Buffo the Clown by Angela Carter

Angela Carter is incredible and the only reason you’ve never heard if her is cuz I hadn’t introduced Rydra to her yet. YOU’RE WELCOME. She’ll be back.

Carter was a prolific writer up until hear death in the 90s from smoking too many cigarettes. She left behind radio dramas, plays, short stories, non-fiction (if anyone has a copy of The Saedian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography, get at me) and some profound novels, tackling themes of civilization, truth/morality, and reality itself.

This reading pulls from Nights at the Circus, which tackles themes of identity. Identity, not as in “our inner self” or “who we REALLY are” but as a malleable creation that is ours to design (though we are not free of the consequences), with nothing underneath. A traveling circus is the perfect place to create a spectacular expression of performative self. A feat that is not easy – after all, it’s “given to few to shape ourselves”. What happens when one’s identity/self-hood begins to crack – to flake away, like white paint off of a clown’s mask – and one is confronted with the void?

Timestamps

0:28 Walser puts on freedom in the form of a mask. Welcome to Clown Alley. Who is Buffo the Great?

7:43 A speech on the despair, humiliation, and history of clowning.

14:23 On the creation of selves and terrible dancing.

22:44 A band of irregulars practices and parties.

31:15 The clowns present an illusion of intentional bedlam. Buffo snaps.

Voiced by Snail

Editing and Production by September

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