La Place du singe

by Christine Angot et Mathilde Monnier

  • Dance
  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2005 archive

Mathilde Monnier

France / Created in 2005

La Place du singe © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


The novels and other writings of Christine Angot, whether for stage or adapted for the stage, form a body of work which seems to be personal in style, yet at the same time being a radical move away from a confessional or witness-account genre. She disputes the idea that personal writing can only emerge if it is subordinate to social relationships referred to as "confidential" or for limited readership. History in her works is treated as public, that concerns everyone, not as observers but as intimate connoisseurs, and finds within the particular energy of this writing, the strength to impose itself without being subjected to the laws of the "confidential" genre. Once her words are published or are staged they are free from such constraints, and become public property and even stage-like. This has been the case since the publication of her first novel Vu du Ciel, published in 1990, and continued with L'Inceste en 1999, which brought her into the public eye, and is still the case today as in works such as Pourquoi le Brésil ? (2002), Une partie du cœur (2004) or Normalement (2001), directed with Michel Dydim at the Théâtre National de la Colline (2002) and from which came the extract used in her first artistic joint-venture with Mathilde Monnier, in Arrêtons, Arrêtez, Arrête. The title of her latest novel, Les Désaxés, expresses well the off-centring of her characters feelings in relations to their social place, like the off-centring of literature itself in relation to the function given to language in relationships where words are exchanged and become utilitarian, to the point where there is a risk of losing the mystery contained in expression, the preservation of which, literature itself takes on the responsibility.

Director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier since 1994, Mathilde Monnier's first solo piece was in 1988 and had a surrealist touch. After a foray into jazz writing with Louis Sclavis, Chinoiserie and Face Nord (1991), she took a serious look at her writing process, and started examining more closely the body as well as spaces linked to the notion of community. At the same time as her dance pieces, she devoted some of her time to other activities - some with people in Africa, others in Montpellier with autistic people – which added new dimensions to her work. She created Pour Antigone (1993) with African and Western dancers, while L'Atelier en Pièces (1996) is a reflection on proximity, the body and confinement. From the issue of differences to questions about society, her research delves into internal disorder to the limits of madness as in Déroutes based on Lenz by Georg Büchner (2003), or Publique (2004), a dance performance by women which is an examination of identity and the rapport with rock music via that of P.J. Harvey. At the Avignon Festival, Mathilde Monnier has already presented Pudique Acide/Extasis in 1986, Ainsi de Suite in 1992, L'Atelier en Pièces in 1996 and Les Lieux de Là in 1999.

Choreographer Mathilde Monnier, and writer Christine Angot have known each other for several years and first worked together in 1997 on Arrêtons, Arrêtez, Arrête. They wanted to do it again and go further. La Place du Singe (The Place of the Monkey) is a duet, a dialogue between dance and text, developed according to personal language. These exchanges which derive from the experience and especially from the sensations proper to a particular social milieu, the Bourgeoisie, as the one and only holder of the key to happiness, of the art of living and of art. The "friend-enemy to fight-charm", are the spice of the subject. The two performers play out a game which is tender or angry, never ironic. Each language conveys its own musicality and committment of the people on stage. The mysterious question of presence. On the stage, the space surreptitiously alters according to the discrete movements of scenographer Annie Tolleter. In this constantly changing sound-equipped environment, the choreographer and the writer stage a whole range of views, underlining the words of a song by Jean-Louis Murat "What do you understand about me that I don't understand ? and "What do you know about me ? "


A show by and with : Christine Angot, Mathilde Monnier, with Annie Tolleter (scenography)
Lighting : Eric Wurtz
Sound : Olivier Renouf
Regard : Rita Quaglia


Production : Festival Montpellier Danse 2005, Théâtre Garonne-Toulouse, Scène nationale de Cavaillon, Centre chorégraphique national de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon
Avec le soutien : de la fondation “Beaumarchais” / Sacd

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