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théâtre national de nice

2017-18 season

théâtre national de nice

[ Coproduction | Original piece ]

passager clandestin

based on the great disaster by Patrick Kermann
directed by Sylvie Osman

with Fanny Fezans, Thibault Pasquier, Laurent Robert, Jean-Baptiste Saunier drama Didier Plassard stage design & puppet making Greta Bruggeman artist Olivia Paroldi scenery Damien Visocchi lighting Pierre Olivier production Compagnie Arketal coproduction Théâtre National de Nice - CDN Nice Côte d’Azur, Le Fort Antoine - Monaco, Théâtre Joliette-Minoterie - Scène conventionnée pour les expressions contemporaines - Marseille residences Théâtre de la Licorne - Cannes, La Louhenrie - Pouillé, L’Apostrophe - SN Cergy-Pontoise with the support of the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes - Charleville-Mézières, of the Ville de Cannes, of the Théâtre Roublot, of the Compagnie du Pilier des Anges - Fontenay-sous-Bois, of the Forum Jacques Prévert - Carros, of the Fonds d’Insertion pour Jeunes Artistes Dramatiques, de la DRAC PACA, de la Région PACA et du Département des Alpes-Maritimes. Arketal company regulated by DRAC PACA and the Ville de Cannes. Subsidized by Région PACA and the Département des Alpes-Maritimes. Text published by Éditions Lansman

A human tragedy transcended by the beauty and aesthetic simplicity of puppetry performed by Arketal. Here is a universal tale that touches our hearts.

An Italian Shepherd, Giovanni Pastore, leaves his mountains to seek work, dreaming of a better life. On board the Titanic, he is given the job of cleaning the 3,177 dessertspoons of the guests in first class. As a stowaway, he will not climb into one of the lifeboats and will perish amongst the waves of the Atlantic. He returns from the bottom of the ocean to tell us his story. Reappearing from the wreckage, are his companions in exile: the ship’s engineer, the captain and even his mother, who visits him in a dream.
We relive the sinking of the Titanic through Patrick Kermann’s gripping text. The quartet of puppeteers directed by Sylvie Osman, bring to life some deeply moving characters. Giovanni Pastore appears under the guise of a puppet, animated by the voices of three actors and masterfully manipulated according to the traditional Japanese form of bunraku. He is the shepherd, the shipwreck victim and he is also each one of us, evoking Europe of today and yesterday, whilst the Titanic becomes a paper statuette, loaded with symbolism.

Meet the artistic team after the show on Thursday 29th March

Interview Sylvie Osman

Interviewed by Caroline Audibert

“A highly expressive dialogue is then created between the living body and the inert body of the puppet: a dialogue that goes beyond the death of things.”



How did the unique aesthetics of this show come about?

After training at the International Puppet Institute in Charleville-Mézières, the stage designer, Greta Bruggeman, and I were recruited by the great Swedish puppeteer, Michael Meschke who introduced us to the bunraku form of puppetry. In Stowaway, plastic artists and painters from the beginning of the 20th century also inspired our styling of the play, in particular Fernand Léger and the avant-gardes. I use the “noise” music of the time and, together with Pierre Olivier, have carefully researched the lighting, as the actors are visible in an open space.

As a puppeteer, do you subscribe to the pure tradition of Japanese bunraku theatre?

In bunraku, three actors move with the same puppet. The lead performer takes the body and one of the hands (made of wood or material), another manipulates the other hand and a third, moves the feet. I followed these codes of practice but also asked my actors to slide their own hands inside as an extension of the puppet. A highly expressive dialogue is then created between the living body and the inert body of the puppet: a dialogue that goes beyond the death of things. I also layered in the different voices of the performers…giving the puppet even more humanity. This specific way of moving, together with the polyphonic input, were made possible thanks to the actors I trained at the Ecole Régionale d’Acteurs de Cannes.

Giovanni Pastore, the shepherd who goes on to board the Titanic, is an emblematic figure in your eyes. What does he mean exactly?

This singular character leaves his home in the Frioul Mountains in Italy, to take the road to Europe in search of work and a bit of heaven on earth. He symbolizes everybody who, at a given moment, decide to leave their home country, their town, their family, in the hope of a better life elsewhere. What interests me more than anything, is that Giovanni Pastore ends up having a head-on collision with History. Through his own destiny, it is the history of the 20th century that resurfaces, with the ideal of technological progress; the working classes; social inequality.. His own unique fate becomes that of the many. I made him a puppet inhabited by several voices and several entities – a puppet that represents each and every one of us.

Do the other characters in the play also take the form of puppets?

After the liner sinks, Giovanni Pastore comes back up from the depths of the ocean to tell his story. He carries items with him and from which we create the scenery as well as other puppets. There’s his mother who appears to him as if in a dream…and Thomas Andrews, the exasperated ship’s engineer…

Is this a very unusual account of the sinking of the Titanic?

Yes. Patrick Kermann wrote a monologue with no punctuation. It’s a drama based on memory…. A very jumbled up memory! So, we go from his account of crossing Europe, to his impressions about the journey, some childhood memories, some historical events….Kermann’s writing has an incredible rhythm that I put across by using several voices. For me, the four actors are a part of Giovanni and highlight the “collective” destiny that is flowing through him…

Does the character have a critical view of his world and especially of Progress?

Yes, there is certainly a form of criticism about “progress” that becomes a utopia sinking to the bottom of the sea. There were not enough lifeboats on the Titanic…now, there’s a strong sign! Many men and women in third class perished. This play tells a social story, set (in the words of my dramatist Didier Plassard) “in a world of figures and where humans were considered as objects.” A modern, technological, sometimes inhuman world… Giovanni Pastore confides in us and we share a vision of theatre, based on memory and the present.
Michel Simon Hall Estimated running time 1h15
Limited number of seats
  • march
  • wed 28 8:30pm
  • thu 29 8:30pm
  • fri 30 9pm
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