20 silences

conception et jeu │ Charles Chemin

musique │ Dom Bouffard

Avant-première le 10 juin 2017  

Babel International Festival, Roumanie

Première le 22 septembre 2017 

Conversazioni - 70° Teatro Olimpico Festival Vicenza, Italie

lumières │ Aliberto Sagretti

assistants │ Giovanni Firpo, Luiza Mitu

conseil dramaturgique │ Caroline Breton

costume & masques │ Robin Chemin

sculpture │ Adrian Damian

groupe Karol Karol, Paris (France)
en collaboration avec
Officine Montecristo, Rome (Italie)

The Watermill Center, New York (USA)
Babel International Festival, Targoviste (Roumanie)

et l'aide de
National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA (USA)

voix enregistrées │ Dom Bouffard, Luka Bouffard, Caroline Breton, Paola Calliari, Charles Chemin, Marius Chemin, Giovanni Firpo, Alli McInnes

et Luiza Mitu

durée │ 1h10


A human being contemplates outer space. We witness his journey in time, and his conflicted interaction with the powerful environment that surrounds him. The soundscape, altered live by both the composer and an algorithm, enacts the impenetrable formation of galaxies, stars,
planets, and the emergence of life forms.

It is a study on infinity and eternity, nothingness and other worlds, planets and stars, human destinies, the unknowable, life before birth and after the grave. And what we commonly call “understanding” is in reality “getting to know that we don’t know”.

It is an irrational study, as it is drawn by humans with limited understanding.
There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time.

A silence is a complex composition.

20 SILENCES  is a project by theatre director Charles Chemin and composer Dom Bouffard. They focus on human singularity and spontaneity, in regards of infinity and eternity. In order to talk about humans, they convoke space and fomation of planets. Letting aside traditional dramaturgy, they attempt to work on the human beings’ sensible, cognitive and intellectual reactions to their environment. 

A human being contemplates outer space. For humans, the feelings of infinitiy and of losing control are fascinating and disturbing. Surrounding matter lives its own life, at a scale that they can’t comprehend.

THE SHOW  is an environment for the audience to experience their relation to the unknown, matter, and other humans, with two scores happening at the same time, the soundscape and the live performance. 

© Philippe Chemin

One score is THE SOUNDSCAPE, made of natural elements, voices, texts, sounds, instrumental music, vibrations. It represents the outer space, living matter. Even though its layers are carefully composed, it has its own life. The volume, spatialization (through about 12 speakers), vibration level and combination of layers (of sound, voices, music, etc.) are defined in live by an algorithm. We know the scenario, like fixed chemical elements, but their dozage and mixing is unpredictable. The content of the score is made as an environment of spacial activities, the big bang, formations of planets, evolution of matter until the natural conditions of emergence of life. There is a challenge in composing elements that are traditionally not represented in sound, like void, outer space, and especially silence, which doesn’t really exist. What we commonly call silence is necesserarily full of noise, of activity, whether it is a street rumor or one’s pulse. 

THE LIVE PERFORMANCE is a visual, spacial and vocal score produced by the actor, interacting with the audience and in a conflicted interaction with the soundscape score. He tries to be autonomous, but often succombs to the sound’s influence. The actor performs alone in front of the audience, addresses people at times and defies the distance with them. He goes until exchanging roles, getting crowds to fill the stage and him performing in their seat for a few minutes at the start of the show. The construction of  the actions results from research, interviews and workshops at NASA, and addresses the self-redefinition of a human facing the immensity of space. The action deals with notions of freedom and the unexpected. It is a composition of dances and speeches, spanning from live improvisation and free talk to the audience, to very choreographed moves and poetical texts. He alternates dreamy and very concrete moods, with great human versatility.

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