Founded in 1999 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, Les Sages Fous create theatrical worlds where the the mask, the puppet, the object and the human coexist. We caught with them to find out more about their work, their vision and their latest show ‘Tricyckle’.
Can you tell us about Les Sages Fous and your most recent work, ‘Tricyckle’?
Les Sages Fous is a small company that has been creating theatre together in a very intimate way for over 15 years. Through our years of close collaboration, we have developed a unique way of working with objects and puppetry. We proceed by intuition, trial and error, improvisation, and poetic correspondence. We try to discover the story that the objects and puppets we create want to tell.
Our company is inspired, among others, by men who roam the city of Trois-Rivières on their old tricycles, looking for all kinds of materials they carry on their makeshift trailers. We are also inspired by people who make folk art; those who are not professional artists, with all the baggage and allegiance to the institutions involved. With Tricycle we hope to break down barriers between high culture and popular art.
We produce a non-verbal image-based theatre using objects, mask and puppets. Our shows are created for unconventional spaces and theatres. We have presented our work in barns, warehouses, castles, back alleys, and streets, as well as theatres. Our work is accessible to all, transcending the obstacles of language, age, culture, and economic class.
The music in ”Tricyckle’ is particularly unique. Can you tell us a little about how it is created?
Our musician Christian Laflamme has been collaborating closely with us since 2002. For ‘Tricyckle’ Christian has been inventing improbable musical instruments with found objects and laid the foundation of a musical landscape. He has created the beginnings of an unusual soundscape; a mysterious music that is both urban and fairground, in perfect harmony with the protagonist of our story.
How do you come up with your ideas for your puppetry performances? What is your creative process?
Our creative process is a deliberate walk in the darkness of the unknown. By trial and error, collage of images, poetic correspondence, we write the shows whose sense often eludes us until the last minute. For it is only in contact with the public that our desires are revealed. It is as if the play is a double-sided mirror in which each sees the dreams that inhabit themselves.
We feel like archaeologists, or miners, searching their own dreams to find the
artefacts hidden within. Our shows are living organisms in constant evolution. Our working method is therefore an ongoing creation process. We create, re-evaluate, refine, and rework multiple versions of our shows, between the theatre venues and the unusual spaces. As our company’s working method is not based on a text or on a storyboard, but through experimentation and intuition, the dramaturgy is discovered directly with the objects themselves. The objects and the scenic universe become the springboard for the writing of the show.
Puppets are a link between humanity and mystery. The dual nature of puppetry, the ‘animated / inanimate’, parallels our experience of life and death. The paradoxical and mysterious nature of the puppet has led us to create visual theatre that seeks to express the invisible. In search of this mystery, we offer a world of images and sensations, where impressions and memories blend to create stories.
We propose an exciting, mysterious voyage: sailing through troubled waters, at the crossroads between the worlds.
Visit the Bristol Festival of Puppetry website to find out more and to book tickets to ‘Tricyckle’ at 8pm, Thurs 07 Sept. You can also find details of all our shows for adults and children at Tobacco Factory Theatres throughout the Festival (01 – 10 Sept) and browse our full Festival programme.
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