Every so often a small, unknown company takes an international festival by storm. Suddenly everyone seems to be asking, wide-eyed, “My God, have you seen…?” Such was the impact of Compagnie Non Nova on the Edinburgh Fringe 5 years ago and they’ve been touring the world ever since. Sounds like a must see. But how do you feel once it’s revealed that the question ends with the words: “…the plastic bag show?”
Many years ago Mallarme wrote the ‘greatest poem in French literature’, L’après-midi d’un faune which inspired Debussy to write the orchestral piece that represented the ‘birthplace of modern music’ which in turn inspired Nijinsky to create the very first work of modern dance. Now, armed only with a pun (“foehn” is a warm Mediterranean breeze), some sticky tape, fans and a pile of shopping bags a single puppeteer/magician seems literally to breathe life into the inanimate and adds another French masterpiece to the chain.
Your jaws and those of your young charges will go slack as the little plastic dancers flit, swirl and waltz on the rising currents of air. No strings. No tricks. Just a brilliantly conceived and planned improvisation that to believe… well, you must see!
For the audio version of this event page, click here.
It's extraordinary the grace and beauty which emerges from something which is usually seen as… a plague on the planet.
It is rare, as an adult and particularly as a regular theatregoer, to be truly knocked out with wonder, but Compagnie Non Nova achieve this feat with the least likely of materials.
Event additional information
Performed by Silvano Nogueira Artistic direction, choreography and scenography Phia Ménard
Soundtrack composition Ivan Roussel using Claude Debussy’s music. Lighting design Alice Ruest Wind design Pierre Blanchet Scenography design Phia Ménard Set construction Philippe Ragot, Rodolphe Thibaud and Samuel Danilo Sound master Olivier Gicquiaud Lighting technician Aurore Baudouin Stage manager and wind manager Manuel Menes Costumes and accessories Fabrice Ilia Leroy
Photo Jean-Luc Beaujault
Co-director, administration and production Claire Massonnet Technical direction Olivier Gicquiaud Production assistant Clarisse Merot Public relations Adrien Poulard Assistant touring coordinator Anaïs Robert
Coproductions and residencies with La Comédie de Caen, centre dramatique national de normandie (National Dramatic Centre of Normandy), and with « La Brèche » – (Circus Arts Center for Basse-Normandie) in Cherbourg. Coproduction with « Le Quai » in Angers (« EPCC-Le Quai, Angers et le réseau européen IMAGINE 2020 – Art et Changement Climatique »), with the multi-sited structure « Scènes du Jura » (« Jura Scenes »), with « La Halle aux Grains » - the national theatre of Blois, with the Jules Verne Circus - Regional Centre for Circus Arts in Amiens, with « le Grand T » the Loire-Atlantique subsidised performance space in Nantes, with the Théâtre Universitaire of Nantes, with « l’Arc » the subsidised performance space of Rezé, with Parc de la Villette in Paris, and with « La Verrerie » in Alès in the Cévennes/Pôle National des Arts du Cirque (National Center for Circus Arts) in Languedoc-Roussillon. Residency with « Les Subsistances » 2010/2011, in Lyon, France. With the support of the Théâtre de Thouars, a subsidised performance space in collaboration with the Cultural Services of Montreuil-Bellay, with « le Grand R » national theatre of La Roche-sur-Yon and with « Le Fanal », national theatre of Saint-Nazaire.
Non Nova is subsidised by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication – DRAC des Pays de la Loire, Nantes City Council, the Conseil Régional des Pays de la Loire, the Conseil Départemental de Loire-Atlantique, the Institut Français (France’s international cultural relations body) and the BNP Paribas Foundation. The company Non Nova / Phia Ménard is currently associated artist at l’Espace Malraux Scène Nationale in Chambery, at the «TNB, Centre Européen Théâtral et Chorégraphique de Rennes » and « companion-artist » at the Caen National Choreographic Centre in Normandy.