On stage are six middle-aged men, extraordinarily ordinary, men who have spent their lives working as civil servants, nurses, office clerks. Suddenly a deliciously faded transsexual appears to announce the closing of the Gardenia cabaret. It is immediately apparent that these men have been living a double life as cross-dressers gussied up as celebrities and movie stars. And then, just for us, to the music of Aznavour, Dalida and Ravel they dress in drag one last time and are transformed – falsies, fake eyelashes, glitter and gloss – plunging the spectator with heartrending generosity into a moving moment of humanity.
Trained in orthopedagogy (remedial education and therapy) as well as mime and dance, Alain Platel is also (since 1980) a self-taught choreographer and director, and in fact views each as indissociable from the other. The FTA previously presented two of his works, Iets op Bach (1999) and Allemaal Indiaan (2001).
A scriptwriter with successful television shows to his credit and also a director of theatre, opera and musical comedy (including an incredible Tintin et le temple du soleil), Frank Van Laecke combines his various approaches in a desire to create popular art devoid of demagogy.
les ballets C de la B / Dance of the Incompatible
Founded by Alain Platel in Ghent in 1984, les ballets C de la B (for ‘les ballets contemporains de la Belgique’) company has established an international reputation for innovative and original work on representations of the body and its interactions in contemporary society. Since its inception, the company has been associated with artists who not only come from different disciplines, but from artistic backgrounds that might appear at first glance to be incompatible. Like Alain Patel, choreographers such as Christine de Smedt, Koen Augustijnen and Lisi Estaras develop their own projects within the company, in a shared spirit of an openness to the world, thereby rejuvenatating performance.
“Nowhere has Gardenia stirred up more emotion than here in Avginon; there was a run on tickets and the reviews were raving as well.”
Le Monde, 14/07/2010
“Gardenia is a well-kept secret garden where gardening is fun, even though everyone knows roses have thorns.”
“At the conclusion of the performance, five hundred people jumped to their feet in a standing ovation with tears in their eyes and joy in their hearts. Gardenia, the melody of happiness, transsexual style.”
Le Temps, 12/07/2010
“Gardenia, mon amour and my loved ones, I would shout my thanks at the top of my lungs if it wasn’t for the lump in my throat.”
PRODUCED BY LES BALLETS C DE LA B
DIRECTED BY ALAIN PLATEL + FRANK VAN LAECKE BASED ON AN IDEA OF VANESSA VAN DURME CREATION AND PERFORMANCE GERRIT BECKER + GRIET DEBACKER + ANDREA DE LAET + RICHARD « TOOTSIE » DIERICK + TIMUR MAGOMEDGADZHIEV (REPLACED BY HENDRIK LEBON) + DANILO POVOLO + RUDY SUWYNS + VANESSA VAN DURME + DIRK VAN VAERENBERGH MUSIC STEVEN PRENGELS LIGHTING DESIGN KURT LEFEVRE SOUND DESIGN SAM SERRUYS SET DESIGN PAUL GALLIS COSTUME DESIGN MARIE LAUWERS
COPRODUCTION NT GENT + LA ROSE DES VENTS (VILLENEUVE D’ASCQ) + TORINODANZA + BIENNALE DE LA DANSE DE LYON + TANZ IM AUGUST (BERLIN) + THÉÂTRE NATIONAL DE CHAILLOT (PARIS) + BRIGHTON FESTIVAL + CENTRO CULTURAL VILA FLOR GUIMARÃES + LA BÂTIE-FESTIVAL DE GENÈVE + FESTIVAL D’AVIGNON WITH THE SUPPORT OF AUTORITÉS FLAMANDES + VILLE DE GAND + PROVINCE DE LA FLANDRE-ORIENTALE
PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH CARREFOUR INTERNATIONAL DE THÉÂTRE DE QUÉBEC
PREMIERED AT NT GENT (GHENT, BELGIUM) JUNE 2010
WRITTEN BY PAUL LEFEBVRE TRANSLATED BY NEIL KROETSCH
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES