5 Minutes with... Compagnie 1% Artistique
The company that we are going to introduce to you next is Compagnie 1 % Artistique! They are originally from Normandy in France and are interested in the role of images in popular culture, as well as gender and sexual identities. Not shy of showing grotesque and fantasy, the work of the company is based on documented processes, looking for the extravagant and the extraordinary in the everyday life of the characters it depicts. Their creative world is skewed, overwhelming in its fantasy and gives much importance to what is taboo and sometimes even bad taste, believing in the strength they have to reformat the norms that shape us.
The show that Compagnie 1 % Artistique is bringing to Rêves D'Avant L'Aube 2018 is called Bimbo Estate and it is their very first work together. Bimbo Estate is a theatrical journey about the icons of popular culture. Somewhere between a massage parlour, a facelift surgery and a TV studio, the bimbos of this world meet and re-create themselves. Based on a biographical research on Loana, Lolo Ferrari, Lova Moor, Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith, Angelyne and the Cicciolina, the play is a sensitive depiction of the feminine stereotype known as 'bimbo'. A fantasy and an idolatry, the different textures of these complex identities are merged and expressed in the show and question the relationship between the intimate and the theatrical.
Bimbo Estate is neither a biopic nor a documentary, it is a dream-like journey into the repressed myths of showbiz culture.
Here’s what Garance Bonotto of Compagnie 1 % Artistique and director of Bimbo Estate shared with us.
In what ways do you think bringing your debut work to Rėves D’avant L’aube can enrich your practice as an emergent theatre company?
G: I think that Rêves d'avant l'Aube is a great opportunity for visibility. Only a few theatres and festivals in Paris give the chance to young companies to show their work ; and, furthermore, to confront it to audiences from abroad. It is also exciting to meet theatre companies from everywhere in Europe, with specific views and different creative processes. I think we have so much to share and to bring to each other. This time of exchange is precious.
What is the most exciting aspect of sharing your work with audiences in Paris?
G: We already shared our work with audiences in Paris, but this time it won't be a fully « friend and family » audience, so we are happy to get the chance to confront it to new viewers, in one of my favorite districts of Paris, Ménilmontant. It will be the occasion to get new critiques, to confront it to new perspectives and to put into question our work, in order to deepen it in the future.
How does Bimbo Estate address an international audience?
G: Bimbo Estate is all about a feminine archetype, the « bimbo », which is a transnational figure, I think, with equivalents in almost every country of the world, especially at that time of globalization and normalization of beauty. From Lilith to Marylin, every culture has its « slut-shamed » figure. A lot of countries with a patriarchal system have founded it on the division between « the mother » and « the whore ». Bimbo Estate addresses this problem of a woman regarded as phantasmatic and objectified, sexually free and compliant to the male gaze norms at the same time, within the contemporary (pop) culture of representation. Reality TV shows, porn movies or fashion magazines... all of these contemporary pop culture objects, that most of us interact with, can be put into question on stage.
What does European theatre mean to you and how does it influence your work?
G: I don't think we can really sum it up; there isn't "one" European theatre for me. But maybe European theatre means freedom, open-mindedness, and a political heritage. And a taste for literature? I have always been attracted to European companies which seem to work differently from the prevalent system in France. Jan Lauwers, TG Stan, De Koe... mainly north european companies but also Emma Dante or MOTUS (Silvia Calderoni).
But as it's my first creation, I can't have the pretention to say that one of them directly influenced my work, it's probably all influencing it from underneath…
What’s next for Compagnie 1 % Artistique after Rêves D'Avant L'Aube 2018?
G: What's next? I hope more Bimbo Estate! Once we’ve finished our formation, I hope we'll get the time to go for a several week long « résidence », because this project needs time to mature, and to develop into an even stronger narrative. Then I hope to develop another work on masculine sexuality and gender, but it's on process so I can't tell much about it.
You can find out more about Compagnie 1 % Artistique at:
You can also watch the trailer of Bimbo Estate at:
Interview by Lilia Nova
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