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