Perdita Ensemble is a set of actors, stage designers, administrators, distributors, technicians, musicians, and various creators, which are brought together around Gerard Watkins’ writing, who assumes artistic direction since 1994.
Particularly dedicated to those who feel the world outstrips them, excludes them, loses them, and who don’t feel it’s anything to do with the themes addressed by theatre, the aim of Perdita Ensemble is to touch the today’s viewer so he might feel more than never the necessity and the need of the representation.
It is, by playwriting, to sound out imaginary produced by events, news item, dramas, laws, discoveries, all the parts which form the relationship between human beings.
Make great history and short history a fable, and, from the fable tighten a wire between actor, character, and viewer.
See below all the activities involving Gérard Watkins in the frame of Fabulamundi.
Gérard Watkins was born in London in 1965. He grew up in Norway and in the USA and has been living in France since 1974. He wrote his first song in 1980 and his first play a year later. He studied acting at the Cours Florent and at the CNSAD. Since then, he has been working alternatively as actor, playwright, director, and musician. He has worked in the theatre with Véronique Bellegarde, Julie Beres, Jean-Claude Buchard, Elizabeth Chailloux, Michel Didym, André Engel, Frederic Fisbach, Marc François, Daniel Jeanneteau, Philipe Lanton, Jean-Louis Martinelli, Lars Noren, Claude Régy, Yann Ritsema, Bernard Sobel, Viviane Theophilides, Jean-Pierre Vincent and Guillaume Vincent and in cinema with Julie Lopez Curval, Jérome Salle, Yann Samuel, Julian Schnabel, Hugo Santiago, et Peter Watkins. In 1994, he created his company, the Perdita Ensemble, where he has directed all of his plays: La Capitale Secrète, Suivez-Moi, Dans la Forêt Lointaine, Icône, La Tour, Identité, Lost (Replay), Je ne me Souviens Plus Très Bien, going from stages to found spaces; from the Théâtre du Genneviliers to the Échangeur, from the Théâtre Gérard Philippe in St-Denis to the Colombier, from the Ferme du Buisson, to the municipal pool in St-Ouen, from the Comète 347 to the Théâtre de la Bastille. He is a laureate of the Beaumarchais Foundation and of the Villa Médicis Hors-les-Murs for a project on Europe, which will be created with the ERAC School of acting: Europia / fable géo-poétique created for Marseille Provence 2013 and remounted in Avignon at the Cloitre Saint-Louis and at Reims Scènes d’Europe. He has just presented his latest creation: Scènes de violences conjugales.
He was awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Dramatique 2010 and was nominated for Best living Francophone playwright in 2017 at the Molières, and has just received the Syndicat de la critique prize for best actor 2016-2017.
Marion Klein and Andre Klein are a young European couple. They are educated, but no longer work, and live in insecurity. Marion Klein has lost her appetite and has stopped eating. Andre Klein reads on a bottle of a wine that they can earn some money by answering a question. This question will lead them on a quest for identity that will shatter their existence and their relationship.
Scenes of domestic violence
Liam runs away from his violent childhood to settle down in the Paris suburbs and meets Rachida, who is trying to emancipate from the rigid social codes of her own family. Annie is looking for work to bring herself back on track, and gain custody of her daughters, who are under her parents’ care. She meets Pascal, a photographer from a well-off family, whose career is going downhill. The two couples settle down in a furnished apartment. Slowly but surely, domestic violence creeps in their relationships until things get out of control. The women decide to bring this to a halt and try, not without difficulty, to escape from the daily violence they are suffering through.
STAVROS FOIS HUIT
Gérard Watkins and some students from the Erac School of Drama have imagined a collective process of questionings about Europe, starting from its writers, artists, poets, musicians, politicians, popular myths, historical traumas and diverging identities. The young actors then left in pairs for seven European cities, ports for the most part. The students were able to reflect on European news while using emerging utopias as a source of research and analysis. They then brought back “dramatic travel journals” including various materials such as interviews, notes and soundscapes.
Those travel journals were used as a starting point by Gérard Watkins, whom they met on a regular basis so as to inspire his writing and staging work from start to finish.
– Extracts from STAVROS FOIS HUIT –
Stavros Times Eight
Applause. A long pause then silence.
Stavros Times Eight – Sorry. I didn’t wake up. I always sleep before going on stage. I set my alarm-clock so that it will go off five minutes before. That’s enough, usually, but not this time. The stage manager is my backup, usually, but he’s also asleep, everyone’s asleep in this theatre. But it’s not him, it’s not his fault, don’t dismiss him, please. The fucking alarm-clock didn’t go off. Fucking alarm-clock. Everything is fucked up, my alarm-clock is fucked up too. I should have bought the one that was five Euros more, you know, it would have gone off, but I took the one that was forty Euros less. I took the alarm-clock that was below the rate of the Euro. I took an alarm-clock that cost them money but didn’t bring me any, except for the fact that I slept well. You slept well? During Angela’s sketch. I can feel you slept well. I can see you’re looking at my shoes. Got nothing else to do? Looking at my shoes below the rate of the Euro. They’re shoes for time travelers. Take a hard look at me. Moonwalking to the Drachma.
