Philippe Quesne / Vivarium Studio

Philippe Quesne / Vivarium Studio, Paris
“Swamp Club”
German premiere

Swamp Club

Swamp Club

© Martin Argyroglo

  • Length 2h, no interval
  • In several languages

Past Dates

Artist talk
2 July following the performance

An improvised amusement park in a deserted snowy landscape, explorers in potted plant jungles that re-enact the Big Bang, or a thirty-year-old playing in his apartment with a toy car that draws circles with a sparkler. Fantastic, simple images such as these have earned Philippe Quesne, the visual artist and set designer, the reputation of being a great theatre magician, in the tradition of Robert Lepage – with the difference that Quesne’s magic is created using simple means. Stage plays such as “L’effet de Serge”, “La Mélancholie des Dragons” or “Big Bang” that move between subtle comedy and off-the-wall humour have established the French director as a favourite guest at European theatre festivals. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of his Vivarium Studio – the consortium of actors, dancers, musicians and his dog Hermès that the 42-year-old founded in 2003 in Paris – Quesne once more corrals his polyglot performers to tell us about a rather useless cultural centre stuck in the backwoods. “Swamp Club” is an urban fairy-tale set in the eerily peaceful environment of a lonely swamp peopled by odd creatures, insects and sounds. One building has endured – the cultural centre. The performers are the artists in residence of his Swamp Club. A silent old man is the host and curator. He receives people from countries like Poland and Iceland as well as a chamber orchestra. As so often happens, this centre for the arts is threatened by a municipal construction project that would spell its destruction. The Swamp Club must defend itself.

Conceived, directed and designed by Philippe Quesne
Artistic and technical co-operations Yvan Clédat, Cyril Gomez-Mathieu
Costumes Corine Petitpierre
Photography Martin Argyroglo
Technical director Marc Chevillon
Assistant to the technical director Thomas Laigle
Directing assistance Marie Urban

Isabelle Angotti, Snæbjörn Brynjarsson, Yvan Clédat, Cyril Gomez-Mahtieu, Ola Maciejewska, Émilien Tessier, Gaëtan Vourc’h and the Paladi Quartett

A production of the Vivarium Studio in co-production with Wiener Festwochen, Théâtre de Gennevilliers – Centre Dramatique National de création contemporaine (Paris), Festival d’Automne à Paris, Berliner Festspiele / Foreign Affairs, Festival d’Avignon, Le Forum / Scène conventionnée de Blanc-Mesnil, La Ménagerie de Verre (Paris), Kaaitheater (Brussels), La Filature Scène nationale de Mulhouse, Kampnagel Hamburg, Festival Theaterformen (Braunschweig / Hanover), Festival La Bâtie – Festival de Genève.
With support of Centre chorégraphique national de Montpellier Languedoc Roussillon and EMPAC – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute / the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and the Performing Arts (Troy, USA).

The company is supported by DRAC Île de France (French Ministry of Culture and Communication) and Conseil Régional Île-de-France.

With the support of the Institut français and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication/DGCA.