Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To dream or not to dream, that is the question

It's been a good couple of days.
Our explorations into te world of the bouffon are deepening more and more.
On Monday we started exploring the dwarf, Tuesday and today we looked at the hunchback.
Backstage,huge mounds of cloth and whatever materials we can lay our hands on are strapped and belted onto our bodies to form the humps. Again our hands are bound and our legs taped or tied together above the knee to restrict movement.
Faces are muddied and ruddied and our teeth blacked out, to make us look as ugly as possible.
Then the group (the 10 students who are working) come on stage, I don't remember seeing an uglier sight since I have been in Paris.
You can almost kiff the stink of the swamps that clings to their clothes.
They stand sheepishly centre stage and Philippe asks the group to first play football.
This is hilarious as the actors struggle to get used to the physical restrictions imposed on them by their new bodies. Some fall over and can't get up. Othersmove incredibly slowly, some are surprisingly agile but what is clear is that restrictions such as these significantly change how the body is capable of moving.

Then, the first exercise, parodying the bastard, the fascist.
The first person to do this, Vicky is absolutely hilarious, her bound legs and arms make the goose step look even more ridiculous as she marches up and down the space, screaming, and shouting orders in an agressive high pitched German, the whole thing is made even funnier by her hat which keeps falling down over her eyes and she has to move it back with her restricted arms. She looks so stupid. Surely a good start.
Her pleasure is wonderful and we love her.
We can all learn a lot from this pleasure to play and her fun to be in the space.

Philippe goes through the whole group of 10 people that are up. At the end there are 10 minutes left he asks for 2 guinea pigs. Myself and Yuichi jump up, keen to do something.
He asks us to put a costume on.
We do.
And to get the school shopping trolley.
We do.
I am dressed as a hunchback and Yuichi a dwarf.
Philippe uses us to demonstrate how this powerful image of these 2 bouffon could be used to start a show.
1 bouffon pushing a trolley another trying to thumb a lift. they meet and the story begins.
Philippe reminds us that we see these guys in every city. The people with the shopping bags full of more stuff. What do they have in there we wonder. Why so many bundles of papers? How many clothes do they have on? All these things that tickle the imagination are food for us theatre creators. These are the images that transport our imagination and generate dreams.
Isn't this is what we want our audience to do?
To dream with us.

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