Day 7 of Bouffons at Gaulier

I’ve gone a bit off the rails with my summaries of the learning this past week.

I’m not going to lie– I mean, why would I lie? I never do, I’m compulsively honest… something that is actually an issue here at Gaulier where lying is “part of the game” – it’s been a hard past week.

Almost everyone on the course feels it has been hard. For different reasons.

For me, a lot of the difficulty has not been in the course itself, but in a bunch of other stuff that has been mixed up emotionally in it for me. Stuff that I won’t mention here because… well, it’s crossing the line into stuff that I don’t really want to talk about (yeah, I did use the word “stuff” three times there… that’s how articulate I am right now).

Why don’t I want to talk about it? Because it’s personal, sure. But mostly because it’s ongoing and I’m bang in the middle of it. It’s not usually a good idea to talk publicly about something emotional you’re bang in the middle of going through.

It’s better to wait until you have a bit of a control over those emotions and you’ve worked out what the hell it all means. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up saying something you regret.

This is related to the Bouffon that we’re doing here this week (hey, wasn’t that clever what I did there? I managed to bring it back round to the learning!)

Part of the bouffon work is to parody people. To imitate them for comic effect.

This imitation often comes from anger. Even from hate. You parody someone you despise. Or, at least, a type of person you despise if not a specific person.

But I don’t think you could parody someone who you were actively working through some emotional shit about…

… or you couldn’t parody them well, I don’t think.

Doing it effectively seems to require a certain amount of distance.

The ability to look on someone you despise and inject your anger and hate with a ninja-like focus.

For instance, I did a parody of Hitler the yesterday, as instructed by Philippe. I had started with a parody of a John Knox-style fanatical preacher and he asked me to change it to Hitler.

It’s not that I hate Hitler. Not in the sense that I have a personal connection with him.

If he were currently in the process of murdering my family, I think it would be difficult to parody him successfully – the emotions would be too raw for me.

But to take this loathsome figure and direct some controlled rage into the character can be very effective. It was effective… for a while… until Gaulier asked me to switch out of the Hitler voice to my own voice and then direct the same energy at a particular person in the audience… which made me start thinking too much and it made me lose the pleasure – I was far too concerned about what that particular person I was being asked to talk to was thinking.

My current troubling situation is one of those volatile situations of the mind that changes every day and is excruciating. The sort that makes you sit up at night running over the same thoughts again and again with no ending.

In a way, it doesn’t really matter what the specific situation is. We all have them sometimes.

All it means is that I am emotionally a bit all over the place this week.

But I don’t think I’m the only one.

It seems that the bouffons course is stirring up some stuff for quite a few people. But then, maybe I’m just projecting my feelings onto others.

All I can say is that the group seems to be pretty down this week compared to previous ones.

Just 3 more days of Bouffons to go. Let’s see if we’re lifted up by the end of the week or we’ve all been emotionally sucked dry.

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