29 May 2017

‘La Dernière saison’: Pure Plume in all its force!

"La Dernière saison" : du Plume à la puissance plume ! | Factuel.info (presse_lds) {PDF}
The final show of this company— founded in Besançon in 1983 — is a pure marvel of emotion and finesse. In Casamène for another fifteen days, the show is already sold-out through mid-June, at which point it will embark on a two-year tour, sometimes traveling quite far from Franche-Comté.

This is pure Plume in all its force! La Dernière saison is a show that is as joyous as it is surprising. Those who love the Franche-Comté troupe will find and recognize the inspiration, poetry, mischief, and quirky humor that have become the company’s trademark qualities— qualities that are without a doubt a strong part of its success these past three decades. We’re in familiar territory as feathers rain down onto the stage, as leaves fall, as dancers fly, and as acrobats dance to the sounds of a beguiling orchestra. But we jump right in, conquered yet again.

The final creation of the company, La Dernière saison offers a series of scenes of a rare evocative power. On stage during the entire piece, a hanging branch bothshowsand accentuates— depending on the light— a large canvas. The images on the backdrop go from the enchanting, nocturnal apparition of a sprite to paintings from the Far East. Such suggestions play with the obvious, with the elements, and with the seasons. Cowbells anticipate the arrival of a herd of musicians, horned and dressed in animals skins, barging in from behind the hill like Indians in anold Western movie, quickly giving way to a frenzied trance.

These are not clowns with red noses or oversized, flappy shoes. But that doesn’t stop them from having a few unruly gags stored in their suitcases or up their sleeves. A church prior finds himself like a wormbefore an austere face, a face that fleetingly emerges from what we believe for a half second to be a chador but shortly after drops from the wearer’s shoulders. Like so often happens in circus, morality is mocked, but so are those who are mocking, to the delight of children, whose recognizable laughter fills the audience.

Animals never feel too far away

The physical feats of Amanda Righetti, Analia Serenelli, and Xàvi Sanchez-Martinez draw admiration from both the young and the old, who are transported and moved as supple gestures meet melancholy melodies and soft-hued lights. Anaëlle Molinaro, a recently recruited contortionist, wins as many lip-biting laughs as she does hearts. She does everything for it all, from feigning ineptitude with a ski that ends up entangled between her legs, to making and unmaking incredible knots with her head and limbs.Retour ligne automatique
Humans might be the only ones on stage, but animals never feel very far away, from pasture cowbells to ostriches transforming into farmyard birds, up to the astonishing proposals of the “zoomorphic performer” Cyril Casmèze, who makes just as good a gorilla as he does a pig, before turning to the audience, perplexed, and crying, “Hey! What? You’ve ever seen a squirrel?”

We pass through fifty different states of being, going from one to another in an instant. The backdrop— a canvas by Charles Belle of the Rochejean forest— becomes at various times a screen, the sea, and a storm. A fantastical world morphs into a mystical scene. Santa Claus begins a standoff with Père Fouettard, who recites poetry by Verlaine. Figures carrying bundles of brushwood bring to mind Camille Pissarro’s Porteuses de Fagots. Retour ligne automatique
And music, always. From rock ballads to clowns drumming on suitcases at a masquerade ball where it all begins once again, where love is born out of a dance.Retour ligne automatique
This Dernière saison points to moments of nostalgia to come. It’s also the most moving show that Plume has ever given us.

Daniel Bordür