Compagnie Dos à Deux

Aux Pieds de la Lettre

The expresiveness of gesture

To speak of gestural theatre is to entertain a paradox, for this artistic genre uses the body and its movement to tell the story.

Akin to contemporary dance in creating a vocabulary from which to build a language of the body, yet different in its technique of inhabiting and articulating movement, this language encourages the development of a theatrical game, at once both organic and lyrical. Gestural theatre creates a drama through the bodies of the characters, free from the detail of intention and circumstance.

Artur RIBEIRO and Andre CURTI, self-described “Movers of Theatre”, reinvent for each production a gestural language particular to the chosen theme and its characters.

Contrary to theatrical tradition, corporeal actors/actors of the body know nothing of the story in advance or even the role that they will play. Beginning with theatrical and gestural improvisations they gradually build the drama, thus avoiding the elaboration of second-hand narratives.

They weave together images, movements, spatial relationships, bodily contortions, colours...Then they name/distil/refine. Little by little, the theme and finally the gestural scenario reveal themselves

This approach makes clear several pivotal features of the dramatic structure : musicality, the actor’s physicality, playfulness, musical composition, control of the body
and of things...

Musicality has a critical role to play in the relationship between theatrical writing and choreography. It’s about finding the right music and naturally expressing its
rhythms through movement and posture. Silence and sound add to the building of a sophisticated gestural score.

Objects are also involved in the precision of this musicality. The artists’ universe is teeming with small items that serve to prolong or direct the action of the characters.

These object-props - some chairs in Dos a deux and a converting table from Aux Pieds de la Lettre - become part of the scenery, part of the discourse between the
two characters, creating necessary thresholds for the Body Actors.

A setting wherein items are often displaced from their ordinary context and become the basis for an assembly of theatrical adventures.

Gesture is also torn from realism and, in so doing, is enriched by its very separateness. The carrying and control of the body of The Other are, in the end, the
prolongation of the dramatic arc and of this genre of stylisation. To carry oneself, to convey oneself, to raise oneself up... techniques where one is the ground for the other, plays with gravity, weight-defying, an invitation to touch and listen.

From the interior rhythm of the narrative, from the characters and from the story, the music further distils the atmospheric thrust of the piece. The music plays counterpoint to the gestural script : a pairing of recorded music and the music of movement that exaggerates contrasts and draws out the emotions.

Through their unique artistic process, Artur RIBEIRO and André CURTI create sequestered universes, poetic and timeless.

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