The Serge-Effect - Written for the actor Gaëtan Vourc’h, “L’Effet de Serge” questions the solo as a form through a subtile involvement of the matter of the performance. With this new piece, Philippe Quesne goes on with his scenic writing project, using arts, musics and experimentations.
Music excerpts of the play "The Serge-Effect" by André Prévin, Gillian Hills, Howe Gelb, Sophia Loren, Wagner, John Cage, The Patriotic Sunday, Sparklehorse, Colleen, Antoine Duhamel, Willy Deville, Arnold Goland, Abbc, Vic Chesnutt, Led Zeppelin, José Feliciano, ...
About the director of "The Serge-Effect": Philippe Quesne (1970) - He studied Visual arts and has designed for opera, concerts, theatre performances, and contemporary art exhibitions during ten years. In 2003, he created Vivarium Studio in Paris, a laboratory for theatrical innovation, which features painters, actors, dancers, musicians. He conceives and stages shows, which try to develop a contemporary dramaturgy based on a strong connection between space, set, and bodies. The sets often become working studios or "vivarium spaces" that present a human microcosm. He wrote, designed and directed La Démangeaison des Ailes, 2003 [The Itching of the Wings], Des Expériences (2004), D’après Nature (2006), L’Effet de Serge (2007), La Mélancolie des dragons (2008), and Big Bang (2010). Since 2004, the performances are produced and presented both in France and abroad. He created or participated in projects in Hannover, Tokyo, Berlin, Gennevilliers, Mannheim and elsewhere. Since 2014, he is directing Theatre Nanterre-Amandiers.
About the company founded by Philippe Quesne: The Vivarium Studio - Founded in 2003 by Philippe Quesne, a set designer with extensive experience in theatre, opera and contemporary art exhibits, the well named company is resolutely focused on the living as it pursues an ongoing observation of the behaviour of that strange social animal, the human being. Consisting in a group of diligent accomplices, Vivarium Studio enjoyed immediate success, attracting enthusiastic audiences to its theatre laboratory in France, Germany, Finland, the United States and Brazil. With Quesne acting as artistic director, the group creates hybrid works, theatrical contraptions that obscure the boundaries between theatre and performance art. In these diverse environments, the members of the troupe compose a sort of tableau vivant on stage, erasing the tidy contours of a character or simulating a performative drama developed in situ (such as their 2006 piece D’après Nature), where the banality of reality reveals its unsettling strangeness.
„All life long, the same inanities,“ wrote Beckett in Endgame. For the phlegmatic character at the heart of L’Effet de Serge, secreted within the emptiness of life is flamboyant material for invention. In eccentric microperformances Serge creates surprise by means of the absurdities of the everyday. With small remote-controlled toys, blue flares, lasers and flashing headlights he animates a collection of odds and ends, an astounding fairytaleworld where these little bits and pieces temporarily spring to life. This off-key aria by the French company Vivarium Studio maliciously turns theatrical conventions upside down as it blends reality and artifice, superimposing varying levels of presence and questioning the nature of representation while taking a dispassionate look at human beings, their needs for each other and their reliance on a poetic spirit to transcend mundane lives of sometimes stupefying insignificance.
Text from the Festival TransAmériques’ program, Montréal
Philippe Quesne is economical in the way he handles the dramatic side: not many effects of acting, technique or speech. Plaster sheet walls, a French window opening onto a minigarden, a scrap of carpet, TV and hi-fi, a pingpong table – these are the props he already recycles from other shows. (…)On stage are what Bresson used to call "models" and this time with Gaëtan Vourc’h soloing as the fictional Serge. Dressed up as an astronaut, Vourc’h tells the audience how things work at Vivarium Studio: "Usually, you start shows with the beginning of the last show's end. Last year I was acting in D'après Nature – a show which ended with me, like this, dressed up as an astronaut. There were several astronauts. Here, I'm going to act in L’Effet de Serge. It's about Serge's life. It takes place at his place." Then Vourc’h shows us where artist/project originator Serge lives.(…) Quesne brings an amused eye to bear on what could be one of the current professional rants: the apology for low-budget projects (whereas some theatre keep on with too much money). (…) Serge doesn't rely on effects, but Quesne's show has its effect. As always he comes up with exhilarating, critical theatre revolving as much around theatrical aesthetic codes as contemporary issues. Right now the first steps on stage of Gaëtan alias Serge, dressed up as an astronaut, represent a highly significant entrance: might the artist in fact belong on another planet, so much does he seem to consider his peers with the eye of a being apart, one freed of all material concerns?