Writers that collaborate with Complicite;
Eugene Ionesco(1912-1994) the father of "theater of the absurd" was born in
Romania and grew up in France. Ionesco was a fervent believer in human
rights and a long-time foe of political tyranny. Ionesco rejected the
logical plot, character development, and thought of traditional drama,
instead creating his own anarchic form of comedy to convey the
meaninglessness of modern man's existence in a universe ruled by chance.
Complicte produced ÂThe ChairsÂ by Ionesco in 1997-98 and hereÂs a quote
from Simon McBurney, the director of the production: ÂFor weeks we were
terrified that the piece would not work, would not be in the least bit
funny. So we had to approach it as if it in total seriousness. Looking to
make what was apparently meaningless as clear as an instruction manual to a
lawnmower. That is what the material needed, that kind of textual attention.
Out of the absurd mire of Ionesco's language we had to painstakingly unearth
a sober sense before we could then let ourselves loose on the ridiculous,
and transform it once more. We had to find a common language with Ionesco,
which could be transformed into theatre.Â
"Theatre de Complicite ignore frontiers and cross them without official
papers" - John Berger
John Berger, born in London in 1926, has been involved in many different
aspects of theatre and filmmaking since he graduated from the Central School
of Art and the Chelsea School of Art in London.
He has written four novels, is a playwright, documentary writer, art
critic/historian and artist, having taught painting after graduating from
1948 to 1955.
One of his best known books is "Ways of Seeing", an art book focusing on
art, society and culture and the differences in gender stereotypes, and was
later turned into a BBC television series. Berger is very interested in
critical theories, art and society and he has been an extremely important
figure within the Complicite theatre company since it was founded.
From the quote above, it is clear that he is inspired by Complicite's fresh,
daring and breakthrough theatrical style and his collaborations have
resulted in much success and amazing theatre.
He has lived in the French Alps for the last twenty years and remains
fascinated by the traditions and the endangered way of life of the mountain
people, and has written about them in both his fiction and non-fiction
In the 1930s Schulz wrote (in Polish) and illustrated the two books of
linked stories on which his reputation rests: Cinnamon Shops, which is
sometimes titled The Street of Crocodiles, and Sanatorium Under the Sign of
the Hourglass.he considered storytelling central to human life ("The most
fundamental function of the spirit is inventing fables, creating tales"),
his own stories are not simple. No one ever called their appeal universal.
"Poetry happens," he explained, "when short-circuits of sense occur." His
work is full of crossed wires, wild fantasies colliding with humble
This is how literature works, Bruno Schulz said: it sinks deep into the
unconscious, searching for hidden myths, buried memories, childhood dreams.
Down there, at the bottom of the mind, it discovers how we are made, why we
do what we do. "The artist," he wrote, "is an apparatus for registering
processes in that deep stratum where values are formed." Those processes are
acted out in The Street of Crocodiles, a now-legendary production by the
Theatre de Complicite of London, which opens July 30 at the Premiere Dance
Theatre in Toronto.
Since 1992 the Theatre de Complicite has been touring the world with The
Street of Crocodiles, adapted by the artistic director, Simon McBurney. The
Complicite players are natural Schulz interpreters. Like him, they
transmogrify life, grotesquely changing forms and appearances. In 1996 they
brought to Canada apiece based on a John Berger story about peasants, The
Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol; it demonstrated that they see visual reality as
unstable, the way Schulz sees narrative reality. How many companies require
their actors to impersonate, for instance, a ploughed field? They raise
acting-class exercises to the level of magical art.
By susie, tamar, charlie
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