Pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse
The product of a new collaboration between Latifa Laâbissi, Nadia Lauro and the actors in the Oiseau Mouche company, Pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse is a sort of machine which produces situations, physical and language-based events; a wide playing field where actions, visions and words are dispersed toward a vanishing point which wanders between the pitfalls of meaning, ending up somewhere where all combinations will work. At the center of this upheaval which changes every night, Laâbissi and Lauro work to “intensify the conditions for its revelation, its happening,” defining the plasticity of the situations, the reactive, tweakable environments, each equipped with its own rules, launching announcements into the pot of the exquisite corpse (a way of collectively assembling words or images) simmering there. Acting, seeing and speaking, it all begins here. This semiotic triangle is as unstable as a pyramid built of wood chips – and the little group consolidates, adjusts or sends it flying with a gratifying sense of freedom. Working from the debris of our world, its rigid landmarks, its borders, its names, its categories – the actor/ dancers mark out the perimeters of the action: political, delirious, chaotic universes, which they lay out, assembling them piece by piece in order to take them apart later. Acting as operators, smugglers and explorers, they cut, patch up, reformulate and exchange pieces, fabricating for themselves assorted figures straight out of their imaginations – or cobbled together with fragments of images, characters and situations. We also re-discover one of the most iconic figures in the annals of theatre, whether he be called the narrator, chorus, commentator or speaker: his words transform this fragile scaffolding into an acoustic poem or fantasy tale leaping randomly from rooster to donkey. His elocution, or the intensity he is channeling into the difficulty of speaking, works like a living sandtrap, aimed at capturing the disorder in a reality peppered with holes.
What this piece wants us to examine is not the unspeakable, the inexpressible – it is more the jubilation we experience watching everything explode: the exhilaration we feel chopping it into tiny pieces, fiddling with its gears, scattering it like the beginnings of a jigsaw puzzle, re-sorting it per the new rules, using new systems of sharing and creation. What does Jonathan Allart, the speaker, say about what is happening in front of him, in front of us? “I see a problem.” And, “I see – I see – I can’t say exactly what I am seeing.” Pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse hangs somewhere between these two points, on a tightrope stretched between the two phrases. The speaker is holding that rope, and the dancers are perched on top of it. Unless perhaps it is us wobbling up there. In which case – dammit – who’s holding the rope?