An Old Monk

  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2014 archive

Kris Defoort and Josse De Pauw


An Old Monk © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Practical infos


A title that can be taken two different ways for this show, a dramatic concert that has three musicians working alongside an actor/dancer. The titular old monk is the show's main character who, despite his age, never gives up, especially when music makes him feel as if he could dance like a young man again; but it is also a reference to another Monk, Thelonious, the genius jazz musician who would interrupt his own shows for some inspired dancing. This unique work that Josse de Pauw, Kris Defoort, Nicolas Thys, and Lander Gyselinck created together is a delight for the heart, the soul, and the mind. Unique because in it words and notes complete one another, even listen to one another sometimes, without the ones or the others taking precedence. The story of this ageing man who doesn't want to lose his will to live is deeply touching; he makes heavy use of irony and humour, he has fun and we have fun with him, and he makes us all witnesses to that moment when we aren't what we used to be anymore but aren't yet what we are going to be. The musicians play with him, in every meaning of the word, they improvise and cover some of Thelonious Monk's standards, they surprise him and get him dancing again, they breathe life and energy back into him, and are as much actors of the show as he is. By daring to display his own ageing body, Josse de Pauw fully commits to an approach full of humanity and emotion, between generous laughter and hidden tears, an approach whose elegance lies in its goal to “lift those old bones higher than one would expect.”

Thelonious Monk is famous not only as a jazz composer, but also as a pianist. A groundbreaking musician who didn't care for the conventions of composition and performance, whose audacity and his freedom made him one of the masters of modern jazz. Upsetting melody, harmony, and rhythm, many of his songs remain jazz standards to this day. Among them are “Round Midnight”, “Straight, No Chaser”, “Blue Monk”, and “Ask Me Now”, four of the dozens of songs he recorded on more than fifty records. He died in 1982, aged only 65.

Jean-François Perrier, April 2014


Conception Josse De Pauw & Kris Defoort
Inspired by Thelonious Monk
Original text  Josse De Pauw
Translation Monique Nagielkopf
Music Kris Defoort
Images Bache Jespers & Benoît van Innis

Josse De Pauw & Kris Defoort Trio : Kris Defoort
(piano), Lander Gyselinck (percussions), Nicolas Thys (electric bass)


Production LOD théâtre musical, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
With the support of Autorités flamandes
Co-hosting CIRCA-La-Chartreuse – Festival d'Avignon



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