To fart on apathy.
© Copyright 2013 Naked Empire Bouffon Company
or Guilty Creatures Sitting At A Play
PERFORMANCES – NOVEMBER 14 – 17
WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 16 & 17
TWO PROPHETIC PRANKSTERS play some disturbing games inspired by Hamlet’s central theme: Coping with death. Shreds, a grotesquely emaciated freak, and Patches, a 350-pound jiggling juggernaut are linked by a state of infinite jest and interweave ecstatic ritual, parody, poetry, song, and extreme physical comedy into a fun-house mirror of the audience. Guerrilla/gorilla warfare, convalescent homes, school shootings, crying mothers, theatre audiences, religion, anti-depressants, avant-garde performance, medical research, and yes, Shakespeare’s Hamlet all get a proper skewering in this evening of high-impact satirical sport. Scroll down to find reviews, a press page with downloadable images and press releases, and more.
Check out what folks are saying about the show.Go Now!
Get our press release, high-res pictures and more!Go Now!
This famous TED Talk inspired content in our show.Go Now!
Another TED Talk. The importance of talking about your favorite topic.Go Now!
NAKED EMPIRE BOUFFON COMPANY is dedicated to researching, expanding, and popularizing bouffon through training and performance both locally and internationally.
OUR GOAL is to create events that get people talking about things that matter, with an emphasis on the stuff we’re all avoiding.
WE HATE didacticism, judgment, and seriousness.
Instead, WE CELEBRATE shame and play irreverently with difficult truths.
WE DISTILL human nastiness into moments of grotesque and prophetic physical poetry designed to be both painful and hilarious.
WE INVITE spectators to join us in cutting through all of our collective bullshit and having a blast at the same time.
Few people in the mainstream public have heard the term “bouffon”, but you know it when you see it. Based in satire and physical comedy you can see it in the work of Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat and Bruno fame. You see it in the Tony Award winning work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone via South Park, Team America, or Book of Mormon. You see it in the artistry of Maurizio Cattelan or in the headlines of The Onion.
Beyond the research Naked Empire has done since 2009, this 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
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.
Your reward: Our undying gratitude and recognition on our website…for as long as the website exists.I WANT YOU TO LOVE ME
Your reward: A hand written photo postcard sent from the road complete with a message of thanks and a picture of us having a private moment somewhere in Canada.I WANNA STARE AT YOUR PICTURE
Your reward: We’ll send you an audio recording of us thanking you from the acoustically perfect confines of a bathroom. The message will be the length of an authentic Canadian toilet flush…a sound we would never have heard without you.I WANNA HEAR YOU FLUSH
Your reward: You’ll be in our Canadian show as we use YOUR NAME for one of the many characters that appear. Who knows, you may be the soccer mom slapping her kids while driving, the american soldier who gets shot in a movie theater his first night back from Afghanistan, or perhaps the director of a snuff porn. You’ll be a star!I’M READY TO BE A STAR
Your reward: We’ll send you a one minute video from one of the Canadian Fringe Festivals that you helped us get to featuring us showering you with as much gratitude as 60 seconds can hold.I’M READY FOR YOUR NOSE
Your reward: We’ll create and send you an original three minute short film featuring YOUR NAME as EXECUTIVE PRODUCER satirizing the social malady of your choice.I’M A MEGALOMANIAC
Your reward: We’ll create and send you an original five minute short film mocking someone you know as a Birthday Gift to that person sometime in 2013. A grotesquely hilarious personalized birthday roast. Now that’s love.I’M A PARTY POOPER
“Did you say I get to slap a Canadian? Let me donate this second!” DONATE!
You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting At A Play, our Best of the SF Fringe-winning production, has been accepted to two of the biggest theatre festivals in Canada: Edmonton Fringe and Vancouver Fringe.
“Wow. Congratulations! Here’s some cash to make sure you have enough gas to get there.” DONATE!
If you saw us in September, then you know that thousands of polite, warmhearted Canadians will finally feel the cold, hard sting of reality as our show celebrates everyone’s favorite topic: avoiding death.
“Holy crap, I’ve never seen a Canadian cry. Here, take this donation now!” DONATE!
If you didn’t catch our show, we invite you to join us this summer in Edmonton (Aug 15 – 25) and Vancouver (Sep 5 – 15).
“Are you kidding me? I ain’t going up to Canada to see theatre! You crazy? But here’s a chunk of change. Tell em I sent ya.” DONATE!
Look, we know you receive a lot of end-of-year requests from worthy causes competing for your donation. But this isn’t a competition. It’s the holidays. A time of celebrating the age old traditions of dysfunction, passive aggression, consumerism, and gluttony. And research shows that Naked Empire Bouffon Company is the nation’s (and soon to be the world’s) leading pioneer of celebrating our shared traditions and values.
“My god. I almost clicked ‘submit’ on this Newtown Memorial Fund website. What was I thinking? I’d get so much more bang for my buck by funding Naked Empire’s tour right now.” DONATE!
Gratefully and humbly yours,
Naked Empire Bouffon Company
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