SHAME! Grotesque. Prophetic. Charmingly Offensive.
Did you see SHAME!? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below, visit us on facebook, or contact Artistic Director, Nathaniel Justiniano directly and tell us about your experience. Send emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAST, CREW, CO-CREATORS:
Director – Nathaniel Justiniano
Assistant Director & Stage Manager – Alan Kline
Outside Eye – Megan Finlay
Performers – Adriana Chavez, Jorge De Hoyos Jr., Evan Johnson, Faeble Kievman
SHAME! Naked Empire Bouffon Company’s original Queer performance sucking the piss out of San Francisco’s pride. Grotesque, prophetic and charmingly offensive, this band of bouffons lambastes the hypocrisies, hierarchies and happiness of our Queer community.
When: August 20-22 & 27-29, 2009, 8pm
Where: Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory – 1519 Mission St (11th), San Francisco 94103
Naked Empire Bouffon Company is proud to present the world premiere of SHAME! at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, August 20-29th, 2009. Featuring four Queer performance artists who deform their bodies into grotesque anti-clowns, this original production lambastes the hypocrisies, hierarchies and happiness of Queer San Francisco. NEBC invites you to an unflattering celebration of pride that asks: Does a mecca of Queer support and safety also create a culture of complacency? How might a liberation-seeking community contribute to their own oppression? Does pride eliminate shame? Charmingly obscene and dangerously perceptive, the cast of SHAME! sniffs out the possible answers to these questions through cutting satire, virtuosic physicality and a no-holds-barred relationship with the audience.
“They’re not out to pass judgment,” explains Artistic Director Nathaniel Justiniano, “but they’re bursting to play with repression, shame, and all things taboo.” Based in the European physical theatre tradition of bouffon, this fearless ensemble creates an evening of vulgar vaudeville with piercing honesty. SHAME! interweaves ecstatic rituals, parody, direct audience interaction, song, and extreme physical comedy. From Castro queens to kinky fems, from the apathetic to the ultra-empowered, the bouffons make fun of the audience and their values by holding a magnifying glass up to stereotypes and social norms. “If we don’t offend you, then we haven’t done our job,” insists Justiniano.
A new voice in the San Francisco theatre world, Naked Empire Bouffon Company combines social activism with grotesque satire in original, actor-created bouffon performances for the stage and street. For this inaugural performance a Queer-identified ensemble was gathered to explore shame as the root of the Queer subconscious. Through community story circles, personal analysis, interviews and field research, the cast mined the tumultuous experience of shame in their daily lives both as participants and observers. Content for the show was then developed through extensive improvisations where the bouffons were given free reign to exploit and make games of the darkest and most embarrassing aspects of everyday Queer happenings.
They also took to the streets almost getting arrested at Pride for harassment and misconduct in the port-o-potties, thrown out of a Queer fundraiser at El Rio, and attacked by angry parents at the SF Free Theater Festival. Deliberate social transgression has already earned them some impassioned crowds, so how far will these bouffons take it when they let loose on the stage at Mama Calizo’s?
We just completed our first two weeks of rehearsals which were focused on ensemble-building, and the playful nature of the bouffon.
Over the last couple of weeks we moved into the creation of each performer’s unique bouffon through a series of improvizations, collective imagining, and by creating deformations of the body which seem to give the performers permission to begin playing in the grotesque.
In early July we made our first public performance at a fundraiser for Heidi Landgraff DanceAct. Here’s some rehearsal and performance footage along with some personal revelations about our work and our audience.
“By far the most socially responsible piece of work I have seen in ages….i am speechless at the truth and honesty and absurdity of this work…if you are anywhere within a 500 mile radius of the bay area (and especially if you are any variety of queer) it would be irresponsible to not go see this show… seriously.” -Cohdi Harrell, queer performance artist/artistic director of Ricochet
“The Naked Empire Bouffons, a foursome of prancing grotesques sport their deformities and filth like badges of (dare I say it?) pride. In Shame! the question of Pride with a capital P is examined, worried, fondled indecently, punched in the head, and left limping down a dark alley… cast members spend some contrarian quality time with each member of the captive audience before turning on each other with equal parts lust and loathing….the Naked Empire ensemble makes sure to hold everyone complicit in the ultimate humiliation of sitting idly by in the face of suffering.” -Nicole Gluckstern, SF BAY GUARDIAN
“The interactive, community efforts of these actors and their creators deliver a fast-paced, clever show. Many good lines, often accompanied by appropriate comic lazzi… This show could stand more than one viewing.” -Albert Goodwyn, SF BAY TIMES«