Gisèle Vienne

Adèle Haenel in L’Etang by Gisèle Vienne
© Jean-Louis Fernandez
Oct 21st - 23rd, 2023 New York
Gisèle Vienne
85 min

In 2023, and since 2021, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting Gisèle Vienne for the presentation of L’Étang for the Festival d’Automne à Paris and as part of the Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival in New York.

An adaptation of a story by Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878-1956), L’Étang unmasks the elusive recesses of a tale of filial devotion, performed by Adele Haenel and Julie Shanahan.

L’Étang is a family drama that stands out from Robert Walser’s other works, as it is a private text that the young author penned for his sister, as well as his only work written in the Swiss German dialect. It is the story of a child who feels forsaken by his mother. In the darkness of despair, he fakes his suicide to verify her love for him. What are the real issues behind this desperate act? What plays out between the lines and on stage? What are the different layers of language, from words to narrations, utterable or not, that compose our understanding and our communication? These questions are echoed over and over through the writer’s text and on stage. Adele Haenel and Julie Shanahan play one and two parts, respectively, while also lending their voices to the other characters. Many levels of perception of reality and time, of inwardness and outwardness coexist in this work. Probing theatrical and family conventions, L’Étang pointedly asks the question of what is seen - the shared representation of reality and social norms.

This performance is created in memory of Kerstin Daley Baradel, a longtime collaborator of Gisele Vienne who passed away in July 2019, and with whom the director and her team worked in intimate fellowship.

Vincent Theval

for the Festival d’Automne in Paris

About the artist

Portrait de Gisèle Vienne

Gisèle Vienne

In 2023, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels renews its support to Gisèle Vienne by supporting L’Etang in New York and Paris, as well as her new creation EXTRA LIFE.

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