The Art of Comedy
Residential Summer Course
An adventure in comic creation where the actor discovers his or her own personal ‘Ridiculousness’ and learns how to apply it in both comic and dramatic art.
August 2019 (dates to be confirmed)
Workshop fee: 490€ (includes on-site accommodation and meals).
10% discount if you come with a friend (discount to each) or if you book more than one workshop (discount for each workshop).
Reserve your place with a 70€ deposit (non-refundable). Fill in the form to pre-book >>>
This workshop is for actors, drama students, drama teachers and writers/directors with a special interest in Comedy.
What makes us laugh? Some people seem to make us laugh by simply walking onto the stage but how? During this workshop we discover and explore each actor’s personal comic presence. We begin to understand and then develop the individual’s unique comic talents. Together we uncover the secrets of comedy.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
‘The Art of Comedy’ is led by Simon Edwards, a clown and director of comedy with more than 30 years of experience. This workshop has been developed since 1989 when Simon studied with Jacques Lecoq at his school in Paris. Simon has a natural talent for Comedy (he started working as a street Clown at 14 years old) and over the years has developed his particular approach to universal Clowning. He is teacher to some of today’s leading international comic actors.
Extend your craft:
Comic presence – finding your ‘Clown’
The smallest mask in the world, (the red nose)
Comic action and timing
Comic relationships and hierarchies (the dynamics of solos, duos and trios)
Numero’s (circus, cabaret)
Contemporary Commedia dell ‘arte (Half Mask)
Clown in Theatre
Clown on Camera (filmed comic sketches – viewing work and feedback)
Who is this workshop for?
Professional actors will find this work intensive and refreshing. During The Art of Comedy workshop they will develop their comedic skills and will find the freedom to explore new areas of themselves and their art.
Students of performing arts that want to know how to get into comedy acting will find this very useful as they can attain the right habits early in their career.
Writers and directors will benefit by getting into their bodies and exploring their own unique comic potential. Through working with ‘comic situation’ and the driving forces in a scene, they will be able to identify why something is funny and fine tune their ability to develop it further. Creating comedy is a team ‘game’ that needs both comic material and sensitive direction to allow the best work to emerge.
The Clown makes us laugh but how?
Actors are often intimidated or scared of trying to make people laugh. Others over do it and seem to be having more fun than the audience. The balance is delicate. How do you move an audience to laugh? During this workshop we accompany actors step by step in a shared journey of discovery and a celebration of the ridiculous. Participants don’t have to worry about succeeding in making people laugh. This will come with practise and a process of ‘trial and correction’. Clown’ is a dynamic principle that is discovered through action and the interaction with the audience. Working in this way we have seen participants blossom time and time again.
The world of Half Masks
Commedia Dell’Arte is an ancient form of comic theatre that uses Half Mask and Clowning. Today’s best comic films, sitcoms and theatre shows are created with the same principles of comedy that were at the heart of this theatre style. Commedia Dell’Arte or ‘Comedie Humain’, as Jacques Lecoq called it, is steeped in human nature, in the foibles of man and the ridiculous lengths he will go to in order to avoid pain and suffering and to ultimately survive. The animalistic comic territory revealed when playing in a half mask requires the performer to play in a heightened register that goes well beyond naturalism. The universal themes of love, hate, pride, sex, vanity, betrayal, power etc emerge and crush the hopes, dreams and desires of the characters as they desperately attempt to fulfil their insatiable cravings… a theatre of action and passion; corrupt bankers and politicians abuse their power and squander the common resources through greed and selfishness, while the innocent are blamed and punished, (sound familiar?)
During the ‘Art of Comedy’ participants take a journey into the ridiculous, where they first encounter their own ‘clown’ and then progress into the depths of the brutal world of the half mask. Both comic styles leave an impression on the body of the performer and liberate the actor to create the comic work of today.
Clown on Camera
A clown can play anywhere there is an audience. Modern technology has opened up a whole new context. Our work is now able to be seen potentially by millions of people around the world. As Chaplin and Keaton were pioneers a hundred years ago with the new technology of film, today the internet gives us an unprecedented opportunity to reach out and touch people with our art. During this workshop participants devise a number of pieces for performance on camera.