If you don’t mind too much, I would like to skip straight to the end of the show now. Do I give the money to you or to your sister? I would like to be disabled, and get my allowance and skip straight to the end of the show, who do I give my acting fees to? I have the means of my ambitions. I would like to be an average person of independent means, I would like the first to be last but in the sense who goes out not who comes first because I can see you’re thinking what’s coming in but who is going out? Or what is going out? And when is it actually going out? Because it has to finally go out. It has to finally go away. I can see you say America America, but I will be the one who finds your shoes on the bridge and you will jump in the water.
There has been no bog roll in this theatre since 1998. I think that last time any bog roll was seen, it was going in there on horseback. It was beautiful. Shining in the sun. People cheering as it went past. Those were the times when there was still bog roll. Bog roll on horseback. You could unroll the bog roll along corridors just like the red carpet at the Cannes Festival when Theos Angelopoulos was still alive. When he didn’t have to cross motorways to answer the phone. Yes. YES. Bog roll was rolling along corridors and we were all dancing and throwing rice and kissing girls. It was like the Liberation. It was before bog roll was 2 Euros 90, that is two percent of the monthly budget or seven percent of the GDP. And before we all wiped our asses with our left hands.
My left hand has been stinking of shit for several years now and I would love to celebrate the return of the bog roll in this theatre so much. You want to smell the difference. Before. After. Now. Later. Good for you. Too bad for you (or “ If you win, you win. If you lose, you lose.”). On the other hand. In return for. As best you can. I am seeing double because you are double, you know. You are Mark and you are Paul. Yes. Better that way as you take too much space on your own. And you cost too much. You cost us too much and you cost yourself too much too. And most of all, you cost your aunt too much. So we’ve put another soul in there with you that’s going to pay the rent and share expenses with you. It’ll cost the university less that way. No need for you to rest your fat asses on the university seats, one fat ass will be enough from now on, and the one chance out of ten you may have to find a job, that too you’ll try and share.
Have you seen that guy with a cell phone in the shape of a cell phone over there?
He’s been following me since this morning.
Because I have seen something I shouldn’t have. Since then they’ve all been in that room somewhere in the Capitol, with Hillary Clinton with her hand on her mouth and Barack Obama with his finger on his temple, watching me and eating popcorn. And that guy over there acts as their spy. You agree with me?
I would really like you to agree with me because there is no point in talking to you otherwise. You agree with me?
The audience: Yes, we do.
Stavros Times Eight: I can’t hear you. You agree with me.
The audience: Yes, we do.
Stavros Times Eight: Participatory theatre sucks. Anyway. You know what I’ve seen that I shouldn’t have?
The audience: No, we don’t.
Stavros Times Eight: The future. This morning as I woke up I saw the future and I certainly hope you’ll be able to stomach it; I’m not saying that to put you off your food that must have been looking good to you since the first food aid container arrived on the port of Piraeus. But I saw and read the future in feces. Not mine. Someone else’s. Someone that didn’t flush the bog. Wonderful feces. Unique piece. Thirty cm long and eight or nine in diameter. There was a halo of light around the bowl, and another halo of light inside the bowl, and there was something permanent and eternal in this installation as if this shit could be unearthed in three thousand years from now and that it would have the same importance as the Acropolis.
Thank you so much, St Augustine, thanks for everything you do.
I have a magical power. It’s magical. It’s power. It’s powerful. It’s natural. And it’s supernatural. It straddles what’s natural. And it breaks into canter. This power I have is useless. And that’s the beauty of it. Or not. It won’t be described. It won’t be made into a movie. I won’t dress up for it. I won’t wear tights or pyjamas. I won’t be given an identity. It won’t be given a name. It will be hushed up. It won’t be pointed at. Let’s form a circle altogether. Say. Yet the power will be exhibited. You’ll have to pay for that though. No kidding. I know you already paid for your seats but it’s not enough for me. That’s where profit starts for me. In this hat. I am an icon. And you have to give me a coin. One cent. Two cents. Five cents. Some are generous and feel princely. And I light up as soon as I’m fed a coin. I glow and light up. Put the coin straight into the pocket. I light up like a Christmas tree. But from the inside. That’s my power. I catch fire from the inside. I set myself on fire with no one seeing. It can only be seen through the eyes. Through the retinas. Come closer. To my absolute magical power. To my inner flame. To my flow of fire. To my waterfall of embers. I am made in Greece. And I have copyright. My mythology is copyright. And the Swedish. Command +C, command +V ( or: copy and paste.). You can read? Cough up now! Made in Greece. Democracy. Philosophy. Super Power. Gimme all your money motherfucker.
All: Bravo, cheers, cheers!
Demis Katalavenis: That was awesome, Stavros Times Eight.
Alexia Pavlakis: I think he’s calmed down a little.
Dimitri Tsoulakis: That’s part of his mystical crisis. Doing him no good.
Demis Katalavenis: Let’s go for a drink.
Alexia Pavlakis: No, we’re going home.
Demis Katalavenis: No drinks after the show?
Dimitri Tsoulakis: No, I thought so but no.
Alexia Pavlakis: Let’s go home.
Demis Katalavenis: I was sure there would be drinks after the show.
Alexia Pavlakis: I was sure there wouldn’t be.
Dimitri Tsoulakis: Are you going home?
Alexia Pavlakis: Yes, I’m going to. My Granny isn’t feeling too good again.
Demis Katalavenis: All the best.