About the Production
On the border between the human and the puppet, the peasant and the scarecrow, the five masked characters of Farm Fatale appear and settle against a spotless white background. The audience is then led into a world highly evocative of the farm, where a group of poet scarecrows live and run an independent radio station, sing, play music, invent slogans and sometimes wax philosophical. Masked and speaking in distorted voices, these contemplative clowns attuned to the pulses of the planet may turn out to be somewhat familiar. In fact, these men and women striving for a better world are mostly daydreamers, poets and activists with a charming and intoxicating tendency to marvel at the beauty and diversity of nature. These are disarmingly funny and kind heroes living at plant or animal level, somehow trying to steer clear of a rampant capitalism that destroys forests, lands, and oceans, and to save the multiple lives of those teeming, speaking, poeticizing and thinking around us.
PHILIPPE QUESNE, born in 1970, received his education in Visual Arts. For 10 years he designed sets for theater, operas, and exhibitions. In 2003, he created the Vivarium Studio Company as a laboratory for theatrical innovation and collaboration between painters, actors, dancers and musicians. As he did as a child, collecting insects, he now works and studies small communities under his microscope. The scenography is used as an ecosystem in which he immerses his actors into. His shows, such as La Démangeaison des ailes (2003), L'Effet de Serge (2007), La Mélancolie des dragons (2008), Swamp Club (2013), compose a repertory of tours all over the world.
In addition to his work for the theater, he creates performances and interventions in public spaces or natural sites, and displays his installations in the context of exhibitions.
Since January 2014, he has served as the co-director of Nanterre-Amandiers, National Dramatic Center. In 2018/2019, he created Crash Park, la vie d'une Île at TNB in Rennes, and in Nanterre-Amandiers, and Farm fatale at Kammerspiele in Munich.
He was the artistic director of the awarded French pavilion at the Prague Quadrennial in 2019.
In 2020, he created a scenic version of Gustav Malher’s symphony Das Lied von der Erde at the Wiener Festwochen (Austria) and the set design for choreographer Meg Stuart’s new creation in 2021.
From the Reviews
“Philippe Quesne filled the room with beings who were smarter, more charming, and more lovable than humans themselves. It comes to mind that it is not the human being as such, because he is actually good in his essence. Rather, it is the people who are so unbearable. You didn't have to deal with them that evening. That's why you left the theater with a very good feeling, because the scarecrows were funnier and they weren't as dusty as the ecological movements. It may be hard to imagine scarecrows being more humorous than humans. However, this is only because living scarecrows are inconceivable, which is shame, actually.”
Wolf Banitzki, teaterkritiken.com
“The wondrous quirkiness of Farm Fatale increases towards the end. And yet, over those ninety minutes, no idea is too bizarre, no wordplay too ludicrous, no gesture too trivial, no conclusion too naive. Because with his small, idiosyncratic functioning democratic society of scarecrows, Philippe Quesne naturally pulls out the mirror for our own, which is the real topic of this play.”
Teresa Grenzmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“All the characters face the same challenge: they need to find a way to avoid extinction. In that regard, this performance is a clown heterotopy, in which the sad ending of one world is a pretext for inventing a new one.”
Baptiste Dancoisne, https://zone-critique.com