ÔQUEENS (a body lab)

Conception, stage design and direction Michel Schweizer

A promising cast! We find ourselves faced with 3 interpreters whose professional activity and social status are determined by a regular practice of performance which exhibits the results of daily exercise, the goal of which is to literally transform the body in order to command public attention.

The body builder disposes of the need for representation as she is the physical manifestation of a real presence; that is, that of the body of a woman with the attributes of a fantasized body become real through muscular activity, an entirely self-fabricated body.

The body builder undertakes a veritable mutation through constant effort. This brings to mind the ballerina who, in order to comply with the codes and limits imposed by this particular choice of profession, undergoes a training process which eliminates her sexuality through daily practice of a movement vocabulary which, ironically, incessantly promotes exhibitionism. The ballet dancer then practices an art which takes the female body and turns it into that of an unnatural, asexual, and infantilized being.

For her part, the striptease artist engages in an dialogue with the viewer which is entirely based on the processes of drive and desire, luring the spectator into a scenario which stages lust and aims at immediate satisfaction. Here we have neither narration nor representation, but rather a relationship between watcher and watched which is unthinking and direct. A professional striptease artist learns her trade fully conscious of that (or he) which she manipulates and provokes through her libidinous image, in an instinctive search for pleasure and a drive to please.

The general idea consists of transforming and sublimating our drives, thus economizing our libido and acting – as perfect neurotics, granted – but dare we say responsibly, since behind consenting to this loss is first and foremost the will and capacity to “live together.” Today, we struggle against “a capitalism that aims to calculate desire and singularity by transforming singularity into particularity and making the individual into a being ruled solely by drives such as Orwell’s pig, Jarry’s slug or Hobbes’ wolf.” (Bernard Stiegler / see in bibliography)

With Caroline Gaume, Friedrich Lauterbach ou Michel Schweizer, Gilles-Anthonie Thuillier, Sarah Moon Howe, Satchie Noro et Baldiane, le cavalier king charles, Cisk le bouledogue anglais, Dodie, le bouledogue français

Light design Jean-Pascal Pracht
Sound design Nicolas Barillot
Electroacoustic device Johann Loiseau
Stage manager Marc-Emmanuel Mouton
Light manager Julien Compagnon
Référent canin Jean Gallego
Set Jean-Luc Petit
Video Cécile Pécondon-Lacroix
Consultante choréologie Patrica Chen

Production : La Coma
Coproducers : Espace Malraux, scène nationale de Chambéry I Le Cuvier, CDC d’Aquitaine I Le Merlan, scène nationale de Marseille I OARA, Office Artistique de la Région Aquitaine I Le Manège, scène nationale de Reims I Le Quartz, scène nationale de Brest I La Ferme du Buisson, scène nationale de Marne-La-Vallée – Temps d’images 2008 I NXTSTP – TnBA, Théâtre national de Bordeaux Aquitaine I NXTSTP – Rotterdamse schouwburg – Nederland I Théâtre municipal de Cahors

Photo credit Frédéric Desmesure