Picasso Bouffon 1905

Bouffon is a modern french theater term that was re-coined in the early 1960s by French acting instructor Jacques Lecoq to describe a specific style of performance work that has a main focus in the art of mockery. Similar to, but distinct from clowning, the bouffon draws from burlesque, commedia dell’arte, farce, gallows humor, parody, satire, and slapstick.

According to Lecoq, ‘the difference between the clown and the bouffon is that while the clown is alone, the bouffon is part of a gang; while we make fun of the clown, the bouffon makes fun of us. At the heart of the bouffon is mockery pushed to the point of parody. Bouffons amuse themselves by reproducing the life of man in their own way, through games and pranks.’

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