Gisèle Vienne L’Étang
An adaptation of a short piece of writing by the Swiss writer Robert Walser, l’Étang throws light upon the intricate workings of a filial love story. The various roles are played by two actresses Adèle Haenel and Julie Shanahan.
L’Étang is a family drama which differs from the rest of the work of Robert Walser (1878-1956) in that it is a private text that he gave to his sister, and is the only work her wrote in Swiss-German. It recounts the story of a child who feels unloved by his mother and, at the height of her despair, fakes her own suicide in order to find out if her mother really loves her. What are the issues that are at stake here? What are the forces at work between the words on the page and the onstage action? What are the different strata of language, ranging from elements of narration to the spoken word, and which we may or may not be able to formulate, which comprise our perception, comprehension and exchanges? These questions, present at the core of Gisèle Vienne’s work for some time now, are tackled via the mise en abyme of the writing of Robert Walser and its staging: Adèle Haenel and Julie Shanahan play, one and two roles respectively, whist lending their voices to the other characters, represented by dolls. On the stage, the eight scenes and seventeen bodies are permanently on display. Thus, several levels of perception of reality and temporality, interiority and exteriority are brought into existence. Raising questions about theatre and family-based convention, L’Étang looks, in particular, into the question, the essential aspect of which is deceiving, of what we see – that is, the shared representation of reality and, social norm.
This piece has been created in memory of Gisèle Vienne’s long-term collaborator, the actress Kerstin Daley Baradel, who passed away in 2019, and with whom the director and her team developed this work side by side.
Based on Der Teich (The Pond) by Robert Walser
Design, staging, stage design and work, Gisèle Vienne
Text adapted by Adèle Haenel, Julie Shanahan, Henrietta Wallberg in collaboration with Gisèle Vienne
Performed by Adèle Haenel, Julie Shanahan
Lights, Yves Godin
Sound design, Adrien Michel
Musical director, Stephen F. O’Malley
Original music, Stephen F. O’Malley, François J. Bonnet
Stage design collaboration, Maroussia Vaes
Doll design, Gisèle Vienne
Doll creation, Raphaël Rubbens, Dorothéa Vienne-Pollak, Gisèle Vienne
in collaboration with Théâtre National de Bretagne (Rennes)
Outside input from Denis Cooper, Anja Röttgerkamp
Décor made by Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers
Décor and accessories, Gisèle Vienne, Camille Queval, Guillaume Dumont
Costumes, Gisèle Vienne, Camille Queval
Makeup and wigs, Mélanie Gerbeaux
General set coordinator, Erik Houllier
Sound coordinator, Adrien Michel, Mareike Trillhaas
Lights coordinator, Iannis Japiot, Samuel Dosière
Set coordinator, Antoine Hordé, Jack McWeeny
Tour assistant, Sophie Demeyer
Produced and broadcast by Alma Office: Anne-Lise Gobin, Alix Sarrade, Camille Queval, Andrea Kerr
Administration, Etienne Hunsinger, Giovanna Rua
A play created in collaboration with Kerstin Daley-Baradel and Ruth Vega Fernandez
Produced by Companie DACM – Gisèle Vienne
Co-produced by Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers; Théâtre National de Bretagne (Rennes); Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg – Scène européenne; Holland Festival (Amsterdam); Fonds Transfabrik – Fonds franco-allemand pour le spectacle vivant; Centre Culturel André Malraux (Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy); Comédie de Genève; La Filature, Scène nationale (Mulhouse); Le Manège, scène nationale – Reims; MC2: Grenoble; Ruhrtriennale (Bochum); TANDEM Scène nationale (Douai- Arras); Kaserne Basel; International Summer Festival Kampnagel (Hamburg); théâtre Garonne – scène européenne (Toulouse); CCN2 – Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble; BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen); Black Box teater (Oslo); Festival d’Automne à Paris
With support from CND Centre national de la danse (Pantin), La Colline – théâtre national (Paris), Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne Special thanks to Point Ephémère (Paris) for providing their space, Playroom, SMEM (Fribourg) for providing their sound studio
With support from CND Centre national de la danse, La Colline – théâtre national, and Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
Special thanks to Point Ephémère for providing their space, and Playroom, SMEM, Fribourg for providing their sound studio
Special thanks to Etienne Bideau-Rey, Nelson Canart, Zac Farley, Etienne Hunsinger, Pauline Jakobiak, Tristan Lahoz, Richard Pierre, César Van Looy, Jean- Paul Vienne
With support from Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels
DACM/Compagnie Gisèle Vienne has a contract with the Ministry of Culture and Communication – DRAC Grand Est, Région Grand Est and the City of Strasbourg.
Gisèle Vienne is an associate artist at CND Centre national de la danse and Théâtre National de Bretagne. As of January 2023, Gisèle Vienne will be an associate artist at MC2: Grenoble.