No Kidding!: Clown as Protagonist in Twentieth-century Theatre

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University of Delaware Press, 2003 - Performing Arts - 190 pages
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No Kidding! Clown as Protagonist in Twentieth-Century Theater examines the way clown was transformed into a serious character in twentieth-century theater. Modernist theater practitioners recognized that clown's approach to performance is profoundly different from other modes of theatrical representation. The paradox of clown, a traditionally marginal, comic character thrust into center stage as the focus of the agon, provided a stimulating new way to renovate tragedy. Experiments with clown by Jean Cocteau, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Giorgio Strehler, Dario Fo, and Roberto Benigni are examined as a means of exploring how and why clown became, in contemporary theater and film, a character from whom audiences expect philosophizing, angst, or political criticism as much as physical comedy and fractured language.
 

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Contents

Introduction Towards an Understanding of Clown
11
Clown as Focus of Agon in Modernism
18
Chasing and Gagging Clown Early Modernism and the Development of French Mime
25
Meyerholds Transformation from Pierrot to Kapellmeister The Fairground Booth and Columbines Scarf
38
Clown in Brechts Theory of Acting Mann ist Mann as AntiTragedy
53
Clown in Becketts Theater Waiting for Godot Endgame Act Without Words
71
Clown in Giorgio Strehlers Theater
90
Clown as Proletarian Messiah Dario Fo
109
Clown as Protagonist in the Heartland of Popular Culture
127
Conclusion The Return of the Film Clown
142
Notes
151
Bibliography
171
Index
185
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