These are your run-of-the-mill, humble supermarket plastic bags. Some pink, some light blue, orange, white. Deftly she shapes them in vaguely human forms.
And then the music starts: Debussy’s L’Après Midi d’un Faune, made famous by the Nijinsky ballet of the same name, but slightly changed here : the Faune becomes Foehn, the name of the warm, dry wind that blows inland from the Mediterranean.
Why, it becomes apparent as soon as the electric fans come alive. Slowly, with measured movements, like a mother sending her child into the world, Briand releases one plastic bag into the air stream. And to ohs! and ahs! from an entranced audience, slowly the bag rises into the air stream, weightlessly drifting and whirling like the most graceful ballerina you have ever seen.
This “wind play” comes courtesy of French performance artist Phía Ménard and her Compagnie Non Nova. Their motto:“we don’t invent anything, we just see things differently.”
Phía Ménard founded the company in 1998 precisely to allow the public a different look at everyday things and their unexpected possibilities as performers.
And in this case they do so with the help of a new category of artist, a wind designer, no less, in the person of Pierre Blanchet.
So, as more and more and more plastic bags take to the air to the strains of Debussy’s enveloping music and start interacting - here in an ensemble piece, there in a charming pas-de-deux – so the audience feel strangely uplifted, almost as if by witnessing this unimaginable spectacle we, too, were borne aloft and became part of the dance.
One of the sensations of last year’s London International Mime Festival, this is then, in more ways than one, an uplifting show, one that’ll remain with you for much longer than its modest 25-minute duration.
We couldn't recommend it highly enough.
Read our guide to the best half term activities in London 2015
Suitable for ages 5+.
|What||Compagnie Non Nova: L’Après Midi d’un Foehn, The Place|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
29 May 15 – 30 May 15, Fri 11.30am, 2pm & 7pm; Sat 10.30am, 12pm & 1.30pm
|Website||Click here to book via The Place website|