The clown game as an alternative to serious I. [Thèse]

“Laughter is a weapon of mass construction”

Jango Edwards—Clown

the educational script corresponds to the handwritten formalization of the course of an intervention or training. These notes include the detailed sequence of each of the training sequences and constitute a guide for the different participants, as well as a guarantee of quality, professionalism and reproducibility.

The pedagogical script also allows the creation of serious games (from English serious games). These serious games are educational objects that use the abilities and appetite of individuals to engage in games for the purpose of learning.

Putting the terms of Play Y I laughed describing these edutainment tools suggests that what is not serious is not educational. Since it is quite unlikely to imagine a serious game to train a clown, it is unlikely that you will train serious people with a clown game. Indeed, how to conceive an education based on laughter, jokes and fun?

In French, ” Clown “ it can be used to discredit or diminish a person’s status. But is it so easy to be a clown? Is it enough to be called a clown to be a clown?

Some circus schools do not offer training in the role of the clown, judging that clowning is something innate, a vocation, or even, as some family circuses suggested, a matter of genetics. If so, ambitious people who wish to train in the red nose trade will be at a loss.

How do you become a clown? Is there a pedagogy of the clown game? Are you serious? Is it restricted to learning the clown trade? But, in fact, what exactly is the clown? This is what the clown offers us to discover Rafael Resende Marques da Silva in his thesis “Development of a clown game pedagogy: a trip between Brazil and Europe”

Why read this thesis?

Rafaël Resende Marques da Silva offers a buffoonish thesis derived from his clown, teaching and research experience. The pen, the effort and the desire to captivate and create smiles are palpable.

Like a tightrope walker, we walk the thread of the investigation, looking without vertigo, personal experiences, theoretical and experimental approach in an elegant and captivating way. With each of our steps, it materializes little by little in front of us academic knowledge related to the clown. He then reveals himself behind the red nose stereotype, a complex history, a profound universalism and above all a surprising pedagogy based on laughter, sharing and respect for others.

The investigative clown achieves in this manuscript to constitute a stone that contributes to improve both his art and his science with the profound ambition to participate in the constitution of a network of researchers on the theme of the clown.

Warming up

“The theme of this work has been observed for fifteen years since my first theatrical and buffoonish experiences. Empirical experience was the basis of my training as an actor and clown, which naturally stimulated the need to understand my practice. The search for a personal artistic practice can trigger a sui generis research project due to the particularities inherent in the object of study.

Artistic creation has its own methodology developed by the artist during his moments of creation. The chaotic starting material gradually transforms into something concrete and perceptible to others, stimulating an aesthetic appreciation through emotions, images and reflections. And a thesis can follow the same logic, because an experience, an idea or a problem is transformed over the years into a tangible corpus and a text that can be analyzed and verified. So this work is the result of a dialectic of interference between the artistic world and the academic world in an attempt to bring art closer to the academy and perhaps transform art through higher education, or even the university approach to the arts. scenic through the clown.

The game of the clown is the great theme of this trip, which began in Brazil and crossed four European countries (Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal). Two shows A2 and Turning Point were born from this experience: Las Burrocratas, twenty clown initiation and creation workshops, twelve artist residences, fifty performances in twenty cities on two continents and an estimated audience of eight thousand people in this research process between the years 2011 and 2018. A long journey that is not over yet and continues with my return to Brazil.
The game is an option to access and discover the universe of the clown. It is an educational tool for the training of human beings in life and for the theater and, therefore, the clown. This universal human practice can contribute to artistic creation. The interactions of the game with other areas of knowledge (pedagogy, psychology, philosophy) will be used to help explore the concepts and theoretical bases proposed in the thesis. Unified practice and theory can thus give oxygen to an art that is both ancient and contemporary.

The practice is present on two fronts: the creation of shows and the pedagogy of the clown. Teaching occupies a preponderant place in the course of this research work because within our group, Cia da Bobagem, we were the guinea pigs of the methodology used. And when this practice works in the company, it is shared in a workshop with other interested people. Exercises, techniques, games, methods and analysis processes are tested as in a laboratory and can then be disseminated to others. »

no red nose

Rafael Resende Marques da Silva desecrates the profession of clown that certain artistic currents associate with the innate or with mysticism integrating more than mysterious initiation rituals.

Through his research, the author manages to highlight two pedagogical styles associated with the clown profession: the pedagogy of suffering Y the pedagogy of pleasure.

The pedagogy of suffering it corresponds to a model of vertical transmission of information with a teacher putting himself in the position of master of ceremonies judging and evaluating, in an often obscure and subjective way, the apprentice clowns. Giving itself the function and the right to lower, humiliate or even brutalize students. East tyrannical behavioral method it creates anxiety, suffering and blockages among the students, whose learning is reduced to pleasing and satisfying their teacher.

The pedagogy of pleasure is a pedagogy developed by the clown Jesus Jara dispensing with the authority figure of the master of ceremonies and relying on four principles:

  • “I’m wrong therefore I am” encouraging to de-dramatize the error by valuing it and renouncing the obligation to get it right;
  • “The letter enters with humor” in total opposition to a Spanish saying that stipulates that there is no learning without pain comparable to the famous English “no pain no gain”. All learning must therefore be a pleasure;
  • ” Self love ” encouraging students and their self-esteem through constructive and not demoralizing comments;
  • “Evaluation of teaching processes” to allow the teacher to start a process of improving their practice after each intervention.

The pedagogy of pleasure allows the teacher to become a pleasure stimulator both to be on stage and to learn, exchange and develop.

this pedagogy,horizontality of human relations and in respect for the individual and their uniquenessIt does not intend to impose a clown on all the students, but rather to create a unique clown in each one of them through the game.

Describing and analyzing many clown formations, the author Rafaël Resende Marques da Silva achieves define a buffoonish pedagogy whose central axis is the pedagogy of pleasure allowing to learn the art of the clown by the lightness without losing its quality and its principles. In this pedagogy, teaching clowns enrich the knowledge and pedagogy of the clown through their experiences and individualities, contributing their skills and knowledge acquired in collaboration with their students and their audience.

with a red nose

Rafaël Resende Marques da Silva transcends many prejudices and the generalized cynicism of our societies by experimenting and highlighting the unifying force of a pedagogy based on pleasure. Even transcending his own theme, he proposes to reconsider knowledge and our relationship with it by adopting a pedagogy of pleasure. This method allows to acquire skills and knowledge offering free choice and learning autonomy.

Lightening the weight of the error, proposing a new way of transmitting, the pedagogy of pleasure brings to the fore the pleasure of learning and teaching. It emancipates individuals by creating and cultivate an appetite for knowledge as well as autonomy. by instilling yourhealthy and rewarding communication techniques stimulating connections with ourselves and with othershas the potential to help us deal with and defuse toxic hierarchical relationships through what is in fact a form of clown wisdom.

And you then? Ready to integrate the clown into your educational script?

On the same topic I recommend Article by Denis Cristol on learning the art of clowning.

Good reading

This work was defended on June 11, 2018 in Montpellier, within the framework of obtaining the doctorate degree from the Paul Valéry Montpellier III University and prepared within the research unit Representing, inventing the reality of romanticism in the 21st century — RIRRA21 — EA 4209 and the Doctoral School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, Civilizations: ED 58 (Montpellier — France)


Rafael Resende Marques da Silva. Development of a clown game pedagogy: a journey between Brazil and Europe. Art and art history. Paul Valéry University — Montpellier III, 2018. French. ⟨NNT: 2018MON30082⟩. ⟨tel-02165951⟩



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