Sad Face I Happy Face

by Jan Lauwers

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The 2009 archive

Jan Lauwers / Needcompany


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Sad Face I Happy Face © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


Isabella's Room
The Lobster Shop
The Deer House

A trilogy about human condition

Sad Face | Happy Face brings together in a single narrative and spectacular continuum, three works premiered in five years: Isabella's Room, The Lobster Shop and The Deer House. The first revisits a century in the past tense, through Isabella Morandi's narrative (played by Viviane De Muynck), making use of the collection of 4,000 ethnological objects bequeathed to Jan Lauwers by his late father which gradually reveals the secrets of the adventurous existence of its owner. The second part takes place in the future, projecting the sadness of Axel and Teresa who have just lost their young son in a 21st century that continues as it began: a world of chaos, of abusive power, of displaced authority, of precariousness, of useless speed, put to fire and sword by often derisory conflicts. A genetics professor, Axel then creates Salman, the first cloned human being, to ward off this desperate vision. But Salman is too perfect: he sits enthroned at the summit of blandness, without any personality, even worse than the defeated world he is supposed to exorcise. The last episode, The Deer House, is written in the present. The present of a world at war(s) that is suddenly introduced via the death of a dancer's brother, in the daily life of the troupe, but also the present of the performance, that of the Needcompany itself, in the midst of rehearsing, creating a new show, when the news reach them. The trilogy Sad Face | Happy Face is connected to the Festival d'Avignon: it is part of its recent history. In 2004, Isabella's Room had its premiere here and undeniably marked the public of the Cloître des Carmes; in 2006, Jan Lauwers returned with The Lobster Shop, whose premiere took place at the Église des Célestins. So it seemed natural that the Needcompany presented the third part of this trilogy, The Deer House, this year, as well as the totality of what has already compelled recognition as a saga of our times spoken in our time. ADB



text, direction and scenography: Jan Lauwers
music: Hans Petter Dahl, Maarten Seghers
lighting: Ken Hioco
sound: Dré Schneider
costumes: Lot Lemm
direction assistance: Elke Janssens
with: Grace Ellen Barkey, Anneke Bonnema, Hans Petter Dahl, Viviane De Muynck, Misha Downey, Julien Faure, Benoît Gob, Tijen Lawton, Yumiko Lawton, Maarten Seghers, Inge Van Bruystegem
production: Luc Galle


production: Needcompany
coproduction: Festival de Salzbourg, Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Théâtre Garonne-Toulouse, La Rose des Vents Scène nationale Lille-Métropole/Villeneuve-d'Ascq, PACT Zollverein (Essen), Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York), Welt in Basel theaterfestival (Bâle), Cankarjev Dom (Ljubljana), Automne en Normandie, La Filature Scène nationale de Mulhouse, Kaaitheater (Bruxelles), deSingel (Anvers)
avec le soutien: du programme Culture 2000 de l'Union européenne et des Autorités flamandes

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