Buddhism: is it just for losers?

Matt Rudkin

Research output: Non-textual outputPerformance


This is a 50 minute live performance purporting to be the first instance of a new genre, the 'post structuralist zen clown show'. Inspired by the words of its founder, Werner Erhard, the piece explores the ways in which the language we use constructs the world as we know it. It is fictionally framed as a support group meeting for those who 'think too much', and is a semi-autobiographical dramatization of a train of thought concerning notions of determinism found in both evolutionary psychology and social constructivism. The 'show/work/piece' employs the popular forms of clowning, puppetry and narrative to illustrate these ideas, and uses humour as a deconstructive tool to tease the mind free from reified conceptual schemes, such as the 'art/entertainment' divide. Through its styling and promotion it resists being consumed as cultural capital within the 'fine/high art' tradition, instead being framed as a theatre / comedy event and hoping to attract culturally diverse audiences. The title refers to the idea that the concept 'loser' is bound up in ego concerns that the Buddhist is seeking to overcome. Similarly, the clown performer must learn to 'flop' with acceptance, and share with authenticity their failures. In the practice of zen, humour is said to be both the means and the end of the process, hence the expression, a 'post structuralist zen clown show'.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2014
Eventother - The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton, May 27th - 29th, Oct 3rd & 4th 2014; Camden People's Theatre November 7th & 8th
Duration: 27 May 2014 → …


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