The first half of our summer physical theatre intensive is complete. Our physical theatre students participated in one of two intensives going on these two weeks: Clown and Hidden Dimensions. Below we hear from Clown instructor, André Casaca and his translator and collaborator Federica Mafucci. In this two week intensive students recieved their own red noses and explored the truth of what it means to be a clown. The ADA community also watched a performance called “Zona Franca” directed by André and performed and created by Federica where they got to see some of the skills they’re working on in class put into practice.
André Casaca is one of the most popular professionals of physical theatre and clown in Italy. He’s Brazilian and a resident of Italy since 1995. The Lume Teatro (Lume Theatre – Campinas, Brazil) and Yves Lebreton were fundamental to his preparation and formation. Actor, theatrical researcher, clown, director, and founder of the method called “Body Comic Identity”.
Engaged in theatre for more than 25 years, his artistic and pedagogic method is recognized in Italy and abroad in university theatrical studies. He is the artistic and pedagogic director at the Teatro C’art Comic Education Onlus (Castelfiorentino, Italy) and he collaborates with many theatre schools. www.teatrocart.com
Federica Mafucci was born in Arezzo in 1986. She began theatrical training in 2010. She graduated in the Art of Physical Theater at the Atelier Teatro Fisico di Philip Radice where there were many possibilities to experiment and put into practice numerous artistic and expressive techniques. Federica has a strong interest in the dance, music and song, which allows her to experiment with a mixture of expressive modes in performance. Her focus is on the importance of comedy and physical theatre as a tool to create strong, political work.
How would you describe a clown? What is a clown?
ANDRÉ: I believe that the clown presents the most truthful, beautiful, and stupid part of the actor.
Is there a focal point of your intensive or a main concept that you hope the students take away?
ANDRÉ: Yes of course. The availability to feed themselves and to create the opportunity to take a risk by being vulnerable. Because the job of the clown is based often on improvisation, and improvisation is an important possibility for the actor in clown work to maintain contact and connection with the audience.
What is something that has struck you in work with the students so far?
ANDRÉ: They surprise me because when I work with students at the Accademia dell’Arte they are always very ready and open. They succeed in connecting some aspects that are important in the work: the connection, the availability to play and live in the work and the craziness and madness of the work.They are able to both live in the work and understand it. This is a skill that is hard to have. It’s difficult to have the balance between the action and the understanding. They succeed in doing this.
What is your favorite thing about working and living at Villa Godiola?
ANDRÉ: At the level of work I believe that I feel a natural connection. I feel that the other teachers and I are naturally all working in the same direction. It feels cohesive. I also like the structure of the Accademia because it has a careful attention to the students without coddling or protecting them, but it creates an ideal atmosphere to provoke and guide the students to a high level of work. I personally find myself getting along really well with everyone here.
What will you be working on when you leave us this summer? What is your next project? Is the work you’re doing here at the ADA related to that? Will it help to prepare you?
ANDRÉ: I often times leave a master class of work like this leave with the work still affecting me, the students stimulate me it’s not just that they take from me but they give to me. It’s not just that I give my knowledge and then I leave and I brush the work off. After this I will go to Bologna to teach in another school with Italian students and I will bring from here the desire, the need that the American students have to work hard and at a high level. I will keep with me this need to be fed that I experienced with the students here. I hope to stimulate the italian students to feed on the knowledge in the same way.
Federica, what was it like for you to perform your show, Zona Franca for the community?
FEDERICA: It’s beautiful to perform a show and to come out of the intensive work for a moment. To work not just as clown but to create like we created this show. This is also a great possibility for the students to see the work that they’re doing in class in another way.