Already closed | 2h 15m | Brooklyn

Marcel and The Art of Laughter

From 57 member  reviews
Members say: Delightful, Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Masterful

About the show

Theatre for a New Audience presents this double bill of comic one acts. 'Marcel': a poignant two-hander about the collision of clowning and mortality, and 'The Art of Laughter': a comedy about comedy. More…

'Marcel': From Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the Parisian home of Peter Brook, comes this story of an aging physical comedian and an inscrutable, clipboard-wielding nemesis mysteriously enjoined to test him with a battery of absurd tasks. In 'Marcel' slapstick meets the limits of age.

'The Art of Laughter': Jos Houben dissects everyday life – a baby’s first steps, a man falling in a restaurant, the essence of various cheeses – revealing why laughter is at the core of our humanity. Part performance and part masterclass, 'The Art of Laughter' is about comedy at its most fundamental--what makes audiences laugh.

Member Reviews (57)


Delightful, Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Masterful
Avg Score

Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent, Profound, Funny

See it if You want to see a masterclass in physical comedy then get a very funny lesson about how it’s done. Delightful and clever. Talented players.

Don't see it if You don’t like slapstick or physical comedy or would prefer to see a play or musical. This is neither.

Delightful, Funny, Thought-provoking, Enchanting, Heartwarming

See it if Marcel: aging performer tries to pass an existential test about nothing. Art of L: how loss of dignity underlies humor. Wonderful stuff.

Don't see it if You are not interested in physical humor plus some underlying pathos and meaning.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Edgy, Great staging

See it if you enjoy a show of comedy that is intelligent as well. The second act very different from first, a master class about the art of comedy

Don't see it if you don't enjoy comedy of any kind.

Also This is a state of the art theater and very accessible from all parts ... Read more Read less

Clever, Enchanting, Hilarious, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You like to laugh and want to see two Master craftsmen show you how it is done. One is an amazing clown act, the other is a master class.

Don't see it if You don't like to laugh, don't like shows that don't necessarily have an understandable ending, or don't enjoy the breaking of the 4th wall

Classic clowning, Master class in laughter, Delightful, Masterful

See it if mastery of the audience laugh mechanism, gentle human comedy, classic mime & clowning can hold your interest for 2 hours

Don't see it if physical comedy. non-verbal storytelling, European clowns, class on why we laugh, are not appealing to you

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Funny, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy physical comedy by two experts and a second half master class that is great fun.

Don't see it if Physical comedy is a turnoff

Also The two performers channel Chaplin, Keaton, Stooges, and contemporary ... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Overrated, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if you like slapstick comedy.

Don't see it if You prefer comedy with a story line.

Absorbing, Hilarious, Masterful, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You like physical comedy and clowning as a theatrical art by Two wonderful performers.

Don't see it if You want a regular stage play. This is totally different. But if you wanna laugh hard and loud give it a chance.

Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Clever, Sweet

See it if You're up for two short comic pieces:a short silent physical comedy, and a lecture/demo of how & why human beings are hard-wired to laugh.

Don't see it if You're expecting plot or dialogue; both are minimal.

Also It's a good bet our cave-dwelling ancestors loved pratfalls and had th... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if 2 masters at point of perfection in comedy with ingenuity and timing that has the audience roaring with laughter

Don't see it if Slapstick is not your thing

Charming, Slow, Entertaining, Quirky, Masterful

See it if masterly comedic performances of mime, sight gags and the like appeal. Tip: come in a good, generous mood! 2d act best at drawing you in.

Don't see it if you're expecting plot or dialogue of any kind; need trappings of set design & costumes to gaze at; physical comedy & ensuing laughs vex you.

Also Both actors utterly charming & quietly wow you with talent, individual... Read more Read less

Sweet, Charming, Benign

See it if you like agile physical comedy (i.e.Bill Irwin, David Shiner); sweet & poignant performance pieces on the theme of aging

Don't see it if you want an actual play (this is a performance) & have no interest in the 'Ted-talk"-like 2nd act that explains the discipline of this show

Also My first visit to this wonderful, modern theater with great sight line... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Banal

See it if You like mime and slapstick comedy it is literally a masterclass

Don't see it if You crave intellectual depth and thought provoking drama. This is a “how to“performance on stagecraft

Entertaining, Quirky, Intelligent, Funny, Original

See it if you would like to stretch your appreciation for physical comedy, learn a little about how it works technically, and laugh a lot as well!

