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Philippe Gaulier’s contribution to clown theatre; traces and manifestations

Amsden, Lucy Catherine Emery (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis examines traces of the teaching of Philippe Gaulier in the genre of clown theatre. I investigate the ways two contemporary productions, NIE’s My Life With The Dogs, and Spymonkey’s Moby Dick, respond to aspects of Gaulier’s teaching. Using Gaulier’s writing and my own experience as a Gaulier student, I identify his main theatre principles and explore the ways these principles are taught, and how this pedagogy might influence clown theatre. I investigate the intermedial nature of clown theatre, which uses the spaces between differing layers of presence, and different theatre conventions, to find conflicts that can be exploited for comedy. I relate this to the multi-generic course structure of Ecole Philippe Gaulier, and the performative teaching methods employed there. I propose that Gaulier teaches in a role similar to a whiteface clown, forming a performative partnership with the student, which facilitates an embodied understanding of clowning. I argue that clown theatre interprets this partnership by framing storytelling as a kind of whiteface clown, which works in partnership with the objective to create comedy.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Radcliffe, Caroline
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Subjects:PN Literature (General)
PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1718
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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