For four weeks, from April 11th to May 8th, Atelier 231 had been living the British way. You could hear a few English words here and there or the sound of the boiling kettles at tea time…A well-deserved break in the company’s crammed 10 hour-day schedule.
Hard to imagine that a few days earlier, the technicians were still working on the machines, two massive articulated lorries, placed at both ends of Atelier’s “Grande Halle”, counterbalancing the huge metallic structure (the set), occupying two thirds of the space.
And the tyres ! Scattered around, hung, piled or left in a corner, they make up the set of the show. For a few weeks, the old railway workshop looked like a Michelin warehouse !
The residency was split in two parts : during the first two weeks, the metallic structure, ie the set was built. There was only a few feet to go before the structure touched the ceiling ! Musicians and artists then took over for the next 2 weeks : they first worked separately then a few days before the public rehearsal, got together to rehearse.
The stage was so imposing that the audience had to almost lean onto the Pacific 231 replica when they were watching the rehearsal. In an ‘end-of-the-world’ atmosphere, a horde of acrobats invaded the structure, running and jumping all over the space, and the tyres were far from just being part of the set : the artists re-used them in their various routines and acrobatics. From this chaotic world emerged poetic scenes and moments of hope, like this acrobat, hauling himself higher and higher to see “what is on the other side”…
The company is now in Bethune with ZEPA partner Culture Commune for a 10 day community engagement residency, where they will premiere Barricade at Z’arts Up festival on May 20th 2011.
Photos : Anne Saint-Germier and Sylvain Marchand