Focus Cie, Belgian theatre company, together with Compagnie Chaliwaté (read our interview with them here) is coming to Adelaide Festival to present its show Dimanche. The show gives a message about climate change all the while showing the absurdity of human beings. We spoke to Julie Tenret from Focus Cie.
Since when have you been and why did you become interested in theatre?
As a child, my parents often took me to a little theatre in Brussels called “le 140”. Companies from all around the world were programmed, I was able to discover a lot of unusual theatrical forms, it was fascinating and I knew that it was what I wanted to do in life.
For 17 years, I have been practising this profession on stage, writing stories, and acting is the most confronting, fascinating and magical experience.
Do you have a special interest in marionettes and object theatre?
Object theatre allows scenic writing very close to cinematographic writing which I am passionate about. You can play with different levels, creating spaces which are both realistic and oniric. It proposes a metaphoric and poetic language and is always singular.
As for marionettes, they are poetic and magical, they instantly captivate spectators’ attention. It has the advantage of being able to say anything, it’s a space of infinite liberty.
Do you have family that are also in the theatre?
My sister Zoé Tenret is a scenographer and my partner Joachim Jannin is a composer and sculptor. He makes our marionnettes.
What does Dimanche have in common with your other shows?
My previous shows were also visual, mixing object theatre, marionettes, acting, video and in Dimanche, the theatre of movement.
This new project registered is part of our series of respective research.
We work from the basis of the personal to try to touch the global.
Sandrine, Sicaire and I have a theatrical language and very close influences such as the cinema of Wes Anderson, Buster Keaton, Jim Jarmusch, Jacques Tati etc.. sharing our skills in the service of the story that we wanted to tell came naturally.
We have also been surrounded by a solid artistic team, which with us, have put all of their know-how into this show.
Tell us about Dimanche.
Between onirism and reality, Dimanche is a tragedy/comedy, which paints the portrait of humanity in total mismatch with its time, seized by the chaos of climate change.
A family readies itself to spend Sunday at home. Around them everything is transforming and falling apart, and in that moment we see the surprising inventiveness of human beings in trying to preserve their daily life to the point of absurdity.
At the same time, on the roads, around the world, a team of animal reporters prepare a documentary witnessing life of the last living species on Earth.
Where did the idea for the show come from?
We know that what has been destroyed cannot be rebuilt: melted glaciers cannot be refrozen, Amazonian forests cannot be replaced, no backtracking is possible, no inversion is possible, and this countdown is adding to our anguish.
We find that it is necessary to speak about the denial and the delay which we are observing both in ourselves and around us, between the extreme urgent need to act to save our planet and the difficulty of integrating this reality into our daily lives.
This leads to totally mismatched, surrealist life situations. Comedy in tragedy.
Does Cie Focus wish to send a message through the show Dimanche?
Theatre seems to react like a mirror to the world and allows us to see things from another angle. It’s a collective experience which makes you dream, disturbs you, gathers you, makes you question.
The question that we ask is when and how are we going to rebel against this pernicious ruling class? How do we transform the weight of anxiety into the gold of hope, we must do something.
How do you think Australian audiences will react to the show?
At worst, they will be bored and will fall asleep, at best they will escape, dream, be outraged and rebel!
You can see Dimanche at Adelaide Festival from 28 February to 7 March. It is suitable for audiences 9+.
Tickets cost $59 for adults and $20 for children under 14. Discounts are available for Friends of the Festival, under 30s, concession card holders and students.
Buy your tickets here
You can also read our interview with Compagnie Chaliwaté about Dimanche here.