To fart on apathy.
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Naked Empire Bouffon Company’s next project will celebrate the exciting world of class privilege. An all new production performed by Artistic Director, Nathaniel Justiniano and directed by Kathryn Zdan. More details about community focus groups and production dates coming soon.
The following links lead you to videos and articles making an influence on the creation of this piece. Have more to add? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line via the contact page below.
Dr. Paul Piff’s TED Talk shows what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal.Go Now!
How much inequality is too much? Check out this PBS Documentary.Go Now!
Ferguson, Race, and Riots under the umbrella of class oppression.Go Now!
A brilliant 1-minute video featuring Haitians reading everyday gripes from Twitter’s FirstWorldProblems hashtag.Go Now!
NPR’s Here & Now reports on the privileged POV of the CEOs of Lululemon and Abercrombie.Go Now!
This succinct and accessible 1988 essay by Peggy McIntosh illuminates.Go Now!
Check out this HuffPo article citing intersectionality.Go Now!
NAKED EMPIRE BOUFFON COMPANY is dedicated to researching, expanding, and popularizing bouffon practice through training and performance both locally and internationally.
WE BELIEVE denial is our muse.
WE CELEBRATE difficult truths with gratuitous abandon.
WE DISTILL the complexity of societal dysfunction into grotesque physical comedy.
WE ARE POETS who hate seriousness.
WE ARE PROPHETS who hate didacticism.
WE ARE PLEASURE SEEKERS who hate judgment.
WE INVITE you to join us and laugh your ass off while we fart all over your sensibilities.
Bouffon is a broad performance realm rooted in satire and mockery. Naked Empire’s approach and aesthetic may not be the same as other practitioners. Critics have described our work as follows:
“Naked Empire Bouffon has been developing a theatrical style that builds on a solid foundation of lewd, crude, and rude shenanigans. Their dramatic goal is to combine social activism with physically grotesque satire. Their acutely confrontational performance style makes the San Francisco Mime Troupe look like a bunch of old biddies gathering for afternoon tea. Lewis Black might end up sounding like a pussy.” -Huffington Post
“The resultant characters — bundles of twisted, giggling, homicidal urges who have an uncomfortable talent for honing in on the weaknesses of others — are, well, insanely entertaining. Justiniano believes these “groveling goblin prophets” are harbingers of essential truths whose very grotesqueness compels people to pay them heed.” -San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Mind-blowingly brilliant, incredibly challenging. Hysterical physical comedians and quick on their feet. Through fiercely intelligent writing and delightfully risqué performance, this clever duo unabashedly tackles every topic. Without a doubt, Art of the highest calibre, dragged through the mud, beaten to a bloody pulp and served up, piping hot, on a silver platter.” -Bloody Underrated
“It’s vile and provocative, but it’s also a very sly, smart commentary on a culture busily amusing itself as it slides off this mortal coil, too afraid to talk about serious things, and too busy dumbing itself down.” -A Beast In A Jungle
Some of our role models include:
Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat and Bruno fame.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone via South Park, Team America, or Book of Mormon.
Naked Empire’s work owes much of its existence to a venerable lineage of performance research and practice. Most notably, the work of Master Teacher Giovanni Fusetti, who introduced Artistic Director, Nathaniel Justiniano to this realm of performance during his training at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.
To our knowledge, we’re the only company in the United States exclusively dedicated to the research and performance of bouffon, but every year more practitioners who teach and create bouffon are making themselves known. We are working to share knowledge, grow the field, build community, and continue the research into what bouffon is and can be.
Are you a teacher or creator of bouffon work? We’d love to know you and start by listing a link to your website and work here.
Drop us a line at: info [at] nakedempirebouffon [dot] org
Nathaniel Justiniano (Founder, Artistic Director) is a professional actor/creator and director. In 2007, under the direction of Master Teacher Giovanni Fusetti, he co-created Pax Americana, a satire of war as seen through the lens of United States history and EUOI!, a bouffon experiment in ecstatic ritual, inspired by the research of anthropologist, Barbara Ehrenreich. He has performed with The Thrillpeddlers in their mega-hit, Pearls Over Shanghai, as well as with WE Players in their epic, 5-hour, island-wide production of The Odyssey on Angel Island. He joined the SF Buffoons in their 2008 productions of The Hasheesh Eater and their premiere of Spunk, a satire of gold rush-era San Francisco. In 2009 he led the creation of Naked Empire’s debut production, Shame! as a DIY Artist-in-Residence at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, formerly one of San Francisco’s most popular centers for queer and activist performance. His one-man show, Cousin Cruelty’s Compulsion, addresses the use of institutional violence in society and was one of the offerings in the 2011 International Home Theatre Festival, as well as the subject of a feature column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Most recently, he co-created and performed in You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting At A Play, a satire about avoiding death which won critical acclaim, the San Francisco Best of the Fringe Award, the Vancouver/Plank Magazine Talk of the Fringe Award, a nomination for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight Critic’s Pick Award, and was an Official Selection of the Toronto Festival of Clowns. He teaches workshops nation-wide in bouffon for which he was honored with the SF Bay Guardian’s BEST OF THE BAY AWARD for BEST ROMP WITH YOUR INNER PSYCHOPATH. He has served as the Director of Physical Comedy for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, and guest teacher of physical theatre at Sacramento City College and Kinetic Arts Center of Oakland. He is currently a senior faculty member of the new Clown Conservatory program at the San Francisco Circus Center where he teaches clown, games, status, mask performance and was the director of this year’s 7-week Bouffon Intensive, the most comprehensive bouffon training ever offered in the United States. He has also been a professional community organizer and educator for LGBT youth empowerment programs for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, as well as a program manager for community-based theatre initiatives out of the National Conference for Community & Justice and Cornerstone Theater Company. He holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Chapman University and an MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.
nathaniel [at] nakedempirebouffon [dot] org
Ross Travis – Artistic Associate (2010 – 2013), Co-Creator of You Killed Hamlet, Performer of Apocalyptika
Nicole Gluckstern – Stage Manager for You Killed Hamlet in Edmonton and Vancouver
Patrick Zuercher – Stage Manager for You Killed Hamlet SF Fringe
Megan Finlay – Outside Eye for Shame!
Alan Kline – Assistant Director and Stage Manager for Shame!
Adriana Chavez – Performer in Shame!
Jorge De Hoyos – Performer in Shame!
Evan Johnson – Performer in Shame!
Faeble Kievman – Performer in Shame!
If you create or teach bouffon we'd love to add you to this page
Click the magnifying glasses to reveal multiple videos within each window.
Recently awarded BEST OF THE BAY, Artistic Director, Nathaniel Justiniano, offers a 20-hour intensive introducing students to bouffon. Topics covered include finding your personal bouffon, creating within a state of ecstatic play, choral and movement-based improvization, mercurial and shape-shifting acting techniques, audacious status play with the audience, parodying social maladies and hypocrisies, and ramshackle techniques for on-the-fly costume creation. If you would like us to bring our intensive to your town, company, or school, contact us.
Not one of you.
Yampa Valley Community Foundation
San Francisco Arts Commission
The Agarwal Family
Center for Cultural Innovation
Steven & Kristine Klein
Lauren & Matt Chavez
Frieda de Lackner
Reuben Alvear II
Kate Braidwood Phoenix