, from Monday August 7th to Saturday August 26th.
Each day include 6 hours of class
Monday August 7th: 9:00am to 4:00 pm
Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th: 9:30am to 5:30 pm
Friday 11th: 4:00pm to 10:00pm
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th: Days Off
Monday 14th: 9:00am to 4:00 pm
Tuesday 15th to Friday 18th: 9:30am to 5:30 pm
Saturday 19th: 1:00pm to 8:pm
Sunday 20th: Day Off
Monday 21th: 9:00am to 4:00 pm
Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 14th: 9:30am to 5:30 pm
Friday 25th: 12:00pm to 10:00pm. PUBLIC PERFORMANCE
Saturday 26th: 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Bouffon Training at the Celebration Barn Theatre, 2017
This workshop is addressed to theatre practitioners with previous experiences in movement based theatre and in the Pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. The aim of this course is to give participants professional theatre tools, in order to play and devise in the genre of Bouffon and Grotesque. 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 brief bio, and a letter of motivation.
Please include in the letter the following topics :
-how did you come to know about this work?
-what is your experience with movement-based theatre?
-what is your previous experience with Bouffons?
-for what purpose do you apply for this program?
Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org
APPLICATION DEADLINE: June 15th 2023
Bouffon Performance at Dell’Arte School , 2007
Early Bird Tuition: $ 1.500. If full tuition is paid by June 1st, 2023
Full Tuition: US$1.800. If full tuition is after by June 1st, 2023
Once accepted, to confirm the enrollment, a deposit of $500 is due.
Please note that the deposit is non-refundable.
Once the application is accepted, places will be given in order of email submission.
Once Giovanni has selected 18 students, the workshop is full, and a waiting list will be created.
Please note that the tuition does not include accommodation and that participants will be responsible for organizing their staying in Boulder. You can find some useful information about housing in Boulder in the document: Boulder Information Kit.
Once completed the enrollment, participants will receive a message containing further practical details about the workshop, as well as the most updated details of the anti-covid health and safety protocols that the group will have to comply with.
The workshop will be taught in ENGLISH and a basic understanding of this language is required.
Helikos School, 2013
INFORMATION AND APPLICATIONS
For further information about the content of the workshop and for applications, please contact Giovanni Fusetti at
A SAFETY MESSAGE IN TROUBLED TIMES
The training will happen in the rigorous respect of the Federal, State and Local anti-Covid guidance and restrictions, if any, as well as the rules applied by the venue that will host the workshop.
All participants will have to agree in engaging with these rules.
Given the uncertain circumstances of the current geopolitical turmoil, the training will be confirmed ONLY if the scenario will allow the safety necessary to travel and to practice. In case of cancellation due to force majeure, all paid deposit and tuition will be refunded.
See you in Boulder, under the gentle and powerful spell of the Rocky Mountains !