Hurler sous la lune

    22/05  | 20:30
    23/05  | 20:30
    24/05  | 19:00
    28/05  | 20:30
    29/05  | 22:00

€ 16 / € 13

A story is told. First we witness its construction and then its transformation, as if we are looking through a hallucinating prism that distorts the words and images. Following his research at L’L about the poetry of the beat generation and the work of Allen Ginsberg, Brussels-based artist Mathias Varenne has created Hurler sous la lune. Varenne is fascinated by the importance of orality and storytelling, and yet he questions here the custom of perpetuating one single version (History with a capital H) that disregards the existence of a multiplicity of accounts (histories). Influenced by science-fiction practices, Varenne offers a new form of storytelling with this project. By combining text, video, light, and sound, Hurler sous la lune has the form of a narration that is progressively filtered, as if by a chemical substance or a kaleidoscopic lens; a gesture to remind us that our world, locked in its pragmatic narrations, definitely needs unusual stories, images and heroes.

Author, director, performer: Mathias Varenne
Video and light creator, performer: Damien Petitot
Sound creation, vocal coach, performer: Myriam Pruvot
Scenography: Gaëtan Rusquet
Scenography intern : Louise Vandervorst
Director assistance: Sophie Maillard
Technical director: Xavier Meeus
Assistant video & light creation: Adrien Monfleur
Artistic accompaniment: L’L
Surtitling: Babel Subtitling 

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, L’L
Production: Mothership asbl
Production and diffusion: France Morin/Arts Management Agency
Executive production: Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Coproduction: Coop asbl, Festival Actoral (Marseille) / L’L foundation
Support: Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles-Service du Théâtre, Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government
Funding and research support by: L’L / Structure expérimentale de recherche en arts vivants (2013-2018)
Thanks to: Lucille Calmel, Stéphane Gladyszewski, Christophe Haleb, Iannis Heaulme, Olivier Hespel

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History of a process

A conversation between Mathias Varenne and Sophie Maillard.

Mathias, can you explain how this project came about?

Initially I wanted to work on Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Howl, a highly influential work of the Beat Generation. I came across this poem completely by chance in 2013 and read it the first time in English. Allen’s language is as fantastic as my English is shaky… When I first read it I admit that I didn’t understand all of the subtlety of the images Allen conjures up, yet I was gripped by a strong, even dazzling emotion… Why do these words that I don’t fully understand bring out such strong feelings in me? I felt that there was something like a gesture in this writing that grabbed me.

How did you come to develop artistic work out of this emotion?

First, I started looking more closely at writers of the Beat Generation (William Burroughs, ruth weiss, Ted Joans) and discovered a collective interest in what they produced. Back then there were several new editions of their books, a Hollywood film taken from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and an exhibition in Beaubourg where, amidst photos and texts, Jack’s jeans and Allen’s shoes could be “admired”. I think it would really have made them laugh that their clothes had become like relics. More or less at the same time, I discovered that a venue in Brussels – L’L – was proposing a research process inviting artists to free themselves of the rules linked to production time and just take the time to look. That seemed very opportune because back then I had no desire to create a show. I was simply interested in questioning the “why” of the emotion I felt when reading Howl, and “why” I had this collective interest in these artists of the Beat Generation. I submitted my application to L’L and was given the opportunity to be part of its process.

How did this research happen? Did you come up with answers to these “whys”?

Initially, I worked on Allen’s text and on different ways of giving it substance, a voice and images. But I realised that the relationship I had with the work was still documentary, one of paying “homage” to it, and that wasn’t what interested me. Working like that, I wasn’t confronting the gesture of Allen and his acolytes. That came to me at the same time as I understood the need to which these authors of the Beat Generation were responding by telling us stories about a road trip on LSD and archangels of urinals: the absolute need to allow yourself to see the world through poetic and fictional prisms not to escape real life, but rather to seize hold of it, re-appropriate it and respond to it. A way of becoming responsible (again). That’s how I took the decision to stop working on Allen’s words and to embark on research comprising writing and developing fiction and poetry.

So it was a kind of invitation that you felt? An invitation to produce your own poetry?

An invitation, yes. Perhaps even an order! Because in the end at that time I had no choice. Either end my research and stage a work of “homage” or put myself at risk by writing too… And doubtless without L’L’s research process, without this opportunity to take my time, I wouldn’t have responded to this invitation.

Ultimately then this invitation led to a desire to produce a show, to go out and meet audiences. Beyond the desire to share a work, what pushed you to go on and create it?

I included this invitation in my dramaturgical research, with the desire in turn to invite audiences to reinvest the place of the dream and of fiction, and in doing so create a kind of propagation… I think that’s the project’s political place: simply saying that producing fiction and telling stories between people is a way of responding to real life, a way of taking a position in relation to the world, a very pragmatic world and mainly focused on expert reports that explain how things can or should be done. For me, it’s about defending the idea that producing the story and sharing the fiction can become a means of action on the world and allow for new “networks of intentions” to be created. So, I set about writing a story that is told twice: first a “nightmarish” version and then a “visionary” version. The second story attending to the first, with deliberately dreamlike and strange images reminiscent of fairy tales. A story that talks about our world with quirky images: a game to transform reality to allow the opportunity for other heroes and other possibilities to come and surprise us. And thus, to shed light on the imagination’s capacity for action.

In this show you have two partners, Damien Petitot and Myriam Pruvot, who are responsible for the video/lighting and sound creation. Where did this desire for collaboration come from?

I immediately asked Damien Petitot and Myriam Pruvot to help me with my research. Firstly, to respond to my desire to work on the writing aesthetic of the Beat Generation, on this “cut up” method that runs through these authors’ work. Today, I think that sharing the narrative act is also a way of reinforcing the project’s political place. For me it’s about highlighting this famous “network of inten-tions”, this stance that the production of fiction is accessible to everyone and is never stronger than when it’s shared.

Thanks to:

the dead:
Allen Ginsberg – William Burroughs – ruth weiss – Shéhérazade – Kathy Acker – Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge – Louise Metzingue – Neal Cassady – Audre Lorde – Copi – Nina Simone – Michael Ende and Artax – Ursula K. Le Guin – Ted Joans – David Wojnarowicz and all the radical faeries

the living:
Mona Chollet – Vinciane Desprest – Pat Califia – Hervé Brizon – Genesis P-Orridge – Starhawk – Donna Haraway – Virginie Despentes – Brigitte Fontaine – Bastian, Falkor and Atreyu – Patti Smith – Nan Goldin – Christophe Haleb – Stéphane Gladyszewski – Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw – Norman Spinrad – Laurie Anderson and all the radical faeries

for their invaluable inspiration.

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After studying at the École d’Acteurs de Liège, Mathias Varenne started out as a performer under the direction of Armel Roussel, Lucille Calmel, Christine Letailleur and Wojtek Siemilski. He soon began developing his own stage objects, happily juggling theatre, sound poetry and performance. In 2014 he premiered La Preuve at the Centre Culturel de Forest and the Théâtre de Liège (winning the International Jury Prize and Young Jury Prize at the Festival Emulation). While working on this he met Isabelle Bats, with whom he went on to collaborate as a curator developing the Crash Test performance events. Mathias Varenne is extremely interested in works produced from collective creation and artists blurring their designations (identifying as actors, dancers, performers, writers and painters in one). He enjoys questioning the notion of medium and posture, and endeavours to create zones of common research where, like in a jazz band, each participant composes for the others and for themselves with the aim of creating dissonances and shared rhythms. Lastly, he enjoys focusing his research on topics linked to sexualities, femininities and social classes to bring the poetic and the political into dialogue.

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