THE BUFFOON
CHOUT

PREMIERE
PARIS, 17 MAY 1921

SCENERY & COSTUMES
MICHEL LARIONOV

MUSIC
SERGE PROKOFIEV

CHOREOGRAPHY
MICHEL LARIONOV AND THADÉE SLAVINSKY

After the spectacular success of The Golden Cockerel in 1914, Serge Diaghilev sought a more permanent working relationship with Natalia Goncharova and her partner Michel Larionov. At his invitation, they left Russia in 1915 never to return. Larionov immediately began to design the costumes and sets for The Buffoon, Diaghilev having already commissioned the music from Serge Prokofiev. However the production did not premiere until 1921.

Larionov used the broken forms of Cubism and Futurism for his designs, which contemporary critic, Cyril Beaumont described as 'the best part of the production'. He found the Russian peasant-inspired set brilliantly conceived but almost too colourful and bright for comfort. Other viewers found that when vividly clad figures moved against the backdrop the effect was irritating and distracting.

The story is about a practical joker in a peasant village and the ridiculous and contradictory events that occur. The discordant and fractured set and costumes support a story line based on trickery and irony.