Jolie, Rikki, Arna, Josey, Cordelia, Bob, Sarah-Louise and Sarah were present.
The session was called in request that Fools, Clowns, Bouffons and their ilk be included in the Institute, as improvisation is normally central to their practices, even if they do not fall under the umbrella of straight “improv”.
We then looked at the session title from the point of view of “What would happen if we did forget the Fool?”
It was agreed at the start that in some ways we would always forget the fool, as the fool resides beyond thinking…
There was a suggestion that clowning and fooling are misunderstood and sidelined disciplines and that people have phobias and misconceptions around these types of performers. We agreed that the artists can therefore feel marginalised and unrepresented. Which is exactly why they need the International Institute of Improvisation to not only recognise them as being part of the fold, but also support and champion them.
It was suggested that the issue might therefore be a question of marketing. Are lots of folks using these disciplines nowadays without directly stating they are fools, clowns or bouffons? Like Red Bastard for example.
We agreed that foolish theatre is theatre that is made with love and danger. Without the foolish element then theatre, and indeed improv, can get a bit safe.
If we did forget the fool then we would all take ourselves too seriously, or not seriously enough.
They are the edge in a show where anything can happen. The conduit between the audience and the other performers. The element of anarchy. They are the opportunity to break out and turn all the rules upside down. They have an intimate relationship with the audience, and they embrace change and possibility. They are truth speakers, boundary pushers and intuitives. Serious, but not solemn. Irreverent, but not cruel. The personification of play. Are prepared to fail, but will keep on trying.
Looking at how fools, clowns, buffoons, etc. work, we see that they tend to be facilitators and teachers, as well as performers. There is a therapeutic element to the training and this training often comes in the shape of the stick rather than the carrot, because in the process of becoming a fool, clown, bouffon etc. one has to kill one's own ego. And that is scary stuff. And can look horrific from onlookers or those not really up for the journey. It is also very zen though. The top card in the tarot deck being the Fool, as beyond the Magician and all of the known, comes all of the unknown. The more we know, the more we don't know. As improvisers we all relish the unknown. We enjoy stepping off of that cliff into the void and seeing if we will fly or fall. If we fall, we dust ourselves down, look out to the horizon and step off again.
In the end we agreed that the foolish aspect is the essence of performance and so can't be forgotten. That it is the hardest and highest part of our art and none of us would want to leave that behind. The fools are in the fold whether we asked them to be there or not!
- See more at: http://www.devotedanddisgruntled.com/events/dd-iii/reports/dont-forget-the-fool/#sthash.9DCJY34K.dpuf