Download The Semiotics of Clowns and Clowning: Rituals of by Paul Bouissac PDF

By Paul Bouissac

During the final three hundred years circus clowns have emerged as robust cultural icons. this is often the 1st semiotic research of the variety of makeup and costumes in which the clowns' acting identities were proven and cross on constructing. It additionally examines what Bouissac phrases 'micronarratives' - narrative meanings that clowns generate via their acts, dialogues and gestures.

Putting a repertory of clown performances less than the semiotic microscope results in the realization that the performances are all interconnected and are available from what could be termed a 'mythical matrix'. those micronarratives mirror in context-sensitive kinds a grasp narrative whose normal topic refers back to the emergence of cultures and constraints that they position upon instinctual behaviour.

From this vantage element, each one functionality may be regarded as a ritual which re-enacts the primitive violence inherent in all cultures and the transitority resolutions which has to be negotiated because the final result. Why do those acts of transgression and re-integration then set off laughter and sweetness? what sort of replicate does this publish to society? In a masterful semiotic research, Bouissac delves into many years of study to reply to those questions.

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Additional info for The Semiotics of Clowns and Clowning: Rituals of Transgression and the Theory of Laughter

Example text

The act with the mule staged his struggle to make the animal pull a cart. However, despite his efforts, the mule would not budge. In the end, the mule was seated in the cart and the clown was pulling the cart out of the ring. This latter act was so popular that the Soviet Union printed a postal stamp honoring Karandash, showing the mule sitting in the cart being pulled by the clown. In today’s European circuses and their outreach, we can observe two paradigms: on the one hand, traditional teams formed by a whiteface, now often played by a woman, and one or two augustes; and, on the other hand, clowns who perform solo, occasionally using the ringmaster as interlocutor or bringing into their interludes some willing members of the audience.

Confronted with various body parts scattered on the ground, he tried to put the statue back together but kept making hilarious mistakes. The act with the mule staged his struggle to make the animal pull a cart. However, despite his efforts, the mule would not budge. In the end, the mule was seated in the cart and the clown was pulling the cart out of the ring. This latter act was so popular that the Soviet Union printed a postal stamp honoring Karandash, showing the mule sitting in the cart being pulled by the clown.

Examples of this continuity nowadays include the whiteface Pipo and the auguste Charlie Cairoli. The latter has often been mistaken for his deceased father. Or a well-known clown can have an understudy replace him for a period of time when he cannot take part in person in a show for which he is under contract. This is known to be the case for Barry Lubin, whose creation the original clown Grandma is at times impersonated by another artist who has been trained appropriately. This provides an interesting example— probably not the only one—of the fundamental split that exists between a clown persona and the human person who embodies it.

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