Thursday, January 21, 2016


Antoine Defoort is in France this week, at home with his kids.  His GERMINAL creation partner, Halory Goerger, however, is in Toronto with their other three cast members, plus their three technicians, presenting their internationally acclaimed creation, GERMINAL at WORLD STAGE at HARBOURFRONT CENTRE. The morning we spoke, his team was on the plane.

The show opened last night, and is here for the weekend, as part of the festival, before moving on to Usine-C in Montreal for four performances in early February.

Why isn't Defoort coming to Canada?

"Halory and I take turns.  Last week, I was in New York.  This week, Halory comes.  We both have kids."  I can hear his wry smile in his voice. Whatever you create comes with its own demands.

So is GERMINAL created on the spot?  "No, the text is fixed. We adapt (the performance) to the text, to the audience. But each night, we begin from scratch, with the void, in the black box."

GERMINAL is a piece about the process of creation.  It asks the question: " What would you do if you were to create the world from scratch?"

What provoked the creation of this play?  "Halory and I began a project: a conceptual box, an allegory of the genesis of human civilization. It didn't work.  So we said: what if we begin at the beginning: where does creation begin?"

Is this biblical?  "Oh, no!  There are certain elements that are in Genesis (the first book of the Old Testament in both the Torah and the Christian Bible) but we wanted to think more about the act of creation;  how do you create? Many sparks drew us. It takes many sparks to create."

GERMINAL was first created at the invitation of the prestigious Biennale du Danse in Lyon in 2012. 
"We were surprised: we work with text - and visuals."

Defoort trained as a visual artist and his partner, Goerger, comes from theatre. Their collective creations are a synthesis of their mutual interests and expertise in these areas, with equal weight given to both text and aesthetics.

Since its premiere in 2012, GERMINAL has been a critical success, going on to play at prestigious festivals including the Carrefour International de Theatre in Quebec City, and the Festival D'Avignon.

What  else does Defoort want to tell me about the show?  Not much!

"I don't want to ruin the surprise! We work to surprise you! I want the audience come to the work as we came to create this: blank, then, together, we can go with the flow. There's a lot of build in the piece."

After repeating this creation for several years now, I wonder if he is still surprised by the piece as a performer.

"Oh yes!  Working with the piece for so long has allowed us to acquire a deep knowledge of the text, of the rhythm. Now we can play it with more refinement.  You know, when it is live, it's always different every night because the audience is different, how you meet is different."

It's true. As a performer in live theatre, one is always exquisitely conscious of the attention and energy of the audience, of their level of engagement.  It's a very nuanced relationship.

"It went well in New York. We got a very nice review in the New York Times."

Indeed they did.  Having read it, I think it would be fair to say it was a rave.

I'm looking very forward to my surprise from Goerger, Defoort and company this weekend.

GERMINAL opens THE WORLD STAGE FESTIVAL at HARBOURFRONT CENTRE and continues until January 23, 2016 with nightly performances at 8:00 PM. or call (416) 973 4000. 
In Montreal for four performance from February 3-6 at USINE-C or 
(514) 521 4493 for tickets and information.

No comments:

Post a Comment