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The 7 Boards of TrickeryThe 7 Boards of Trickery

The 7 Boards of Trickery
(creation 2007)

Geometry is what inspires my work, most probably because the stage is first and foremost a space in which any form of action is subject to the laws of general mechanics. The stage is a place of fiction, where poetry is related to the dialogue between Man and space. Between what is human, and what is not. This is what led me to search geometry for a starting point to my work. It was also a way of moving my meeting with the Chinese artists onto neutral ground: mathematics, a major science in Chinese thought as well as Western culture.


A foreign land par excellence, for me going to China also meant going to the source of ancestral knowledge, more particularly in terms of the human body. As the oldest living civilisation, from the very outset China has seen the world as a whole, as indeed it also sees Man, with great importance given to the human body. Consequently, the actors who belong to the Beijing Opera use their entire bodies through dancing, acrobatics and singing. This acting versatility is also a quality I have always sought for in my own actors, new and old alike.

The game

Why the game? Here’s a definition I found on the Wikipedia website which seems quite apt: “A game is a way of representing the world. Thus, a game transposes systems of values or abstract formal systems into concrete objects. From this point of view, a game can be seen as a metaphor of the world, each game you play being a form of work of art.”


Photo © Jean Dieuzaide

The Seven Boards of Skill

I chose to draw my inspiration from Tangram, a Chinese game they call Qi Qiao Ban, which quite literally means The Seven Boards of Skill. The game, which goes back to antiquity, is a seven-piece puzzle, the numerous combinations of which are of great geometric interest. It could be said that the way these pieces have been cut contains the foundations of Chinese thought. It has strong metaphorical, recreational and emotional power.

Theatre tectonics

On stage, the pieces of the game become blocks. They slide against each other, rising to form mountains and towns and the opposing forces give rise to shapes suspended in unlikely equilibrium. Rifts, drops and breaches define Man’s position. The Seven Boards of Skill follow a tectonic movement, a slow yet inevitable movement, an ever-changing future that human beings activate but are also subjected to.

Aurélien Bory, April 2008

The visible shifts of the earth’s crust are the product of movements resulting from a reduction in our planet’s volume. They tend to break down in horizontal and vertical movements.

 Eduard Suess

The perfect number is one that excludes any idea of counting.

 Anonymous, Chinese, quoted by Paul Claudel


With  Sun Ruichen, Yu Yingchun, Ding Hong, Jiang Huimin, An Liming, Chen Jianhui, Liu Yu, Qu Aiguo, Tan Zuoliang, Li Liang, Wang Wentao, Zhang Deqiang, Che Hu, Zhang Benchuan.

Design, scenography and direction  Aurélien Bory
Artistic collaboration  Pierre Rigal
Direction assistants  Evita De Ayguavives, Hugues Cohen (alternately)
Light design Arno Veyrat
Music  Raphaël Wisson
Sound design  Stéphane Ley
Added musique  Arvo Pärt
Costume designer  Sylvie Marcucci
Technical scenery design  Pierre Dequivre and les ateliers de la Fiancée du pirate
Head maker  Arnaud Lucas
Patina  Emily Battersby, Charlotte Delion, Charles Martel
General technic  Arno Veyrat
Sound technic  Joël Abriac
Light engineer François Dareys
Head of Production  
Florence Meurisse
Production manager 
Clément Séguier-Faucher
Press Plan Bey Agency

DELEGATED PRODUCTION UNTIL JUNE 30TH 2010  Scène de la Terre – Jean-Luc Larguier
PRODUCTION OF THE RESUMPTION IN 2015  Compagnie 111 – Aurélien Bory

COPRODUCTION OF THE REALISATION IN 2007  Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, Direction de la Culture – Ville de Dalian, Equinoxe – Scène nationale de Châteauroux.
Residence  Scène nationale de Sénart
With the support of Ministère de la culture/Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées, Région Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées, Ville de Toulouse, Institut Français.

Help to the resumption in 2015  Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS