Workshop | Preposterous Play : a workshop in bouffon ensemble with Roberto Pombo

Roberto Pombo
Facebook Event

Preposterous Play: A wicked workshop in BOUFFON ensemble!

The bouffons observe us from a far. Sneakily, they spy on us and listen very carefully. They are starving. Devouring our dreams, swallowing our stories, consuming our contradictions and inhaling our half-truths, attempting to satisfy their never-ending hunger. Fattened up – their bodies grotesquely distorted – they travel in gangs looking for prey. Until one day you see them and they see you, and you try to run away, but you can’t.

There is no escaping them. Slowly they surround you, singing their song. Ridiculing! Mocking! Teasing! Taunting!

You close your eyes and block your ears, wishing them away but your resistance gives them persistence! DON’T HIDE! They force you to look at yourself, holding up a mirror with a disturbing reflection in it. You are confronted with yourself, your community, and humankind. They just want you look…that’s all. LOOK!

If clowns are the forms that we make fun of and laugh at, as Jacques Lecoq suggests, conversely bouffons are the forms that make fun of us. As outsiders and outcasts, the bouffon’s primary motivation is to mock and ridicule society. The bouffon allows us to enter the realm of child-like play and anarchy, where we explore the perverse, the “too much, too far, too soon”, and the “oh my gosh they said that!”. As John Wright claims: “Bouffon is a form that allows you to be as confrontational as a political extremist”.

Come unleash your inner bouffon with Roberto Pombo in this two-day (well, one and a half day) workshop.

Roberto Pombo is a Johannesburg-based performer, theatre maker, and teacher. His practical knowledge in bouffon stems from his studies at The Helikos International School of
Theatre Making (performance and pedagogical training), as well as from his masters research in clown and bouffon through Wits University. Roberto continues to make use of the bouffon (and the clown) as a primary tool in his theatre making and performance career. His use of the bouffon also extends into his everyday life, where he uses it to be a complete as*hole to his nearest and dearest.

What will we do?
Explore the tools bouffons use as ammunition in their play; improvise; sing; laugh hard; play games; MOCK!; make fun of yourself; create the grotesque body; listen to a little bit of theory; get wild.

Who should come?
Players, tricksters, clowns, fools, performers, actors, non-actors, makers, thinkers.

But why?
For makers, writers and directors, the bouffon is a territory that allows for critical thinking in theatre making and opens up the space for satirical and parodical play. For performers and players, the bouffon reveals a grotesque level of playing which allows for a sense of freedom and abandoned inhibitions.

Where: POPArt theatre, Maboneng
When: Saturday 28 th Sept (9am – 5pm) and Sunday 29 th Sept (9am – 1pm)

Cost: R800 (concession for students and low-bank-balancers). Email us at

Booking essential, spaces limited.

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