Gisèle Vienne / Dennis Cooper / Puppentheater Halle The Ventriloquists Convention


Since her appearance on the “choreographic” scene, Gisèle Vienne has blurred all possible boundaries, unceasingly. With her multiple creative talents, and training in philosophy, music and puppetry, Gisèle Vienne invents worlds apart in which jumping jacks rub shoulders with figure skaters, and performers with writers. Her photographic eye enables her to seize upon disturbing images, such as the doll-like figures which haunt her works. In The Ventriloquists Convention Gisèle Vienne renews her collaboration with American writer Dennis Cooper, with whom she created I Apologize and Jerk. This time around, it will be about the real will be rubbing up against the fictional: each year, in Vent Haven, Kentucky, an event is organized during which ventriloquists from the world over gather. They constitute a somewhat unique family, brought together through a “specialist, even suspect” shared interest and desire to celebrate. Gisèle Vienne and Dennis Cooper built up the score for the show on the basis of documentary and fictional sources: “using this material as a starting point, the work developed into a free-form reconstitution”. Why do ventriloquists do what they do? What lies behind their masks? Performed by nine ventriloquists-cum-puppeteers (giving rise to twenty-seven voices alone) the piece hinges on the use of multi-layered dialogues, including a third, ghostly, non-physical means voice. These portraits enable Gisèle Vienne to continue her full-scale research into body-voice relationships, “via the interplay between incarnation and dissociation”. With the combined presences of Jonathan Capedevielle, Uta Gebert and the puppeteers of the Puppentheater de Halle, The Ventriloquists Convention finds its own way of looking into the issue of gender, be it human or otherwise.