Photo © Aglaé Bory
Created in September 2005 at Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (Switzerland)
With Olivier Alenda, Aurélien Bory, Pierre Cartonnet, Julien Cassier, Mélanie Chartreux (change of cast instead of Sodadeth San since 2007), Nicolas Lourdelle (change of cast instead of either Julien Cassier, or Aurélius Lorenzi since 2007)
And backstage Tristan Baudoin, Stéphane Ley, Frédéric Stoll, Arno Veyrat
Conception, Scenography Aurélien Bory
Direction Phil Soltanoff
Light designer Arno Veyrat
Artistic consultant Hanne Tierney
Composer Olivier Alenda, Julien Cassier, Phil Soltanoff
Additional music Ryoji Ikeda
Sound engineer Stéphane Ley
Stage Tristan Baudoin, Frédéric Stoll
Video Aurélien Bory, Pierre Rigal, Arno Veyrat
Technical conception of sets Pierre Dequivre
In charge of set Thomas Beimowski
Set construction Atelier de la Fiancée du Pirate, Atelier du Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
Patina Isadora de Ratuld
Costume designer Sylvie Marcucci
Stage manager Arno Veyrat
Administration, production, booking Florence Meurisse, Delphine Justumus
Production Compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory
Coproduction TNT - Théâtre national de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne E.T.E, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, Les Gémeaux - Scène nationale de Sceaux, La Coursive - Scène nationale de La Rochelle, Agora - Scène conventionnée de Boulazac, Equinoxe - Scène nationale de Châteauroux, TnBA - Théâtre national de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, London International Mime Festival - Londres, Le Carré magique - Scène conventionnée de Lannion-Trégor
Thanks to Théâtre Garonne - Toulouse, à la Gare aux Artistes - Montrabé
With the support of Ministère de la Culture - DMDTS, Convention Culturesfrance / Ville de Toulouse
Compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory is under agreement with Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Direction Régionale Affaires Culturelles Midi-Pyrénées, Region Midi-Pyrénées, and benefits from the support from City of Toulouse and Conseil Général de la Haute-Garonne.
Compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory benefits from the support from Fondation BNP Paribas for the development of its projects.
from September 2005 to May 2010
LAUSANNE (Suisse) Création Théâtre Vidy-L 23 septembre > 7 octobre 2005
TOULOUSE TNT - Théâtre national de Toulouse 13 > 28 octobre 2005
SCEAUX Les Gémeaux - Scène nationale 7 > 11 décembre 2005
LONDRES (GB) Queen Elizabeth Hall - London Mime Festival 11 > 13 janvier 2006
BOULAZAC Agora - Scène conventionnée 19 > 20 janvier 2006
LA ROCHELLE La Coursive - Scène nationale 24 > 25 janvier 2006
BORDEAUX Théâtre national de Bordeaux-Aquitaine 1er > 4 février 2006
LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg) Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg 17 > 18 février 2006
CHATEAUROUX Equinoxe - Scène nationale 10 > 11 mars 2006
REIMS Le Manège - Scène nationale 15 > 17 mars 2006
ANNECY Bonlieu – Scène nationale 22 > 23 mars 2006
LANNION Le Carré magique - Scène conventionnée 7 > 9 avril 2006
HAMBOURG (Allemagne) Kampnagel - Laokoon festival 23 > 26 août 2006
GRENOBLE MC2 - Maison de la Culture 18 > 21 octobre 2006
BARCELONE (Espagne) Mercat de les Flores - Festival Neo 10 > 11 novembre 2006
TARBES Le Parvis - Scène nationale 21 novembre 2006
PORTO (Portugal) Teatro Rivoli 6 > 7 décembre 2006
LISBONNE (Portugal) CCB - Centro cultural de Belém 13 > 17 décembre 2006
FARO (Portugal) Teatro Municipal 21 > 22 décembre 2006
BERLIN (Allemagne) Admiralspalast - Saison française à Berlin 14 > 16 mars 2007
