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Title: "The work of a clown is to make the audience burst out laughing" : learning clown at École Philippe Gaulier
Author: Amsden, Lucy C. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 3798
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
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This is the first full-length study of clown training at Gaulier’s school. I take literally Gaulier’s statement, ‘The work of a clown is to make the audience burst out laughing’ (2007: 289). I interpret this to mean that the relationship with the audience plays a defining part in clown practice. Throughout the thesis I consider clowns to have audiences, and argue that the presence of peers in the classroom is a key feature of the learning. I take into account the individual nature of learning, by examining my own experiences learning Clown at the school, and comparing this with the experiences of other writers and a selection of practitioners that have given interviews towards this project. What I call a pedagogy of spectatorship focuses students’ attention towards their classmates, who are audience to everything that takes place in the Clown classroom. Gaulier’s observational skill and charismatic teaching style can enable students to perceive audience laughter and silence as crucial feedback. I demonstrate the audience role in three areas of clown practice: complicit play, the ‘flop’ and the use of the body as ridiculous. I argue that the École Philippe Gaulier provides lessons on the skills necessary to listen to audiences, so that each student can discover the ways in which she can ‘make the audience burst out laughing’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater