À chaque ventre son monstre
THE MONSTER WITHIN – From the fantastical monsters of our childhood to the little vices and cruelties that dwell in us, at what point does the human end and the monster begin? Does such a clear line exist?
Our collaboration was born of friendship, amplified by a desire to ask questions together. How, in writing, can space be left for the body, and how, in singing, can more space be left for the text? By ceasing the pitting of language against instinct, human against animal, the everyday against the imaginary, we came to work on the monster as a figure that was shape-shifting, fluctuating, and essentially human.
The desire to solicit the participation of the soloists and members of Ensemble Paramirabo became apparent very early in the creative process. We asked them to share a personal “monster” with Françoise, to reveal a personal trait that they found distasteful and were not proud – an experience that took on the anonymous characteristics of a bottle tossed out to sea, since Françoise lives several thousand kilometers away and had never met the musicians. Their confessions became the base materials, the feelings and words to be fleshed out. Sometimes exaggerated, sometimes remaining quite close to the original confessions, these private monsters were then redistributed amongst the musicians by Gabriel – he had no idea who had divulged what and he still doesn’t, nor does anyone else.
The show’s text-setting and dramaturgy were two inseparable steps. Gabriel, inspired by the stage presence, creativity, and virtuosity of the musicians, wanted in turn to inspire them to go beyond themselves in a demanding staging that laid things bare: an approach on the cusp between a detailed score and improvisation involving not only the musicians’ creative input but their total commitment. If we have created a monster, it is thanks to them that it lives, and because of our designers – Nancy, Karine, and Solène – that it has such a grotesquely irresistible form this evening!
On stage, there are nine bodies. The voice resonates, within and without. It slips from one mouth to the next, makes it possible for the beast, slumbering, waking, to express itself, fully or reluctantly. Sing. Scream. Murmur. Coo. Spew. Gulp. The creature voiced by the performers is sometimes selfish, other times shamed, ridiculous, funny or violent; it is always familiar in the pain it awakens.
From belly to belly, the monster isn’t so different. From belly to belly, it lays low, hushed, waiting. But not here. Here, the monster is growling.
Music: Gabriel Dharmoo
Texts: Françoise Major
Artistic Direction: Jeffrey Stonehouse, Ensemble Paramirabo
Performers: Ensemble Paramirabo
Staging: Solène Paré
Sound: Jean-François Blouin
Artistic Advisor: Lorraine Vaillancourt
Make-up: Christos Darlasis
Noise Opera by Gabriel Dharmoo
Texts: Françoise Major
2. Monster Under the Bed
6. Like Kali but Blond
8. The Good Guy
9. Deep Down
10. Make Fannie Cry
11. Noise Trio
12. I’m Ashamed
13. The Art of the Crime