Théâtre sans frontières

Théâtre sans frontières

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They revive and delight the spirit of childhood. With the stroke of a pencil, the Big Top of a little circus takes shape on a screen (Dark Circus).

They revive and delight the spirit of childhood. With the stroke of a pencil, the Big Top of a little circus takes shape on a screen (Dark Circus). Here comes an acrobat, a cannonball-man, a knife-thrower, a lion tamer and a lion. It’s a light-hearted, black and white tribute to failure that ends with an infectious explosion of color. You can see the two artists standing on either side of the screen, conjuring up these figures in plain sight and with next to nothing: a charcoal crayon, a fresco unrolled with a crank handle, a handful of sand dropped on a blank page, figurines cut out of cardboard. One can only be amazed when watching this pair at work, becoming one with the rhythm of the sounds and images.

Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet met while playing in a brass band. They have always enjoyed moving between different art forms. At a time when the image is everything and can be endlessly manipulated, Bermond and Maillet have a unique way of performing a mischievous revolution of the gaze. They chose to name their company Stereoptik after the success of their first show in 2009: also called Stereoptik, the production took off on the traces of two characters who set out to discover the world, as well as a jazz singer kidnapped by aliens.

This was followed by Congés payés (2010), a story about going on vacation, and Les Costumes sont trop grands (2013), a real road movie and a romance. Stereoptik use few words, but have an acute sense of narrative: Dark Circus’s narrative originated with a story by Pef. With these productions in their repertoire, they now travel the world and its major festivals, from Vienna to Hong Kong and from New York to Avignon.

Stereoptik also designed an exhibition for the 2015 inauguration of the Espace Cardin by the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. To visit it was to step into their workshop. With that now-familiar amazement, visitors discovered the successive stages of their sophisticated visual and musical research, the lead-up to the performances of a duo often referred to as the children of Méliès. But perhaps it would be more apt to describe them as children of their century, artists who pull out all the stops in every media available: silent film and animation, drawing, painting, old sound effects and trompe l’oeil tricks, acoustic and electronic music, 3D, shadows, puppets, objects, photographs, archival home movies. Their next production is scheduled for 2019. With Stereoptik, the imagination is in power.