the ecstasy of Mocking
Where do Bouffons come from?
What is their relationship with Clown and comic theater?
What is their dramatic potentials?
What is the duality between tragedy and bouffons?
These are the themes explored by Giovanni Fusetti during this lecture demonstration.
The word Bouffons come from a latin verb: buffare, to puff, to fill the cheeks
with air. When we blow our cheeks, and take a funny look: it seems to be a
very old practice of humans. To deform themselves, to swell in order to
In fact, bouffons are direct descendants of the satyrs of ancient greek Satyric
The actual word Bouffons comes from French bouffon and has entered the
English theatrical language through the work of Jacques Lecoq.
The essence of Bouffon is mocking: the mocking figure is a specific role,
existing in all human societies. The bouffons represents elements of his or her
society in an amplified, distorted, exagerated way, therefore provoking
laughter or outrage.
Bouffons don’t have opinions, and don’t protect any side from their mocking.
Their purpose is to have fun mocking humans and therefore they use
everything they find. This is their power: they see and play with everything.
Satire never touches individual or private themes, but always big collective
movements: themes that involve the very essence of society in its social
complexity. Politics, religion, economy, power, money and finances, morality,
war and the army, science, gender and race, ecology, family, education and
Usually 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 (grotesque comes from greek cryptos
As a theatre style is often very provoking , because of its very nature of
bringing hidden things to the surface and unmasking the collective games
that lie behind events. This often includes the fact that the role of oppressor
and victim are always intertwined.