SETE Théâtre - Scène nationale 11 > 12 janvier 2007
DOLE Scène du Jura 21 > 22 mars 2007
DOUAI Hippodrome - Scène nationale 29 > 31 mars 2007
VALENCIENNES Le Phénix - Scène nationale 5 > 7 avril 2007
PARIS Théâtre de la Ville 19 > 26 avril 2007
TOULOUSE TNT - Théâtre national de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées 25 > 29 septembre 2007
DUNKERQUE Le Bateau feu - Scène nationale 11 > 13 octobre 2007
AMIENS Maison de la culture 17 > 18 octobre 2007
SARTROUVILLE Théâtre - CDN 16 > 17 avril 2008
SEVILLE (Espagne) Teatro Central 3 > 4 mai 2008
BELGRADE (Serbie) Ouverture Festival BITEF 15 > 16 septembre 2008
SOFIA (Bulgarie) Ouverture Sofia Dance Week 22 septembre 2008
VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY L’Onde 10 > 11 octobre 2008
ORLEANS Le Carré Saint-Vincent - Scène nationale 16 > 17 octobre 2008
DUSSELDORF (Allemagne) Schauspielhaus - Internationales Tanzfestival
NRW 3 Wochen mit Pina Bausch 15 novembre 2008
MULHOUSE La Filature - Scène nationale 2 > 6 décembre 2008
QUIMPER Théâtre de Cornouaille - Scène nationale 19 > 20 mai 2010
UTRECHT (Pays-Bas) Festival A/D Werf 28 > 29 mai 2010
Journal du Théâtre de la Ville
by Philippe Noisette, March-April 2007
A simple line
Plus ou moins l'infini -the last show put on by Compagnie 111 to date and directed by Aurélien Bory- closes a subtle trilogy begun several years earlier with the exploration of "volume" with IJK, then the "plane" with Plan B. Plus ou moins l'infini is simply concerned with the "line". A line which according to the mathematical equation, can be defined as extending on one side towards – infinity and on the other towards + infinity. According to Aurélien Bory, "this trilogy takes place in a so-called "space theatre" in which there is a strong complicity between place and subject. As far as I'm concerned, the theatre is the art of space par excellence. Through these shows we have sought to explicit their dimensions." On a more general level, Aurélien Bory touches on the space in which we live and the other tenuous link between Man and his surroundings. He quotes Mladen Materic, the stage director he trained with, who held that "space is stronger than anything else". What is true for an actor is also true of Man in a relationship of interdependence. Both obviously end up wanting to escape to conquer new territories.
A dazzling sight
This state of affairs is quite obvious in Plus ou moins l'infini directed by the American Phil Soltanoff in which the artists present on the stage have turned evasion into a major art. They disappear into the wings, towards the courtyard or garden and even –a dazzling sight indeed– under the stage. The vocabulary unveiled here has necessarily been borrowed from juggling or acrobatics as performed by supporters of the new circus: like some Compagnie 111 actors Aurélien Bory trained at the Lido Centre des Arts du Cirque in Toulouse. Yet the approach of Compagnie 111 goes far beyond that: thus, throughout the entire show, sticks of different sizes impose their collusive presence on Compagnie 111, to be "hung on" and "played" with. The labour of bodies practically always in a state of weightlessness could be seen as choreography.
But what Aurélien Bory is possibly most proud of is the idea of kinetic theatre.
The spectator in a state of surprise
"We did initially question the meaning of the "line" and how to deal with that question metaphorically. Between infinity and our thirst for the absolute this time line never ends -unlike our own lives-. With this kinetic reference, as with Oskar Schlemmer's Schaubühne (1) or Op-art (2), the spectator is put in a state of surprise, unable to recognise a shape he has already seen.
