Sofia Ruis and Vitor Roriz are Antony and Cleopatra for Tiago Rodrigues

Antony and Cleopatra: a lesson of creativity by Tiago Rodrigues

« Antony looks at Cleopatra.
Cleopatra looks at Antony.
Cleopatra inhales.
Antony inhales.
Cleopatra exhales.
Antony exhales. »

Portuguese dancers and choreographers Sofia Dias and Vitor Roriz are Antony and Cleopatra. They tell a well-known tale of love, betrayal and death. Entirely in French to add spice to the task.

Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare, or how to pay a tribute to giants with a minimum of artifice and a great deal of talent (and humour!): this is creativity defined by Tiago Rodrigues.

The duo is dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Their set is minimalistic: a multi-purpose mobile gives a body to missing characters such as Cesar and Pompey while mimicking precious net curtains and thick palace walls. The accessories: a record player, two glasses and a carafe.

With just a few handpicked words, unmistakable looks and carefully-weighted gestures, the pair brings a myth back to life. For a moment out there one can actually see Antony and Cleopatra with their dignified and despicable entourage.

To those out there looking for the true «power of imagination»: this is it.

Sofia Dias and Vitor Ruis are Antony and Cleopatra for Tiago Rodrigues
Sofia Dias and Vitor Ruis are Antony and Cleopatra for Tiago Rodrigues

Illustration © Araso

Antoine et Cléopâtre at the Bastille Theater in Paris until October 8th 2016
With the Autumn Festival in Paris
A 2015 creation by Tiago Rodrigues, with excerpts from Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

Time's Journey Through a Room

The power of the infinitely small

In Time’s Journey Through a Room, Toshiki Okada favors the five senses over words.

The act is minimalistic, the set is stern, the actors barely move an eyelid.

The sound frames an intangible yet boiling interior -they literally put a glass fizzing with bubbles on stage.

The dead spouse comes back home. She recalls life before and after Fukushima, as she speaks to her husband. The new girlfriend is about to join the scene.

A china doll, death is the perfect figure of the icy powerful mistress. Only the dance of her phalanxes betrays the calm of her voice and body.

A table, two chairs, a glass of water and two carnations seemingly attempting to escape are a cry out loud in this stuffy atmosphere.

The curtain marks out the space where everything and nothing happens, like a window on a hypothetical life outdoor.

The infinitely subtle wakes up the sleepiest sense. The infinitely small is infinitely powerful when it’s well orchestrated. It tells tales forever remembered.

Illustrations © Araso

Izumi Aoyagi and Mari Ando are life and death in Okada's play Time's Journey Through a Room
Izumi Aoyagi and Mari Ando are life and death in Okada’s play Time’s Journey Through a Room

Time’s Journey Through a Room at T2G Théâtre de Gennevilliers with the Festival d’Automne à Paris
From Septembre 24th to 27th 2016.

Mame Yamada in Avidya – The Dark Inn, Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris, Festival d'Automne September 2016, Illustration by Araso

Avidya - the Dark Inn, japanese theater hung between laughter and nostalgia

Avidya, in Buddhism, is misconception, one of the links in the chain that captures humans in the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth.

It is also the name of the Dark Inn staged by Kurô Tanino, which is like a world fading away, a gateway between two realities. One is that of modern life, symbolized by the Shinkansen, which is programmed to tear this piece of Japanese countryside in two ; the other is that of traditional Japan, to which the inhabitants of the secluded inn belong, who come there to enjoy the hot springs.

The arrival of a strange couple, the father, a dwarfish puppeteer, and the son, almost mute, sets in motion a series of scenes which unfold in the four rooms of the inn, presented on a rotating stage.

A disturbing, farcical, cruel play, that has the public hanging between laughter and nostalgia. One is sometimes confused by the narrative, grapples for the codes, admires the seemingly endless series of moving tableaux, and takes home a fleeting, disturbing feeling. It is a wonderful play, both subtle and generous.