Don't see it if you dislike physical comedy and have no desire to change.

Delightful, Entertaining, Master class in physical comedy

See it if you'd like an imaginative twist on classic European clowning, in a duet and a somewhat related lecture-demo style solo

Don't see it if physical comedy or silent clowning is not your thing; the masterful technique is the attraction here, not novel humor

An artful laugher, Marcelously agile, Delightful, Sweet, Master class

See it if you enjoy warm exhibitions of exquisite clowning skills from a pair of middle-aged male experts, seen mostly in solo turns.

Don't see it if you hate mime, want to be dazzled by production elements, a story, or skills you haven’t seen before.

Charming, Unique, Intelligent, Refreshing, Funny

See it if the first act is near perfect

Don't see it if the second act--although enjoyable--felt like a class that i didn't sign up for

Delightful, Entertaining, Hilarious, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you delight in truly splendid physical comedy and want to experience a true masterclass in the art of humor

Don't see it if you're already tired of the usual gags & don't want to watch a man impersonate cheese for the purpose of expounding on an intellectual point

Delightful, Clever, Absorbing, Funny, Enchanting

See it if You are a fan of Clowning. You want to Laugh like crazy while also getting a little existential.

Don't see it if You do not like comedies. You need strong plots to interest you.

Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Fun

See it if you enjoy really well-done pantomime. Marcel, the first one-act is clever and delightful.

Don't see it if Second one-act, The Art of Laughter, is a primer on how to laugh and how to get audiences to laugh. It's engaging and enjoyable.

Act 1: physical comedy & buffoonery, Act 2: "what makes people laugh" master class

See it if you like physical comedy/clowning or buffoonery (Act 1). You like master classes, specifically on what makes people laugh (Act 2).

Don't see it if you don't like the things mentioned above. Very possible you will love one act & dislike the other, they are so different.

Also It's two completely different shows in one, each 1-hour long. I'm not ... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Absorbing, Hilarious, Original

See it if You love physical comedy elevated above slapstick and done with intelligence

Don't see it if You only like theater with a linear plot line or really dislike physical comedy

Delightful, Funny (not hilarious), Intelligent

See it if Enjoy seeing (Act 1) and learning about (Act 2) clowning/physical humor.

Don't see it if You're expecting hilarity -- it's funny but not more. Both acts, esp 2nd, could use some editing.

Poetic, Smart, Excellent acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you appreciate effortless physical acting and flawless professionalism. Houben and Magni are magnificent.

Don't see it if you have no interest in acting techniques, movement, commedia dell'arte, the relationship of bodies in space.

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Slow, Great acting

See it if Love physical comedy and slapstick

Don't see it if Prefer your comedy to be verbal and witty

Also The two actors were very skilled, but each segment could have been cut... Read more Read less

November 1st, 2017
"’Marcel’ and ‘The Art of Laughter’ are more amusing and instructive than hilarious. Your gut will remain unbusted...'Marcel': Though many bits are delightfully imaginative, others cross the whimsy line and become cloying...'Art': In the manner of a professor studding a seminar with demonstration...
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November 1st, 2017
“In ‘Marcel’, Magni strives to surmount inane barriers to success, his taskmaster seems determined to keep raising the bar. While this business is not always funny, Magni’s charm keeps it from being tiresome...The show perks up when Houben takes the stage in his ‘The Art of Laughter’...He embarks...
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November 2nd, 2017
"The performances are elegantly minimal; there isn't a single excess gesture. Even when the action turns relatively frantic, you feel that both are totally in control -- almost relaxed -- as they practice their own personal brand of mayhem. 'Marcel' and 'The Art of Laughter' offer something very ...
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November 2nd, 2017
"'Marcel' is an hour-long mediation on time and aging...Whether it’s all actually funny and profound is dependent on one’s taste. It’s possible to be in hysterics or bored due to the length...'The Art of Laughter' is a droll lecture superbly delivered by Houben...For an hour, he commandingly exhi...
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