Commissioned by “Excentrique” Festival and in collaboration with CEPRAVOI, the GdRA met with five vocal ensembles from the French Région Centre and gave birth to a common collaboration around a shared conception of choirs, places and diplomacies.
The GdRA offered each of these choirs to invite a loved one to tell about their affective bonds, memories and changes of direction. Robert, Arlette, Fernand, Marie-Madeleine and Jean took part in filmed biographical interviews. These testimonies composed a storyline where images, soundscapes, the portrayed people’s vivid words along with the voices and bodies of their sponsor choirs stood as the raw material of this two-act creation (June 2009 and June 2010).
Act 1: Once Upon Five Times…
The GdRA presented five video portraits as part of an installation in the rooms of Noiralca Abbey and in the village of Chaumont-sur-Loire: a small form combining images, dance, music, text and exhibition. Acrobatic bodies and music interacted with the filmed testimonies and documents while a guide walked the public around an exhibition of objects linked to these portrayed people’s lives, within a soundscape made of recorded bits of the sponsor choirs’ rehearsals. Guided tours and performances lead to public meetings and the exhibition was shown for two days as two stages of the “Excentrique” Festival.
Act 2: Portraits in Songs
The sponsor choirs (Colla Voce, La Notina, Ars Nova, Vicus Aureus, Chants DO Ré) presented a common vocal piece co-performed with the GdRA and written by the GdRA and Raphaël Terreau, the choir conductor of Ars Nova, an accomplice with gifted ears and pen. As part of a scenography including the testimonies of the portrayed heroes—words, maps, photographs, names, laughters, complaints, ordinary prides and frailties—songs went up, in a show on local people and choirs. Each song was inspired by Robert, Arlette, Fernand, Marie-Madeleine or Jean. Their faces appeared on a 33ft x 26.5ft screen as they were telling their stories while Benoît Bonnemaison-Fitte’s live drawings punctuated and accompanied the acting and music.