La Mélancolie des dragons

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The 2008 archive

Philippe Quesne

Paris / Created in 2008

La Mélancolie des dragons © C.Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


Philippe Quesne created his first show La Démangeaison des ailes (Itching Wings) in 2003, a “revue-show” about the experience of flying and falling, played – or rather incarnated – by a few faithful followers (including the dog Hermes) brought together in the Vivarium Studio company. On a stage cluttered with the remains of today, Philippe Quesne, 37 years old, gives free rein to his inspiration. He has a fertile imagination, developed from concrete cases from daily life. His training as a plastic artist and his profession as a scenographer (which he exercised for about 10 years) are replayed on stage for each of his creations. The occupation of space and the miming of the arts are two characteristics of this stagecraft that Philippe Quesne wanted to be like a laboratory of extreme situations of the ordinary, a radical development of small experiments of urban and suburban melancholy. D'après Nature (After Nature), in 2006, established the emergence of Vivarium Studio on the French and international stage, in which the 7 members play the end of the world like a musical comedy in a tempered milieu.
At the Festival d'Avignon, Philippe Quesne presented, in the framework of the Vingt-cinquième heure, Des Expériences (Experiences) in 2004.

Practicing the dissection of its title itself, a triple anatomy of language, image and myth, a genuine cutaway view of meaning, this show is built as it unfolds. We therefore see melancholy, which is the particular feature of the heroes forged by Philippe Quesne: those who question themselves on the texts, images, treatises, the humours of black bile and disenchantment, dragging their large carcass or small round belly in a world that they do not understand, even if they generally master its technologies. But these are whimsical techniques, that literally serve no purpose. We also see dragons, those fantastic and monstrous creatures that have accompanied man in all his adventures from prehistory to the contemporary manga. Where are the monsters hiding? On the stage, there are a whole set of possibilities, composed with the actor's body, his disguise, his anxieties. We finally see what connects melancholy and the dragons: creation itself, as the creator, since Dürer, has necessarily been melancholy, and that the dragon is undeniably the deformed product that emerges from his spirit. Everything is in motion: these creatures move about in mobile homes, pulled by a small car, from one sycamore tree in the Cloître des Célestins to another. Philippe Quesne practices theatre as a chemical-physical experiment: he takes his own things, cuts out texts, music, references, images, stories from others, puts it all on the stage, before putting humans in it. And we rejoice in considering the way in which they disentangle themselves from this world, which sticks to their skin.


conception, scénographie et mise en scène: Philippe Quesne
avec: Isabelle Angotti, Zinn Atmane, Rodolphe Auté et Hermès, Sébastien Jacobs, Émilien Tessier, Tristan Varlot, Pascal Villmen, Gaëtan Vourc'h
production: Anaïs Rebelle


coproduction: Wiener Festwochen (Vienne), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) La rose des vents -Scène nationale de Lille Métropole à Villeneuve d'Ascq, Nouveau théâtre -Centre dramatique national de Besançon, Ménagerie de verre-Paris, Le Forum-Scène conventionnée de Blanc-Mesnil, Le Carré des Jalles (Saint-Médard-en-Jalles), Festival Perspectives de Sarrebruck
avec le soutien: de la Région Île-de-France et du Parc de la Villette
avec l'aide: du Festival d'Avignon

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