Joan Littlewood and Ariane Mnouchkine against the canon: developing the actors’ social representations through clowning

Article


Stamatiou, E. 2022. Joan Littlewood and Ariane Mnouchkine against the canon: developing the actors’ social representations through clowning. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training. 13 (4), pp. 519-535. https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2021.1968026
AuthorsStamatiou, E.
Abstract

The investigation of how Joan Littlewood and Ariane Mnouchkine used clowning to develop actors with social purposes responds to the current interest in the neglected counterhegemonic training processes of women. It also contributes to current efforts to decolonise and decentre actor training. Using Theatre Workshop’s Oh What A Lovely War (1963) and Théâtre du Soleil’s Les Clowns (1969) as exemplars, this article traces how Littlewood and Mnouchkine trained actors on clowning to theatricalise social struggles and develop their social representations. Through ensemble improvisations that exploited clown devices such as the master-servant, clown logic, object misuse, misfitness, and the flop the actors tackled their biases in two stages: the serious/comedic dissonance alienated the actor to critically explore social gests, and the process of finding the appropriate social representations during group improvisations. Contemporary actor training that wishes to invite students to explore how their body, voice and imagination in performance can resist dominant ideologies and historical stereotypes might proliferate from the use of clowning to create social representations. The tracing of Mnouchkine’s and Littlewood’s clown training processes through the deconstruction of their key works, can inspire and offer insights to pedagogues who wish to decolonise and decentre their processes.

KeywordsLittlewood; Mnouchkine; clowning; actor training; decolonising
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Journal citation13 (4), pp. 519-535
ISSN1944-3919
Year2022
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2021.1968026
Publication dates
Online05 Jan 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Jun 2021
Deposited10 Jan 2023
Copyright holder© 2022 Taylor & Francis
Additional information

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training on 05 Jan 2022, available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19443927.2021.1968026

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