Rêverie électronique: a show for toddlers in which you’re allowed to fall asleep

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Jesse Lucas is in Australia this week with his show Rêverie électronique which will be played at the Adelaide French Festival. This show will take you on a sonic voyage influenced by the ambient music of Brian Eno along with projected images. In this show,  Jesse Lucas invites you to lose yourself in the electronic rêverie and to take a break from the outside world.

We spoke to him about the show.

©Philippe Malet


You’re coming to Adelaide for the Adelaide French Festival with your show Rêverie électronique. Tell us about the show.

We could call the show an electronic siesta. I take the spectators diving into a sound and image bath. I propose a break, to focus on the breath, a moment to just appreciate the present moment.

You’re influenced by Brian Eno’s music . How have you been influenced by his music?

I discovered ambient music and Brian Eno’s work during the creation of a previous show which required a lot of work in front of the computer. This music style allowed me to concentrate on my tasks all while guiding me artistically. Following that, I started a weekly series of live improvised sets put up on the internet: The Vanishing Circle. This live series led me to explore different styles of electronic music and got a taste for the creation of ambient music during these sessions.


Your show “Rêverie électronique” is designed for toddlers and their parents. Have you always made shows for toddlers?

I have always considered that my creations could be appreciated by a wide number of people. I like to think of a project by imagining the reaction o the audience and I often imagine the reactions of children in the process. In 2009 together with Erwan Raguenes (music, sound) and Jacques-Yves Lafontaine (sound) we created shows for children and all audiences. L’odyssée de Rick le cube  and its sequel Rick le cube et les mystères du temps in 2014.

How to come about that you have made this show for toddlers ?

The shows about the world of Rick the cube set out for children from 5 years old however for a number of years I’ve wanted to work on a creation which could be presented to a very young audience during an interview with Brian Eno he spoke about the fact that his first album of ambient music had been played in birthing rooms in the United kingdom this anecdote motivated me to work on a show of ambient music designed for very young children. and given that I almost exclusively work on audio-visual projects I added video projections on a pyramid.


©Philippe Malet


Instead of shows for children which typically are full of energy and colour it seems that your show is a lot, it’s described as a world of dreamy sound and image.

I think that this show should carry and bring something more than the aspect of entertainment with Rêverie électronique, I invite children to find this taste for calm and passing the passing of time. Some will spend the time running about and others will relax tranquil e into the arms of their parents but I hope that each one will keep a grain of this experience of suspended time which could be useful in their future lives.

Have you already made audiences fall asleep in your shows normally an artist would be offended if there if their audience fell asleep, no? Is this a show in which it’s the opposite ?


Many children have already fallen asleep during my performances and that doesn’t pose any problem for me before inviting the audience to enter the room I allow myself to say a few words to remind them that it is not a problem I think that it’s important that the audience can live the dreaminess as they hear it. There’s not really any code that needs to be followed for this show!

What sorts of images are in the projections which are accompanying the music in the show ?

It’s an island that we discover slowly through the movement of the camera. This island is a little Harbour of peace for the animals that live there and that we see during the voyage. the images won’t tell the story but they remind us of the pleasure of simply watching the waves on the beach or the animals that populate the nature around us. for the little story the images have been created like in a video game and the animals that we observe on the pyramid behave differently in each session.


Can people without children attend the show ?

Of course this show is accessible for toddlers and their parents. However, it is open to everyone.


Why should we come and see your show Rêverie Electronique?

To simply take the time to allow yourself to be lulled by at the music and the images while comfortably laid out on cushions.


Rêverie électronique is on twice a day at 11:15 and at 12:15 this Saturday 12 January and this Sunday 13 January.

Tickets cost $25 for adults or $15 for children. There is also a family ticket (two adults and two children) which costs $65. You can buy your tickets here.


REVIEW: The Great War at the Adelaide Festival

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last week, Hotel Modern, a Dutch company, presented its show The Great War at the Adelaide Festival for the first time in Australia. The show is based on letters written by a French soldier to his mother during the war.


But The Great War is not a show like all the other shows about the war. Here, there are no actors on stage who transform into the characters. No, here the people are on stage solely to give life to the words of the soldier through the actions of miniatures filmed and then projected onto a large video screen. The Hotel Modern team is innovative. We have never seen a show like this before.


To transform potting soil into a war landscape is impressive. It’s a part of the genius of the production – to be able to make us believe that we are really looking at war moments while using every day objects.


Blowtorch fires made us believe that the forest (created from parsley) was really on fire. This added yet another level to this show – the bitter odour of the fire dispersed throughout the theatre, which added the sense of smell to those already engaged. A dirty aquarium allowed us to enter into the depths of the ocean. Icing sugar became snow and that snow melted with the help of a water sprayer which gave us rain. A dugout was made with cardboard stairs and miniatures like those you would see in a doll’s house – table, chairs, a bottle…



The flames on stage themselves are not that large, but filmed up close and projected onto the big screen are menacing. The poison gas seemed very realistic with boiling water poured onto dry ice which creates a fog which covers the ground and the soldier figurines.


A moving scene is created via mud and miniature boots worn on the fingers of the puppeteers, which gives us the impression that we are watching this soldier actually walking across the mud. This scene in which the soldier cannot help but walk across corpses, is portrayed with great realism. The dead are cut up action figures. We will never look at an action figure in the same way.


But it wasn’t just the visual side that was impressive in this performance. The man who produced the sounds on stage made us believe that we were really on the battlefield with his unique instruments using a mixture of real sounds (such as the recording of the firing of a machine gun) or created (the sound of a machine gun is also made by tapping xylophone sticks on a tin of marbles.

Image from the Adelaide Festival Centre website


Despite all of the positive aspects of the production, for me, the narration was disappointing. Firstly, we don’t know why letters which were written by a man are being read on stage by a woman – is it because he sent them to his mother so we should believe that it is his mother reading them on stage? At the beginning of the show, I had the impression that the narrator was speaking to children because of her tone. Several times during the show, I pondered asking myself whether making a show with miniatures is perhaps in and of itself disrespectful even if the people who are in the show don’t intend it to be.


In summary, it was an impressive, imaginative and moving show but it would perhaps be better with a different tone in the narration.


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Festival.