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notAmuse Theater’s mission is to teach classes and create visceral theatrical work that peels back layers of human complexity and social power in order to recognize the true core of one another’s humanity. 


How we work


We work from the core understanding that while theater isn’t always outwardly political, it is always inherently political. As audience members and artists we arrive in a theatrical space as a product of the world around us. We are steeped in its power dynamics, traumas, and resulting fears.  notAmuse’s goal is to create spaces where we can deconstruct and transcend that fear to connect with one another on a deeper level.  


We draw upon ancient mythologies and narratives that have historically been used to control marginalized people. We deconstruct these narratives through extensive research into social history, art history, and sociology. 


Stylistically, we often utilize and blend the contrasting yet complimentary performance forms of Bouffon and Butoh. Popularized in 1950’s France, and derived from ancient Carnival traditions, Bouffon/Grotesque is a form of physical street theater that uses satire to expose the mechanism of power in our society and break taboos. Created at around the same time, Butoh is a Japanese movement form created in dialogue with mime, dada, and surrealism. Butoh shifts the energy of the performance space and moves the body into microscopic concentration, shattering the labels we place upon one another and exposing the underlying essence of our core humanity. 


For more on how we teach - click [here]. 


For examples of our work - click [here]. 


How we began


notAmuse Theater was founded in 2016 after I (founder Sophie Amieva) read my young children the Greek myth of Medusa, a young priestess raped by Poseidon, god of the seas, then punished for it by Athena, goddess of war. I was embarrassed to see the myth propagating patriarchal points of view without reflection.


So, I gathered a group of collaborators to conduct initial research that followed mythological threads back as far as we could find. We found countless goddesses and entities that existed outside binary gender; We observed their closeness with nature that offered a new field of poetic possibility. After conceiving our first project - the Medusa project, which took the form of a performance tryptic exploring the Medusa myth, the company was born. 


Sophie Amieva - notAmuse Theater director

Sophie Amieva

I’m Sophie, a Brooklyn-based French/Spanish theater-maker, teacher, and producing artistic director of notAmuse Theater. I am also a physical actor, clown, and butoh dancer; I blend forms like Bouffon and Butoh in order to challenge the age-old power structures in our societies. 


I am driven by a fascination with how the past informs the present and how patterns of power, violence, indifference, and fear perpetuate across time. I wrestle with how those patterns organize our society and shape our interpretations of our experiences.  I ask (tiny) questions like: What is human nature? Are we destined to perpetual ideologies of human dominance? Of Darwinism? Of patriarchy? How do we disrupt the cycles? I teach and create theater in an effort to help do so. 


As a teacher, and creator, I use a wide array of tools (clowning, Butoh, physical comedy, mask work, movement, etc.) to help students and ensembles confront our fears and uncover new impulses towards greater creativity and liberation. 


My Background: 


I began my career as a performer with what the New York Times has deemed “a fine talent for comedy.” I’ve studied art since the age of 15 at schools such as the International Jacques Lecoq School (clowning), Carlo Boso of the Piccolo Theater of Milan (Commedia Dell'arte) and La Sorbonne (Art History). I have been training for 10 years in Butoh with Vangeline and the New York Butoh Institute as well as with Mari Osanai, Yumiko Yoshioka, Tetsuro Fukuhara and Atsushi Takenouchi.


I’ve performed with renowned companies like Philippe Genty Company, National Theater of the United State of America (N.T.U.S.A), Josh Fox’s International Wow, Bindlestiff Family Circus and 600 Highwaymen, as well as toured with the French grotesque and masque street theater collective “La Grappe de Bouffons.” You may have seen my work in France at the National Stage des Louvrais, Espace Rive Gauche, le Théâtre de l'Aventure, le Théâtre 95, le Samovar, la grande Galerie de L'évolution, le Théâtre d'Edgar, le Théâtre du bout, les Douches or in New York at HERE Arts Center, La Mama Annex, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Palace of Variety of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, the Ontological Hysteric Theater, Happy Lucky no1, Chashama, and Galapagos Art Space, Theater for a New City, MAAS ( Philadelphia), the Brick.


I’ve taught Bouffon clowning internationally, including at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, for over 20 years. Previously, I co-founded and directed Brooklyn Beanstalk, a French and Spanish immersion program for children that used clowning and theater as a tool for language acquisition. 

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