Illustration © Araso

Avidya – Ignorance Inn

From 14th to 17th of September, at the Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris for the Paris Autumn Festival

Written and directed by Kurô Tanino
Niwa Gekidan Penino Company

Noémie Gantier is Liz Norton in 2666, by Julien Gosselin at Odeon in Paris

Our take from 2666, the 12-hour play by Julien Gosselin

An obscure writer disappears somewhere in Mexico where women are savagely assassinated: this is 2666, a novel by Bolaño that Julien Gosselin (Les Particules Elémentaires, 2013) has turned into a 12h-long theatre play.

It is true that M. Gosselin isn’t the only one to have a penchant for interminable plays (Lidell, Jolly, Fabre, Warlikowski, Lupa). But why make us go through 5 hours of excruciating boredom for 3 hours’ worth watching and a few sparks of genius?

At just 29 years old, Mr Gosselin is a master of the art of story-telling. The kind that makes you cling to your seat and forget about everything else. The scene with the critics and the Pakistani taxi driver as narrated by Liz is unforgettable.

Video, one of the hottest trends on stage for years (van Hove, Castorf, re-Warlikowski, Cassiers) benefits from unprecedented grace, is used cinematographically with a high contrast and sublime granularity. It embodies madness and makes mutilated bodies emerged from a set when they were already there -genius work by Nicolas Joubert.

The tailor-made sound creation by Rémi Alexandre and Guillaume Bachelé is staggering.

The scenography by Hubert Colas re-uses the concept of moving boxes in a way which isn’t new, yet totally unique.

Illustration © Araso

Until Octobre 16th at the Berthier Ateliers, Odéon Theatre, Paris 17th
Text by Roberto Bolaño adaptation and stage direction by Julien Gosselin / Company Si vous pouviez lécher mon cœur
with Rémi Alexandre, Guillaume Bachelé, Adama Diop, Joseph Drouet, Denis Eyriey, Antoine Ferron, Noémie Gantier, Carine Goron, Alexandre Lecroc-Lecerf, Frédéric Leidgens, Caroline Mounier, Victoria Quesnel, Tiphaine Raffier

Book your tickets here.

Pina Bausch, Viktor, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, Septembre 2016

Viktor at the Châtelet Theater in Paris: Why Pina Bausch is eternal

Wupperthal has worshipped Pina Bausch for the past ten years. The original dancers pass on a legacy to the newcomers without the company creating any single piece. And yet season after season crowds continue to flock.

And here comes Viktor. A vault-set to slowly bury the performers alive. This ground so dear to Pina, a perpetual building site. Julie Shanahan always sublime hypnotises as a woman with no arms and a hysterical Cristiana Morganti offers a surprisingly dark exit. Dominique Mercy takes up the part of Viktor again and the new generation is sparklingly led by Breanna O’Mara, unsettling as a widow screaming under the ruins, so bewitching in her crawling dance she eclipses the rest of the cast.

At Viktor’s, weddings are funerals, women are fountains, couples and beggars form a ballet in a happy Roman Bohemia, swirling to unlikely music.

Maybe this is the recipe for success: this sum of strong interpretations, of exaggerated details compiled in living pictures. One goes to a show by Pina Bausch like one goes to an exhibition where anything can happen anytime. No wonder some just don’t get tired of it.

Illustration © Araso

Viktor, 1986, a piece by Pina Bausch

Théâtre de la Ville, location at Théâtre du Châtelet, from September 3rd to 12th 2016


Marie Chouinard in Avignon: beauty at war

On the ruins of a world at war, Marie Chouinard reinvents the codes of beauty.

Canadian choreographer who’s just been appointed director of the Dance section at the Biennale in Venice, is in Avignon for the first time with Soft Virtuosity, Still Humid, On the Edge.

She is thus pursuing her work on the dameged body and its singularities, where one often finds crutches and splints. This time, she turns it into a war painting.

In an atmosphere of terror, lumping angular bodies run in parallel lines. They dance to the music of rifles and explosions. The wistling of a bomb is terrifying, calls for adrenalin and blood pulses harder through the veins.

Seated cross-legged and face-to-face on a spinning disc, two girls hug whilst pulling monster faces. A brilliant use of video emphasizes the march of an army of zombies and dresses the walls in surreal perspectives.

Amongst the hallucinating images are a Raft of the Medusa and those bodies in mouvement mimicking a crackling fire.

Illustration © Araso