Adaptation of one of Robert Walser’s early works dedicated to his sister, L’Etang/The Pond is an intricate tale about the relationship between mother and son, portrayed by actresses Adèle Haenel and Henrietta Wallberg. An intimate text that fully comes to life thanks to Gisèle Vienne’s playwriting. L’Etang is the story of a boy who doesn’t feel loved by his mother and, at the highest point of his despair, pretends to commit suicide to test her love for him.
The text is permeated by subtle distress and a disconcerting sensuality and it offers different visions of reality to such an extent that spectators are left on the edge of the vertiginous space opened by interpretation. What issues are at the core of this tale? Are the words we hear real or are they uttered by the ghosts of the mind?
Gisèle Vienne employs all expressive tools available to assemble the emotional echoes present in this universe, in a complex game of dissociating voices and movements. The music creates a claustrophobic atmosphere that contributes to the questioning of one’s perception of order and disorder, fantasy and reality, and of how this family drama reflects the violence of the social norm inscribed in our bodies.
L’Etang/The Pond is part of
PRISMA – Inventory of Shimmers
Gisèle Vienne in the city of Rome.
Gisèle Vienne is a Franco-Austrian artist, choreographer and director. After graduating in Philosophy, she studied at the puppeteering Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette. She works regularly with the writer Dennis Cooper, and with other artistic figures including the recently deceased Austrian composer of experimental electronic music, Peter Rehberg (aka Pita).
Over the past 20 years, her work has been touring in Europe and regularly performed in Asia and in America, among which, I Apologize (2004), Kindertotenlieder (2007), Jerk (2008), This Is How You Will Disappear (2010), LAST SPRING: A Prequel (2011), The Ventriloquists Convention (2015) in collaboration with Puppentheater Halle, then Crowd (2017) and L’Etang/The Pond (2020). In 2020, she created with Etienne Bideau-Rey the fourth version of Showroomdummies at the Rohm Theater Kyoto, and in 2021 she directed the movie Jerk.
Gisèle Vienne has frequently been exhibiting her photographs in museums among which the New York Whitney Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires and Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. She has published two books: JERK / Through Their Tears and 40 PORTRAITS 2003-2008 (2012). Her work has led to various publications and the original music of her shows to several albums.
based on the original story Der Teich (The Pond) by Robert Walser
conception, direction, scenography, dramaturgy Gisèle Vienne
performed by Adèle Haenel and Henrietta Wallberg
text adaptation Adèle Haenel, Julie Shanahan, Henrietta Wallberg in collaboration with Gisèle Vienne
lights Yves Godin
sound design Adrien Michel
music direction Stephen F. O’Malley
original music Stephen F. O’Malley and François J. Bonnet
tour assistant Sophie Demeyer
outside eye Dennis Cooper and Anja Rottgerkamp
collaboration to the scenography Maroussia Vaes
conception of puppets Gisèle Vienne
creation of puppets Raphaël Rubbens, Dorothéa Vienne-Pollak and Gisèle Vienne in collaboration with Théâtre National de Bretagne
stage set production Nanterre-Amandiers CDN
set and accessories Gisèle Vienne, Camille Queval and Guillaume Dumont
costumes Gisèle Vienne and Camille Queval
wig and make-up artist Mélanie Gerbeaux
technical manager Erik Houllier
sound engineer Mareike Trillhaas
light manager Samuel Dosière
stage manager Jack McWeeny
performance created in collaboration with Kerstin Daley-Baradel and Ruth Vega Fernandez
production and touring Alma Office: Anne-Lise Gobin, Camille Queval and Andrea Kerr
administration Cloé Haas and Giovanna Rua
producer DACM / Company Gisèle Vienne
co-producers Nanterre-Amandiers CDN / Théâtre National de Bretagne / Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg – Scène européenne / Holland Festival, Amsterdam / Fonds Transfabrik – Fonds franco-allemand pour le spectacle vivant / Centre Culturel André Malraux (Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy) / Comédie de Genève / La Filature – Scène nationale de Mulhouse / Le Manège – Scène nationale de Reims / MC2 : Grenoble / Ruhrtriennale / Tandem Scène nationale / Kaserne Basel / International Summer Festival Kampnagel Hamburg / Festival d’Automne à Paris / Théâtre Garonne / CCN2 – Centre Chorégraphique national de Grenoble / BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen / Black Box Teater, Oslo
with the support of CN D Centre national de la danse, La Colline – théâtre national and Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
DACM / Company Gisèle Vienne is supported by Ministère de la culture et de la Communication – DRAC Grand Est, the Région Grand Est and Ville de Strasbourg
and is supported by the Institut Français for international touring and by Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels
Gisèle Vienne is an associated artist at the CN D Centre national de la danse and at the Théâtre National de Bretagne. As from January 2023 Gisèle Vienne will be associated artist at MC2 : Grenoble.
supported by Institut français, Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati
and IN Italia International Network
in collaboration with Teatro Vascello
ph. Estelle Hanania