Saturday, 18 June 2016

Dramaturgy gets Scratchy: Ruxy Cantir @ BOUFFON SCRATCHINGS

7:30pm, Saturday June 25th 2016

Main Hall, Assembly Roxy Edinburgh, 2 Roxburgh Place EH8 9SU

Tickets £7.00

The team behind Clown Cabaret Scratch Night gleefully present BOUFFON SCRATCHINGS, our first bouffon scratch night: a cabaret style den of iniquity and hilariously sharp moral musings from a variety of Scotland’s finest up and coming performers.

Plutôt la Vie, CloWnStePPing and Melanie Jordan welcome you to a feast of dark delights as our hideously charming Bouffons invite you into a netherworld of insidious pleasure... 

Featuring: Calum MacAskill, Lucy Amsden, Ruxy Cantir, Beth Frieden, Charlotte Hastings, Ronan McMahon, Sita Pieraccini, Dylan Read, Max Scratchmann, and Andrew Simpson.

You've enjoyed our clowns, now welcome to the dark side…

Bouffon Scratchings is directed and produced by Tim Licata, Artistic Director of Plutôt la Vie, Fringe First award winner Melanie Jordan and Sarás Feijoó, Creative Director of CloWnStePPinG. Bouffon Scratchings is self-funded with support from Plutôt la Vie and the Assembly Roxy.

Clown Cabaret Scratch Night has produced five
extremely successful nights since 2014 and has been invited to participate in Conflux's Surge Festival in July 2016. CCSN Special Edition will be presented at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow on Sat. July 30th 2016 as part of Surge - Scotland's annual festival of street arts, physical theatre and circus produced by Conflux in partnership with Merchant City Festival in Glasgow.

 What was the inspiration for this performance?

Sita Pieraccini and I (Ruxy Cantir) are collaborating on making a short bouffon piece entitled I am are ART. In it, an unearthly duo use a sorry homeless person as their subject matter for a new piece of live art for an eager, intellectually acute audience. I am are ART is a commentary on our inability as people to ever deal with the reality of our world in any capacity.

Sita and I were both interested in working with each other and when we started brainstorming about the things that make us laugh and tick, we naturally gravitated toward a common experience – volunteering at a festival. We both had stories that were fresh at the time, so we just went ahead with it, especially since the subject matter concerned us, as artists, as well.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Sita and I had talked about creating and performing something together before, and this seemed like the perfect performance opportunity – a scratch night during the summer in a form that we both enjoy.

How did you become interested in making performance?

You mean in creating and devising my own work? My first courses in physical theatre in London are responsible for that. I was a decent actor, but misfit lots of roles, especially as a woman who doesn't have a dewy-eyed sensitive demeanour. In my first Neutral Mask and Clown classes, all of a sudden, I could do the thing that was aching to get out and hadn't had an outlet in drama class before. This is, of course, a much longer story, but this is a nice and concise start to it.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

More or less, yah. We began with an image and the character duo, and went from there. The first rehearsal was creating a mask for the characters and try to get through what happens in the piece, in very large brush strokes, with bouts of improvisation. 

And after that, lots of detail work-age and building the relationship between the two characters. The form of Bouffon allows space for directed improvisation, so we've allowed ourselves that, especially when we perform on June 25th – responding to each other and to the audience in time and space.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Laughter and mystery. That laughter that comes from an unknown place within you that bubbles out in a sound that is unfamiliar to you.

I mention Mystery because the Bouffon characters that we will bring to life are of a different world – a ferociously grotesque one that spawned terrible, yet intelligent entities. You wouldn't recognize this world, but you won't be able to take your eyes off because they remind you of something you used to know before.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Character development and relationship building, first of all. Secondly, we are playing a lot of with contradictions – pushing one side only to reveal the other.

Black is never far from white, and so we ride that thin line that is disturbingly delicious. We'll sing you a beautiful-sounding song but with disgusting lyrics, or we'll dedicate a graceful dance to the problem of homelessness right after stretching our legs on the homeless person lying right next to us. Or something else equally as terrible, but just as true.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Well, I define myself as a physical theatre artist and actor-creator. I have trained and formed my perspective (which continues to evolve) in a physical theatre devising programme (Dell'Arte International) so I'd say I come from that tradition, for sure. This, of course, means very many different things for different people. 

I normally try to clarify and say that when I say Physical Theatre, I mean using the body as a highly transformative instrument and in-dweller of the Other (character). And so, my work will include: physical comedy, eccentric characterization, Movement theatre, Mask work, among others. 

With a series of stellar evenings under their belt, the Clown Cabaret Scratch Night team throws caution to the wind and takes another leap of faith to present Bouffon Scratchings, Scotland's first evening of Bouffon Cabaret.  

Bouffon Scratchings offers an opportunity for emerging and established performers to explore the theatrical territory and tradition of Bouffon; a style of performance was explored and re-invigorated by Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier at Lecoq's famed theatre school in Paris.

Bouffons are the lowest of the low.  They have nothing to lose, so are completely Free.  Their Freedom is a huge power.  Their weapons are their enormous laughter, intelligent eyes and biting parody. 

Social misfits, soothsayers, outcasts, shunned and feared... Bouffons embrace their ugliness and bless their hideous form for saving them from the hypocrisy of ‘God’s beautiful children…’.  Their performance is a vicious parody of our ‘great and good’ society.  Remember... we're all in it together...!

Their only fear is to be killed before their parody has hit home…

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