Actoral | Indian summer

What strikes when we arrive at the Festival Actoral, 16th of its kind, is the good mood, as if everyone had fun to be there, south … As if this moment of autumn announced the entry into the winter and that, like lizards, the Parisians – and others – came to breathe the air of Marseille benefited with carelessness … Bright idea, therefore, that of Hubert Colas to place his festival at this blessed period where the streets of Marseille still look like summer …

So for three weeks, all kinds of experiments will be able to take place in seventeen places of the city (and outside, with Martigues this year). Attempts ignoring the usual huts of dance or theater or music or visual arts … All this abolished to make room for the act of “new writings”. So, nothing happens as planned, a director can embark on a choreography and a visual artist, or associations to organize.

In this category, we have seen, in the framework of the joint program at SACD and at the festival “The Objects of Words”, “Languages ​​of Fire”, conceived and danced by Christian Ubl around a text by Lucie Depauw which relates a a gesture that marked history with a great H, that of Tarek Bouazizi, who, setting himself on fire, unleashed a revolt that would sign the end of a regime – that of Ben Ali – and announced nothing less than a revolution. Christian Ubl is the only one on stage, with the text said by the author in voiceover. Their work has been, at this stage, to try all the metaphors … That of the fire that ignites for a moment the scene, that of the devil who can not be outside this fatal blow, that of a symbolic image with these covers of survival (a kind of natural golden and silvery incandescence), but also literal, since it is in these blankets that the wounded are wound up, why not the burned ones. The floor is strewn with footprints and frees in the center a circle, that of the action … Gas canister on the back and text in the mouth, Christian Ubl will saturate the space of a fair ride, well seen, moving. His presence touches. We feel that the subject has particularly concerned. His own emotion is palpable. It adds to the fragility of the proposal still fresh and looking, but has everything to make a memorable solo.

The same can not be said of the very elaborate, very “thoughtful”, very conceptual proposal of Nadia Lauro and Antonija Livingstone “Heretical Studies 1-7”, which, despite all the care taken to remove our shoes to avoid that we did not convince the blue carpet of our dirty shoes, do not convince, even if, at first, this new age universe with trousers paws eph ‘very seventies could seduce. Very quickly, the aesthetics of the installation takes over and the lack of dramaturgy strikes … We pick up pretty quickly, with the persistent impression of listening to a scratched record … Everything comes back constantly, but instead of improving, this is exhausting, tired … Too bad, because the installation of Nadia Lauro is beautiful, made of these brushed metal plates forming a kind of book consisting of large sheets of gelatin transforming, depending on the angle, mirror.

Actoral does not stop at nothing, the festival has proposed to see the recent creation of Alain Platel – artist who is not, strictly speaking, to put away in the “latest novelties avant-garde” but who signs with ” Nicht Schlafen “(” Do not sleep “) a Mahlerian piece wish … We could say a lot, but, to evoke it with accuracy, we must quote in extenso the prodigious dancers who interpret it: Bérengère Bodin, Boule Mpanya, Dario Rigaglia, David Le Borgne, Elie Tass, Ido Batash, Roman Guion, Russell Tshiebua, Samir M’Kirech. For questions of sizing and out of respect for the notoriety of the author, we usually hesitate to do so, but it is clear that the choreographic quality of “Nicht Schlafen” is up to these pure inventors, and just look at the course – and the dance! – David Le Borgne, for example, to be convinced. There are a lot of them, if not everything, in this show. Then Steven Prengels, who collaborated with Platel for music, signs a soundtrack where we find Mahler, obviously: “Symphony No. 6” called “tragic”, “Symphony No. 2” called “of the Resurrection”, through “O Man”, “Death”, “Full of peace” … a bit of Bach – we are at Platel! -, live Congolese songs … all offering a diverse universe of improvisations for dancers, who do not deprive themselves. As a decoration, one recognizes at first glance the glaring sculptures of realism of the Flemish artist Berlinde De Bruyckere, whose work serves as a showcase for the scenic propositions that will succeed one another. We read that the attendance of the artist’s studio, where casts, skins and horse manes enthroned, influenced the way of dancing, “conceiving” and moving the troop; we want to believe it so much the passion, the runaway even overloads this work made fascinating by the only dancers, who, released in the last minutes, are exhausted to show us that NO, they do not sleep. They are not ready to do it. They shake us incessantly by waving images that have become almost banal in front of our TVs but which, seen so closely, are – must – reflect … So Alain Platel, always so skilful, knows how to let this squadron throw itself into these messages . He finishes everything with a staging where his eyes do not fail to adorn his new album of the usual signs that allow, since its inception, to set the audience, obviously won over by so many beauties arranged to please him.

In the Belgian program that sprinkles this edition, Actoral has offered to attend “The Common People”, a new iconoclastic proposal in the path of the young and talented Jan Martens … If, during these three times three hours, the 40 Marseillais gathered and trained for the occasion can attend meetings sometimes touching but often basic, we understand that after the worldwide success of “The Dog Days Are Over” (2014) the creator wished to return to the fundamentals of his research. Nevertheless, it is up to him to take care that the rumor – excellent – circulating after his very successful plays does not give a disappointing side to “The Common People”: it remains a proposal, although very “political”, not completely up to the his intelligence and that sometimes even seems laborious in the composition, with a fairly repetitive score. However, beautiful moments that can serve in the future for a future room!

Actoral also knows how to multiply the high points, the meeting times, and the fact that Théo Mercier is the godfather of this edition allowed us to admire his temporary exhibition in the magnificent Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseille (which it is imperative to visit if you are in this city!). Convincing. The flood of proposals – no less than 100 – will take us to October 15, barely enough time to regret not having seen Alexander Vantournhout, which everyone was talking about the evening of his performance, or the last installment of Michael Allibert and Jerome Grivel, to be followed (11-12 / 10/16).

Emmanuel Serafini