(All images Constant Couteille taken at Chateau de Monthelon)
This was my third, and longest residency visit at Monthelon. Continuing the research and creation of my first full-length solo performance, which I started last year during a previous residency at Monthelon.
The Premier took place on 28 February in the Grand Salle of Chateau de Monthelon, in the midst of a raging storm.. the Salle, which protrudes out into the rolling landscape at the top of a hill has many old, tall windows, the sound of the tempest howling outside added much to the atmosphere, and thankfully didn't stop a good number of audience turning up!
'A Quintet..' is a voyage into the unknown for me, as a performer, to be solo onstage for the entire show.. It's also the first time I do so little aerial circus in a work that I have made.
I have created a text, I speak, I use theatre, aspects of twisted Burlesque involving a particular vegetable, I speak directly with the audience, it's a humorous show, in the context of an artist desperately searching for herself to be onstage, to be 'present'.
For the first time in 17 years I play the violin once more onstage.. It feels very good
I was very pleased with the creation, although I feel it is a work in evolution which needs to be performed, much, as it cannot be entirely 'set'. To allow myself to create a connection with each audience through the series of personalities (one might say characters) which appear and talk through me, there needs to be an element of risk, to adapt to the audience, who they are at that time, so there is improvisation, a riskiness to this show, which is not hidden.
Feedback from the audience after the show:
'I felt so light, from laughing, to watch and experience the struggle to be present... '
'It reminded me of Beckett, this absurd, amusing yet tragic but still funny, struggle with life..'
'You give voice to the inner thought process, it's so alive, I felt really ... there!'
The trailer for the show is being edited right now, and the next step is applying for festivals and locations closer to home in Sweden where it can be performed.
About Monthelon and I:
My work at Monthelon has become rich, so rich, and valuable for me as an artist. In the expansive silence and solitude, the making of a fire, collecting wood, the morning practice led by Ayin or Ueli, long walks, time in the studio, time at the piano… even in the weekly cleaning… Arises the opportunity to really listen, to live this beautiful life, there is so much that calls and sings to me here, in Bourgogne, and especially at Monthelon.
Over the years I have developed strong connections to the permanent residents, and it is like a home to me, the warmth and love of a family, who allow me to be… which is the most loving and nurturing thing an artist can be given. My solo work is a stretch into the unknown for me, crossing the lines of circus, theatre, music, performance art, stand-up comedy, philosophy even.. I received incredible support through internal presentations, where the permanent residents and staff of the bureau gave their time, and critique to the ongoing research. I presented my work four times before the final presentation which for me was a Premier of the work, at the Sortie de Residens. It’s hard to put into words the extent to which i appreciate and love Monthelon, and the people there. Suffice to say, it is a way of life, and long may it last.
Thanks again to Ueli, Molly, Ayin, Cille, Jean-Benoit, Dani, Arlo, Joachim, Satya, Anouska, Luce, Charlotte, Sinéad, Constant, and Guillaume.