Dimanche is a show about climate change for all ages is a show created by two francophone Belgian companies, Compagnie Chaliwaté and Cie Focus. We spoke with Sicaire Durieux and Sandrine Heyraud from Compagnie Chaliwaté about the show and their backgrounds. Dates and ticket info can be found at the end of the article.
Sicaire Durieux and Sandrine Heyraud, in 2005, you established Compagnie Chaliwaté, which works with numerous and different approaches of the art of mime to create physical and visual shows. Tell us how and why you set up the company.
Gestures are, for us, a single way of creating evocative, suggestive and metaphoric images. We both share the same vision of theatre: physical, visual and artisanal, playing on comedy in tragedy, inspired by actors from silent film like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and more recent theatre companies like Compagnie Peeping Tom or la Fabrique Imaginaire. Starting from daily situations, from daily life to speak about societal subjects that touch us. Since the beginning, we have been attracted to this theatre form which can travel around the world without a language barrier.
You have been collaborating with Julie Tenret’s Compagnie Focus for the creation of “Backup” (short play of 25 minutes) and of “Dimanche” (longer version which will have its Australian exclusive premiere at the Adelaide Festival). How did this collaboration come to be?
We got together around a collective posting. For a longtime, we have closely followed and appreciated the work of our companies and it seemed clear that we had an analogous approach, a common taste for theatre forms that are unusual, visual, artisanal and poetic. We wanted to share our skills in the service of writing which mixed physical theatre with object theatre, marionettes, acting and video. This new project came about in the continuity of our respective research. We painstakingly worked to create a single visual and poetic language that draws from the daily, the intimate, the “infra-ordinary”, to touching the universal.
Tell us about the show “Dimanche” which will be performed at Adelaide Festival in February and March 2020.
Between onirism and reality, Dimanche paints the portrait of humanity in total mismatch with the era, grasped by the chaos of climatic disorder.
A family readies itself to spend Sunday at home. Despite the walls that tremble, a wind that could blow horns off local bulls, and the deluge outside seems only to be heating up, life continues as per usual. Around them everything transforms and falls apart, we see them deploy the surprising inventiveness of human beings to try to preserve their daily life to the point of absurdity.
At the same time, on the roads, wandering around the world, a team of animal reporters prepare a documentary witnessing life of the last living species on Earth.
Do you wish to give a message about climate change through the show Dimanche?
We want to speak about the denial in which we find ourselves, the mismatch which we see in ourselves and around us between the conscience of the extreme urgent need to act and our difficulty to assimilate this urgency and the way in which we continue to live our daily lives. If Dimanche allows us to better appreciate a little the contradictions and the denial in which we live, we think that it’s at the political level and the measures that need to be taken, we need to make politicians responsible. Perhaps people will wish to engage more and to militate so that real change in terms of the climate urgency in which we find ourselves can happen.
But we wish, of course, above all, to bring poetry and to show the beauty of human relationships, the importance of helping each other and of caring…
“I believe in the power of poetry, I think that poets have as much to say as statisticians, scientists and computer scientists do about the world. I believe that when we see a landscape which is suffering, we can certainly put it into statistics, we can certainly take State action to protect it, but poets must also speak of its beauty”. Sylvain Tesson
Sicaire Durieux, you are, among other things, a mime-actress, and you work a lot in mime (Business Developer at the Centre National du Mime in Paris, movement educator at Mime Festivals and Assistant Professor in Mime at the University of Québec in Montréal. When and why did you find your passion for mime?
As a child, I wanted to be a dancer, but I wanted to make people laugh on stage so I needed a certain theatricality on stage. Then I wanted to be an actor but without speaking as I was not at all comfortable with words. When I was little, I stuttered…I then decided to use this weakness as a strength. Since I was little, I have been a huge admirer of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin’s films and the desire to to work in this domain therefore came to be quite early.
Sandrine you have a background in theatre and mime having studied in Montreal, Paris, Bologna. What attracted you to theatre and to mime?
As a child, I did classical dance and I also liked theatre a lot. In mime, I found a way of combining these two pleasures: an expression that is both theatrical and physical.
This show speaks about climate change. Have your other shows also had a political message?
Yes, we created a show for young people called “Îlo” in 2012 on the theme of water shortages: “In a faraway desert, a man of mysterious appeal assists a parched plant. And so begins a surprising journey to search for the last few drops of blue water. Their meeting leads them with astonishment from the most querulous rivality to the sweetest solidarity. From the bias of physical and acrobatic scenes, Îlo addresses the question of water shortages by focusing on the current situation and the future due to climate change. The confined space, to the closed borders where it plays out, reminds of the need to act. If the thirst is more and more pressing progressively as the situation evolves, the solution to this shortage cannot be found elsewhere. Will acrobatic moves, chases and little dance steps allow them to find a happy ending?”
“Joséphina” spoke about the couple and “Jetlag” of solitude and delay.
Dimanche will play at the Adelaide Festival 2020. The show is for adults but also children 9 and up.
Tickets cost $59 for adults and $20 for children under 14. There are also discounts for Friends of the Festival, under 30s, concession card holders and students.
You can buy your tickets here:
You can see Dimanche between 28 February and 7 March at varying times.
What shows are you seeing at Adelaide Festival 2020?