Based on the original story "Der Teich" ("The Pond") by Robert Walser. Played in English.
Adaptation of an early work by the Swiss writer Robert Walser, L'Etang (The Pond, der Teich) reveals an intricate tale of filial love by distributing the roles between two actresses, Adèle Haenel and Ruth Vega Fernandez.
L’Etang is a family drama that stands out from the rest of Robert Walser's work (1878–1956): it is a private text that the young writer had offered to his sister and the only one that he ever wrote in Swiss German. L’Etang is the story of a boy who feels unloved by his mother and, at the lowest point of his despair, pretends to commit suicide in order to see her love for him one last time. What are the real issues here? What is being played out between the lines and on stage? What are the different levels of language, from narrative to words, whether formulated or not, which make up our perception, our understanding and our exchanges? These questions—which have long been at the heart of Gisèle Vienne's work—create mise en abymes through Robert Walser’s text and the staging strategy: Adèle Haenel and Ruth Vega Fernandez embody one and two characters respectively while lending their voices to the others. Several levels of perception of reality and temporality, interiority and exteriority coexist.
In examining the conventions of the theater and the family, L’Etang notably raises the question of the shared representation of reality, the social norm, and what we see, while shaking up its essential aspects.
This piece is created in memory of Gisèle Vienne's long-time collaborator, actress Kerstin Daley Baradel, who died in July 2019, and with whom, in collaboration with the team, she had developed this work so intimately.
Gisèle Vienne is a franco-austrian artist, choreographer and director. After graduating in Philosophy, she studied at the puppeteering school Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette. She works regularly with the
writer Dennis Cooper, among others.
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 and Crowd (2017). In 2020, she created with Etienne Bideau-Rey a fourth version of Showroomdummies at the
Rohm Theater Kyoto, originally created in 2001.
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. With Dennis Cooper, Peter
Rehberg and Jonathan Capdevielle she published two books : JERK / Through Their Tears and 40 PORTRAITS 2003-2008, in collaboration with Dennis Cooper and Pierre Dourthe in February 2012. Her work has led to various
publications and the original music of her shows to several albums.
Her latest show L’Etang (The Pond) based on Robert Walser’s play Der Teich was created in November 2020 at the TNB in Rennes.
For more information please visit: http:// www.g-v.fr.
L’Etang was created in residency in November 2020 at Théâtre National de Bretagne, Rennes
Based on the original story Der Teich (The Pond) by Robert Walser
Conception, direction, scenography, dramaturgy Gisèle Vienne
Performed by Adèle Haenel and Ruth Vega Fernandez
Lights Yves Godin
Sound design Adrien Michel
Music direction Stephen F. O'Malley
Original music Stephen F. O’Malley & François J. Bonnet
Tour assistant Sophie Demeyer
Outside eye Dennis Cooper & Anja Rottgerkamp
French translation Lucie Taïeb
From the german translation by Händl Klaus and Raphael Urweider (éd. Suhrkamp Verlag, 2014)
Collaboration to the scenography Maroussia Vaes
Conception of puppets Gisèle Vienne
Creation of puppets Raphaël Rubbens, Dorothéa Vienne-Pollak and Gisèle Vienne in collaboration withThéâtre National de Bretagne
Stage Set Production Nanterre-Amandiers CDN
Set and accessories Gisèle Vienne, Camille Queval and Guillaume Dumont
Costumes Gisèle Vienne, Camille Queval and Pauline Jakobiak
Wig and make-up artist Mélanie Gerbeaux
Technical manager Richard Pierre
Sound engineer Mareike Trillhaas and Adrien Michel
Light manager Iannis Japiot and Samuel Dosière
Stage manager Antoine Hordé
Performance created in collaboration with Kerstin Daley-Baradel
Special thanks Etienne Bideau-Rey, Nelson Canart, Zac Farley, Erik Houllier, Tristan Lahoz, César Van
Looy, Jean-Paul Vienne.
Production and distribution Alma Office: Anne-Lise Gobin, Alix Sarrade, Camille Queval & Andrea Kerr
Administration Etienne Hunsinger & Giovanna Rua