L’apres midi d’un Foehn-Version 1: An interview with Company Non Nova

This week the Studio will be filled with life as plastic bags transform from everyday inanimate objects to living, breathing members of Company Non Nova’s ensemble. We caught up with the company to find out about the inspiration behind their beautiful piece.

Photograph by Jean-Luc Beaujault

Photograph by Jean-Luc Beaujault

Can you tell me a little about the show? What can people expect from their evening?

This is a piece of choreography for puppets and their puppeteer, a ventilation system and a few props; plastic bags, a coat, a pair of scissors, a roll of sticky tape, a walking stick and an umbrella.

Accompanied by the notes of Claude Debussy’s three musical works: Afternoon of a Faune, Nocturnes and Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea, a ballet mistress creates a piece of choreography performed by plastic dancers, propelled into currents of air. Without needing to touch them, or barely even brush against them, the freedom of their movement makes the puppets seem more and more human by the second, the air streaming through them like blood flow. Through the manipulation of the plastic bags, their evolution and their transformation, a relationship develops between progenitor and puppet. This is where the adventure starts. We witness fortuitous encounters dictated by thermal phenomena, an étoile ballet dancer is born before our very eyes, there’s a pas de deux here, a burst of fireworks there, and further down the track a monster may be lurking…

This piece is for children (from 5 years up) and their parents or grand-parents !

The shows origins are inspired by the silence and stillness of wild animals assembled in the Evolution of Species gallery in the Natural History Museum. Can you talk a little about the creative process behind the journey from this stimulus to where you are now?

I began this research with an experiment of the wind in the direction of draft to move a subject. I worked with the ice before, and I wanted to make blocks move themselves by drafts. By means of research I arrived at the vortex generated by six ventilators. The plastic arrived as the material offering several senses of reading and application: lightness, its easy transformation and its place in our societies and especially the object of the society of the oil.

Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to use plastic bags in your piece?

Plastic evokes dustbins, trash cans, petrol, oil, consumerism, pollution … things which encumber and ultimately spoil our lives, but which take form in such banal, over-used forms, that we don’t even see them anymore. Plastic is so present in our lives that it no longer seems artificial.

You’ve experienced sell out success with this show, how does audience reaction differ from venues/locations and has that informed the evolution of the piece?

The moments of magic are and will stay those of an action on independence and freedom, here the action of the wind on materials blows up. In every representation, new reactions unexpected come to remind me the magic of an interaction so simple : some plastic  and the wind.

L’apres midi d’un Foehn-Version 1
16-17 Oct
Bristol Old Vic Studio

2pm, 6.30pm, (8.30pm Fri only)
£12/£7 (plus booking fee)

We are working in partnership with Circomedia for this event.

@bristololdvic  #ballerinabags
facebook.com/bristololdvic

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