The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York's premiere French cultural center, is thrilled to welcome back Belgian actor and master of laughter and physical comedy Jos Houben who presents his acclaimed The Art of Laughter, winner of the Total Theatre Award at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival, today, October 27 at FIAF's Florence Gould Hall.
What causes a chuckle? A giggle? A hearty laugh? Following its U.S. Premiere at FIAF's 2011 Crossing the Line festival, Jos Houben, a renowned actor from the Théâtre Complicité and longtime collaborator of Peter Brook's, returns for an encore of this hilarious performance examining the causes and effects of laughter, and the role the body plays in its creation. A graduate of Paris' legendary Jacques Lecoq school of physical theater, Houben dissects the mechanics that trigger laughter, considering facial expressions, the idiosyncrasies of the human body, the act of falling down, and the importance of timing. Enjoyable for adults and children alike, this one-man master class is an amusing and delightful exploration of one of life's greatest pleasures.
The performance is at 7PM today, October 27 at Florence Gould Hall, 55 E 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenue). Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day-of, $10 for kids 12 and under, and $20 for FIAF members. To purchase tickets, visit www.fiaf.org or call 800-982-2787.
Jos Houben studied at Paris' Jacques Lecoq school of physical theater with Philippe Gaulier, Monika Pagneux, and Pierre Byland. An original member of the "Théâtre Complicité," he helped to create and performed in the famous "A Minute Too Late," a 1985 vaudeville production that deeply influenced the theater scene in the United Kingdom. Since then, he has worked on many other projects with the company. He wrote and directed the absurd-slapstick cult comic duo, "The Right Size" (Winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Show in 1999 and Best New Comedy in 2002), which played in the West End in London and on Broadway in New York. Also in the U.K., he co-produced and performed in several slapstick television programs and series that were distributed globally to great success, including "Mr Fixit" for Thames TV and "Brum" for Ragdoll Productions.
In France, as an actor, Jos Houben has collaborated regularly with the contemporary composer George Aperghis on Commentaires (Paris/Avignon, 1996), Zwielicht (Munich, 1999), and Paysage sous Surveillance (Brussels, 2003). In 2008, he performed in Peter Brook's acclaimed staging of Samuel Beckett's Fragments, which was presented at New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2011 under the auspices of Theater for a New Audience. He recently collaborated with La Comédie Française, and is currently working with French theater director Jean-François Peyret. Houben is also preparing a contemporary music-theater production for Paris' Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.
FIAF's mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross-cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. www.fiaf.org
Photo Credit: Annika Johansson