From one creation to the next, the company pursues its approach of exploring a visual language.
A language where the "stage" is a platform for the subconscious.
A language that is testimony to the human being's internal conflict.
In all of our creations, the free association of scenes does not follow a linear narrative style, the usual psychology of characters, or the causal principle; it seeks to find echo with our inner landscapes; to allow fears, wild hopes, and repressed shame and desire to emerge from the depths of those infinite spaces; by confronting the impossible, thereby producing a visual shock.
Like in a dream, these images serve to simultaneously condense several senses. Dance, the human body, and the relationship with objects work towards this indescribable place. This approach also requires the spectator to no longer be confined to a passive role as witness to a drama or a comedy. He is swept along in a journey through successive enigmas that provoke different emotions in different people; echoing their own questions in some, or on the contrary, plunging others into disturbing confusion.
But while the company's popularity continued to grow in France and abroad, journalists still had the same difficulty describing our work. It cannot be pigeonholed into any of the usual categories: dance, theatre, puppetry, or circus. Moreover, it is practically impossible to describe its theme. A handicap that we are more than happy to assume.
Each creation requires six months of rehearsals, compensated by three years of performances, of which one year is generally in France and the rest abroad, for a total of around 300 performances – sometimes more. Dérives or Désirs Parade and their reprises have been performed 1,100 and 900 times respectively.
The creative process
Everything starts with writing and sketches. Very soon, I need to define the decor, which will immerse me in an environment, giving me possibilities and limitations. The decor is never realistic, it must be constantly evolving, thereby giving free reign to the spectator's imagination.
I've always had a strong aversion for side entrances. Characters suddenly appear on the stage, "from the subconscious", they evolve, they transform, and then they disappear. For a long time I wondered where this quasi-visceral refusal of off-stage entrances could come from. Maybe it's because in my dreams the characters never appear from the sides!
Several possible versions of the scenes are described.
Rehearsals by scenes follow this method: Dispersion – Cross-over – Re-writing– Evaluation
- Dispersion: During this stage, judgment and self-censorship is forbidden. Starting with a theme, and sometimes objects, materials, or puppets, the actors have total freedom to improvise. During this stage, it is fundamental to be attentive to the actors and the materials - which have their own dynamics - and resist the limitations of the script and the restrictions of the decor.
- Cross-over: Confrontation of the propositions with the script. Some are retained, others can be adapted. And finally, some are abandoned or can sometimes lead us to the following stage.
- Re-writing: The improvisations can be enriched with counterpoints provoked by this meeting of the impossible. Moreover, the actors and the materials will provide resources that were unsuspected when the scenes were first written and which will considerably improve the overall play. This re-writing stage must extend them and often allows them to come back with further suggestions.
- Evaluation: In a place that is not founded on rationality, realism, or fable, it is vital to perform in front of an audience throughout the rehearsals, not to try and please them, but to find out if we are communicating.
In a spirit of constant experimentation, out of our comfort zone, this modus operandi leads us to reject around half of our work and sometimes even nearly finalised work. I suppose that the same is true of any kind of research, whether it be scientific, industrial, or artistic.