“Anyone can make theatre”
At the beginning, Filip Vujošević briefly presented the director who has, since January 2014, served as the co-director of Nanterre-Amandiers, the National Dramatic Centre. After that, Vujošević asked him to tell the audience how he, who used to be an active visual artist, became a theatre director. Quesne expressed his gratitude to Bitef and the French Institute for the invitation to the festival for the first time. Also, he said that he hoped the performance would, after Bitef, go on tour without any restrictions. Asked how he found himself in theatre, he smiled and said that anyone can make theatre. He changed his approach to theatre in 2016. He said that he has been working with the same actors for years, possibly since his most performances deal with the end of the world. He pointed out that visual artists, fine artists, usually work alone, while in theatre that is not the case, which makes him place great hopes in theatre.
Asked to comment on his process and whether he always knows if a performance would turn out as comedy or a drama, Quesne said that he never thinks about that but sets off without any preconceived ideas whatsoever. For this performance, he knew that he wanted five performers under masks and that he wanted ecology to be the topic, as it in his plays usually is. After that, Gaëtan joined the conversation and described the process. He said that they worked a lot on improvisations, that they talked about clowns, but that the process largely relied on teamwork. They had the masks right from the start, and they helped them transform their bodies for certain characters, i.e., scarecrows. The director described how he came up with the idea to use the masks, saying that he had thought a lot about Beckett during the process, creating the metaphysical situations in which the scarecrows find themselves.
The sounds of scarecrows with eggs
The audience made comments about the end of the performance, and asked if the scarecrows were dubbed or if they speak and sing live. We found out that everything was live, including their band, which consists of xylophone, electric guitars, keyboard, etc. The audience was astonished at how masterfully the performers changed their voices, and they shared their amazement with the authors. What may have remained unclear were the mysterious light eggs. Someone in the audience commented that the performance is so full of empathy which is so rare both on stage and in life, which makes it priceless just like this performance.
You can see the entire discussion at the link provided, or Bitef YouTube channel.
Ovidiu Miron, programmer at Timisoara 2023, European capital of Culture, Romania
I think it`s a unique scenography and I especially loved, you know, the irony, may I say, even the sarcasm that was all the way through the play. And I think it`s a brave and a unique way of signalling some of the issues and also related to climate change but also the hypocrisy and the lack of real solutions from our side as human beings. I mean, it`s a lot of talking but when it comes to doing, there are less solutions.
Sam Bell, actor and writer from UK
I loved the dystopian world that was created on stage. I loved how weird the characters were - their distorted voices and warped physicality. The humour made the serious issues more palatable. The end was bizarre but beautiful and the extended applause at the end made me feel like I’d been part of something really special. I wasn’t sure the exact message I should take away from the piece…other than we need to sort ourselves out before we fuck up our world and the only things left are creepy yet charming scarecrows.
Branka Tomanović, pensioner
I really liked the performance. It has such a powerful message. And the way it’s conveyed is simply marvellous. My friend and I talked about it, and we don’t quite understand why people laughed? The performance is about sadness looming over us.
Gvozden Grubač, primary school pupil (12 years old)
I liked how they dealt with the topic. I didn’t quite understand the part with the eggs and I think I’ll be thinking about it tonight and tomorrow when I wake up. I liked it, the topic was funny, and the performance is well done. I liked the costume design. I had already seen another performance at Bitef but I found this one more amusing.