"Robert Owen (20th century utopian socialist) said that "to see is to forget the name of whatever one is looking at". In a way I had that in mind" explains Aurélien Bory. Thus, strictly speaking, are categories erased – circus, dancing, acting. The complicity of Phil Soltanoff, the director of Mad dog, an experimental theatre company, already the stage director for Plan B, is exemplary in this sense. Plus ou moins l'infini is an all-round show in which the original music, acrobatics and theatre respond to each other in a never-ending ballet. "The way Phil and I collaborated was rich in exchanges worthy of a research theatre. From the light choreography to the perfecting of the scenography, we never ceased to stimulate our senses", says Aurélien Bory. Enthusiasm is one of his greatest fortes: Aurélien Bory reiterates his circus origins, as a juggler to be more precise- following studies in Physics, a diploma in movies, and training in architectural acoustics. "Our trilogy has been imagined by a circus man, but is in keeping with the idea of versatility that is dear to Vsevolod Emilevitch Meyerhold, a Russian theatre man." For the latter, an actor in action or a "doing" actor therefore extends his possibilities on stage. "And he did indeed love circus artists", adds Aurélien Bory.
Minimalist poetry, an approach to the marvellous that is often very modern
Plus ou moins l'infini, contains more or less implicit references to the 20s, those of Constructivism, from Bauhaus to... Buster Keaton: a combination of talents doubtlessly never equalled since. But the viewer will also discover minimalist poetry, an often very modern approach to the wonderful, with a veiled reference to video games: the living matter of the theatre, circus and dancing brought together in a summary. This infinity, which is open to all currents of artistic creation and born along by a very talented team (Aurélien Bory, Olivier Alenda, Pierre Cartonnet, Julien Cassier, Aurélius Lorenzi and Sodadeth San) is an enchanting horizon.
1 Bauhaus visual artist who saw the theatre as the art of space.
2 Op-art, or kinetic art is a term used to describe a certain form of painting that began in the 60s, exploiting the fallibility of sight through optical illusions.
by Aurélien Bory, January 2006
Plus ou moins l’infini is a kinetic play with movement as its main axis. This necessity is the result of its subject, which is the "line", the very nature of which is movement, as a line is a direction that can be followed either way. This necessity is also the result of the axioms of the trilogy: the permanent movements of objects set in motion by the actor alone, and the movements of the actor himself as the main source of action. Whereas IJK was mainly based on juggling and Plan B on acrobatics, Plus ou moins l'infini combined both, only to erase them and use only their potential: movement which is constantly opposed to its contrary: immobility. This tension between immobility and movement, which is present throughout the play, reflects our relationship to time and space. Everything is in movement yet nothing appears to move.
Plus ou moins l’infini is a show about limits. The universe is in movement as life is in movement yet we only know the beginning of the story. It was important in Plus ou moins l'infini to evoke the limit or end. A limit is a notion that opposes that of infinity. Furthermore, Plus ou moins l'infini is the opus and therefore the limit of the trilogy. It is also located on the border of the arts unfolding on stage, without seeking to define itself further.
Plus ou moins l’infini explores the relationship between Man and space, or more exactly Man's body in relation to space. And it's this body, which is felt to be a limit or obstacle, that's the issue. Plus ou moins l'infini tells of the body's self-effacement or on the contrary, its extension. Both belong to the same movement. Could it not be said that images, long-distance communication and the probes that we send out into space are all extensions of our own bodies?
This crossroad of the senses and combinations creates a network that can be interpreted in several ways. There are as many points of convergence and ramifications as in the play of lines in Schlemmer's concept of space. The idea of a network also converges with that of the original structure of space, where matter and light merge as one. Furthermore the evocation of artificial, electronic and undulatory networks is very present in the subject. Most of the music is made up of sounds made by a fax machine. This approach reflects our creative process, which is based on research and experimentation, which is to choose a point and extend it to infinity.
Man's relationship to space is also present in the title: Plus ou moins l'infini (More or less, infinity). "More or less" being on Man's side and "infinity" being on the side of space. "What is humanity?" asked Jean-Luc Godard after the show. His answer was "it is a curve of infinite length at all points except one, where it is non-existent." The curve being that of Laurent Schwartz, French mathematician awarded the Fields medal.