13, 15, 16, 17, 19 Mei/Mai/May 20:00
14 Mei/Mai/May 15:00
Duur/Durée/Duration: 1:50
Belgische première/Première belge/Belgian première
Taal/Langue/Language: Frans/français/French

Nature has at her disposal just one hundred simple bodies. Her creation stops at a number of original combinations that suffice for reproduction purposes but are finite. All she is left with is the power to make them be born again, ad infinitum. It is the same with stars, the earth and human beings. François Tanguy (Théâtre du Radeau) extends this principal to theatre. In the steady light of one day, his Orphéon exhibits the mysterious alchemy of recurrence at night. In a tent, in an enormous scenery workshop, the figures of Ophelia, Macbeth and Pentheselia appear in the distance with their remains of great works. They float, metamorphosed. Their bodies have our flesh, their torments our thinking. "Not phantoms, not ghosts, but immortalised actuality."

Regie en scenografie/Mise en scène et scénographie/Direction and scenography: François Tanguy
Acteurs/Actors: Frode Bjørnstad, Laurence Chable, Jean-Louis Coulloc'h, Katja Fleig, Erik Gerken, Muriel Hélary, Pierre Martin, Karine Pierre
Inspiciënt/Régisseur général/Stage manager: Hervé Vincent
Klank/Son/Sound: Alain Mahé
Decorconstructie/Construction décor/Setbuilding: Hervé Vincent, Marion Dussaussois, Jean Cruchet & de acteurs/les acteurs/the actors
Administratie/Administration: Françoise Furcy, Franck Lejuste
Tournee/Tournée/Touring: Laurence Chable, Françoise Furcy
Coproductie/Coproduction: Théâtre du Radeau (Le Mans), Théâtre National de Bretagne (Rennes)
Met de steun van/Avec le soutien de/Supported by: L'Ambassade de France en Belgique et l'Association Française d'Action Artistique - AFAA (Paris)
Presentatie/Présentation/Presentation: KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

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To call oneself the Théâtre du Radeau (raft theatre) is to claim fragility as an identity, or at least to want to shun both mental comfort and the stability you get from having powerful engines. François Tanguy goes even further. He prefers a fairground construction to big theatres. His tent moves to where the public is, returning to the place where fairgrounds are found - the big outdoors. The Radeau (raft) is just a small craft on the immensity of the ocean. For Tanguy, "the man of theatre invents nothing" - at the very most he re-deploys the spectacle of human nature in another space at another time, expressed over and over again by acting geniuses, watched over and over again, sometimes until it wears out.

This deployment, this other space, this other time are all the subject of Tanguy's quest. It is a ritual of beginning again, or rather regeneration. He places the public in an open raft on an immense stage. The words reach the spectators in waves, the actors are inhabited by fragments. You have to love the poetry of a chrysalis and have the patience to see the crumpled wings, slowly unfolding, in order to enter L'Orphéon and then emerge full of wonder and delight. "Perception is a zone of exchange", says Tanguy. "The stage is a sort of inverted pupil, exposing itself to the gaze of the audience as the dimension of its own space. This pupil allows the audience to see through seeing it, to listen through listening to it." Sliding.

Set up in the Thurn and Taxis customs area, on the edge of the industrial canal that runs through Brussels, the Radeau tent awaits 170 spectators in an area of 950m2. For the public, rendered tiny before this immensity, panoramic vision is impossible - it would be a case of just trusting the eye and not ‘the pupil'. In addition the environment comprises music that is transmitted, movements that become loosened and words murmured. The lighting creates the light of day, a day that spreads, is suspended, stretched out. No torment darkens the day; it offers nowhere to hide. The hiding place is the giant space that liberates it: a shed, a studio for painting perhaps or for building stage sets, with its frames of blank canvas. Everything slides and drifts - actors, with their words, their movements, make a hole in the canvas like being born in a puppet theatre, at the heart of this silence filled with sounds, murmurings and heartbeats. The space breathes, in constant transformation, fragmented. The actors haunt it with white masks, bodies waiting to stand upright, still disjointed. They animate the objects surreptitiously. They are bearers of texts that come back to them in bits and pieces.

"Truth requires too much effort of you indeed, sir. When you walk, a rustling of paper can be heard (...), you are still floating wherever the current of air blowing in the room takes you": fragrances of Kafka. "I see that 20,000 men are going to die, for a fantasy, a day of glory, that they go to their graves as if to bed": reminiscences of Hamlet. There are fleeting glimpses of Ophelia, Pentheselia and Macbeth. Nietzsche concludes, "I am looking for a vase of wisdom, a saint of knowledge. Up there is the path leading to the cave... but my cave is large." Meanwhile, Tanguy will have quoted Blanqui and his essay on The Eternity of Stars. In it, the astrophysicist-philosopher expounds his theory that nature has at her disposal just one hundred basic elements that she combines until the number of original combinations is exhausted. Once these combinations are used up, all that remains is to duplicate the originals ad infinitum. So it is in the birth and rebirth of stellar systems and of the earth, but also of men whose doubles regularly emerge from nothingness, in another time, in another space. So it is in the theatre of François Tanguy, who unearths the original combinations of Kleist, of Greek sages, of Shakespeare or Kafka to return them to the nocturnal day of a stage set up in a street - this street whose sounds come through the tent, this tent that inverses the perceptions and modulates new densities.

Based in Le Mans, François Tanguy has invested in an old foundry "to get out of the bunkers", he says. It is a neglected place where his path of theatre experiments with itself, where the building sites of other artists come to dig in. The coming and going of searches and knowledge feed the route that each will take. It is this base from which the nomadic tent transporting L'Orphéon departs for other lands - an Orphic journey to the kingdom of wandering souls.

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