The Night of the Moles (Welcome to Caveland!)
In this new play, the audience is immersed in an allegorical world. A world inhabited by a family of giant moles, a fantastical bestiary, and other creatures belonging to a subterranean universe. This underground journey conveys an “ecosophical” message; it is a play in which the human perspective is offset by those of the inorganic and the animal, the living and mineral.
This new production could be a sequel to the Swamp Club saga, with the threatened arts centre moved underground, into a space which evokes at the same time a prehistoric grotto, a nuclear bunker and Plato’s cave. Linking with the great works of science fiction, Welcome to Caveland ! makes the theatre an utopian living space, in which dreaming is indissociable from the wakening of awareness; it tries to rediscover the deep roots of a collective poetic imagination, swated in philosophical myth.
After studying visual arts and spending around ten years working as a stage designer in theatres and for exhibitions, Philippe Quesne (1970) set up Vivarium Studio in 2003, bringing together actors, visual artists and musicians. He designs and stages shows that seek to develop a contemporary dramaturgy based on stage devices that are like workshops, a variety of “vivarium spaces” for studying human microcosms. The shows in their repertoire (La Démangeaison des ailes, 2004; Des Expériences, 2004; D’après Nature, 2006; L’Effet de Serge, 2007; La Mélancolie des Dragons, 2008; Big Bang, 2010 and Swamp Club, 2012) have been international co-productions and performed in several countries. In 2011 he created Pièce pour la technique du Schauspiel de Hanovre for the German theatre’s permanent technical team. In 2012, he was invited by the Pavillon at the Palais de Tokyo to create a stage form in collaboration with the ten artists and curators in residence. The same year, he contributed to HAU Berlin’s collective production based on the novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, with a specific creation at the Berlin Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene. In addition to this work, Philippe Quesne also devises performances and interventions in public spaces and natural sites, and exhibits installations during exhibitions. He has also published four short books: Actions en milieu naturel (2005), Petites réflexions sur la présence de la nature en milieu urbain (2006), Thinking about the end of the world in costume by the sea (2009) and Bivouac (2011). He is regularly invited to devise the artistic programming for events, notably the TJCC Festival at the Théâtre de Gennevilliers from 2012 to 2014. In 2013, he created Anamorphosis with four Japanese actors at the Komaba Agora Theatre in Tokyo, then Swamp Club, marking the company’s tenth anniversary. In 2014, he created Next Day, a piece for children aged between eight and eleven, at the Theater der Welt Festival in Mannheim, Germany with the production company CAMPO. Philippe Quesne has been co-director of the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers since January 2014, creating in collaboration with Bruno Latour and the team from SPEAP the Théâtre des Négociations. In January 2016, he premiered Caspar Western Friedrich at the Kammerspiele in Munich and in May will be premiering Welcome to Caveland! at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts.
Conception, direction, set design: Philippe Quesne
Performers: Yvan Clédat, Jean-Charles Dumay, Léo Gobin, Sébastien Jacobs, Erwan Ha Kyoon Larcher, Thomas Suire, Gaëtan Vourc´h
Dramaturgic collaboration: Léo Gobin, Lancelot Hamelin, Ismael Jude, Smaranda Olcese
Costumes Design: Corine Petitpierre, Anne Tesson (assistent)
Technical collaboration: Marc Chevillon, Yvan Clédat, Elodie Dauguet, Abigail Fowler, Thomas Laigle
Production: Nanterre-Amandiers – centre dramatique national
Supported by: Fondation d´entreprise Hermès programmi „New Settings“ raames
Co-production: steirischer herbst (Austria), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Belgium), Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (Switzerland), La Filature – Scène nationale (France), Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Germany), Théâtre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine (France), Kaaïtheater (Belgium), Centre d´art Le Parvis à Tarbes (France).
In collaboration with: Groupe de recherche Behavioral Objects (Samuel Bianchini koordineerimisel), l'École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris – Malaquais AAP (Art, Architecture, Politique) Atelier Jordi Colomer "Welcome to Caveland"
The project is co-produced by NXTSTP with the support of the European Union Culture Program.
Premiere: 06.05.2016 Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels