The Shonen company presents _P/\RC_, an extraordinary show and the creator of a new space

With _P/\RC_ _, the Shonen company led by Eric Minh Cuong Castaing invents a new space on the extended stage of the Théâtre du Châtelet. Throwback to an impressive dress rehearsal.

A dance that opens up possibilities

We were lucky enough to be able to attend the dress rehearsal, the day before the premiere, of this special and fascinating show in its way of approaching the representation of the disabled body.

Eric Minh Cuong Castaing has led the Shonen company since 2007, a company whose goal is to create around new technologies and question the representation of bodies in the 21st century. For this commission from the Théâtre du Châtelet in collaboration with the Théâtre de la Ville, there are actually not only bodies “present” on stage. Tele-presence robots are also integrated into the choreography, for participants who cannot move. However, we can clearly see that during the performance these dancers are actually there on stage in the same way as the others, hence the use of quotation marks around the word “present”.

In this choreography created with Aloun Marchal, Eric Minh Cuong Castaing transforms the Théâtre du Châtelet stage into an inclusive and liberating park for these disabled children, some of whom cannot walk alone. Thus, able-bodied dancers help them, carry them and create with them, always listening to their expectations and wishes, to create a moment of dance in symbiosis. The question then inevitably arises about the place of the spectator, and how to prevent the spectator from becoming a voyeur.

A new virtuosity

The interview with the choreographer in the show’s booklet is therefore necessary to understand the entire creative process, naturally carried out in collaboration with the care structures and caregivers who take care of the child dancers. Eric Minh Cuong Castaing confirms that the issue of pleasure is essential in the production of the show to always take into account the children and their consent. He explains: “They are aware of being watched, without however developing our theories related to the question of representation. But when we are touched by their dances, when we applaud them, the joy is visible and takes on meaning in the precise context of the performance .”

In fact, the children’s joy can be felt in front of the public and during the applause. Also during the dance, the healthy adults are aware of the young people’s wishes and magnificent moments are born through this physical meeting. The idea is not to bring the dancers back to normality, but to create a new “virtuosity”, in the words of the choreographer, which emphasizes this fragility in the body and claims it as a wealth to perceive a unique and free.

The robot question

One of the dancers, older than the others and already a performer and researcher under the pseudonym No Anger, also talks about his work process with this show and his use of the robot. She shares her misgivings when asked by Eric Minh Cuong Castaing, but also how she appropriated the robot so that it truly allowed her to be present on stage. “I lend him my voice and my feelings; in turn, the robot increases my body’s capabilities; in this hand-to-hand combat with the machine, I do not disappear. »

On stage, the dance of the robots, between robots or with others, is beautiful and creates an unprecedented movement that does not erase any of the humanity of those who perform this choreography.

The Shonen company carries with _P/\RC__ a truly precious and innovative show that offers active participation to the spectator and invites him to enter this park to come out with new perspectives.

The show is to be seen at the Théâtre du Châtelet on the weekend of October 1 and 2. For more information, click here.

Visuals: ©Cha Gonzalez

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