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Calcinculo (2000)

Jun 11 2000 Sophie Tessier


Literally translated, Calcinculo means a ‘kick up the backside’. But in Italy it also stands for the fairground attraction otherwise known as a chairoplane. When travelling at full speed, this carousel tosses all those who have dared to venture onto it high into the air.


In this work, as in their first creation Liaisons dangereuses, also directed by Dirk Opstaele, Feria Musica brings together different artistic disciplines in a joint work.


Nine actor-dancer-acrobats play around with the idea of “Calcinculo”. All spurred on by the same urge to build, they throw themselves in amongst the pulleys, beams and ropes, becoming entangled in a strange and ephemeral structure. The edifice gradually grows to the rhythm of live cross-cultural music. At each stage, instability regains the upper hand, but this only further whips up the mad enthusiasm of the group of ‘builders’. Their untiring efforts result in a structure that alternately resembles a tepee, the skeleton of a boat, some abstract invention, a Tower of Babel, a bridge to nowhere…


This collective enterprise, together with the subtle and carefully worked out interactions between the protagonists of this adventure, illustrates the many facets of human behaviour : ingenuity, boldness, solidarity …


Calcinculo fits into the revival of the circus by revisiting acrobatics, clowns and juggling. Here, pulleys replace the trapeze and construction beams replace jugglers’ skittles. Balance is born from the precision and dexterity of the protagonists, who are collectively exposed to the pleasures and dangers of the construction of an “architectural whim”.


But it is also undeniably theatre, of the sort which reveals the actor and what he can do with his body, which expresses life and arouses tension and sensation. It is a direct form of theatre, in a constant process of creation based on human relations, the sole reality that we cannot do without.


Calcinculo was performed 70 times, in Belgium and France (Halles de Schaerbeek, Le Parc de la Villette in Paris, Le Théâtre Royal de Namur, La Coursive in La Rochelle, La Maison de la Culture de Nevers, Le Cratère in Alès, the CDN de Normandie,  Festival Theater op de Markt in Hasselt, Bonlieu in Annecy, Le Carré St. Vincent in Orléans…).





Calcinculo is produced by Philippe de Coen and Benoît Louis for Feria-Musica, in co-production with Bruxelles-Brussel 2000, Les Halles de Schaerbeek and the Etablissement Public du Parc et de la Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.

With the support of La Coursive, the Maison de la Culture de Nevers and the Ministère de la Culture de la Communauté Wallonie-Bruxelles.


Director Dirk Opstaele

Producer Philippe de Coen

Music directot Benoît Louis

Composition and arrangements Benoît Louis et François Garny

Stage design Jean-Claude De Bemels

Technical director and lighting Serge Simon / Benoît Théron

Sound Nicolas Haber

Ingenuity and construction Bruno Renson

Snow and wind Olivier de Laveleye

Costumes Françoise Van Thienen

Distribution and communication Céline Maufra


Acrobats and dancers Arnaud Bernard, Pascale Clerbaux, Arnaud Leroy, Régis Leroy, Lisa Rahbek, Adrain Stan, Marceline Ribouillault, Julia Christ, Gaël Bernier, Oliver Koch, Serge Lazar, Kiluangi Runge, Luis Vergara

Musicians Jean-Pierre Froidbise, François Garny, Gil Gimenez, Manu Hermia, Benoît Louis, Michel Seba

Actors Jan Hammenecker, Xavier Decoux, Ingrid Marcq


© Photos Mimi Brocas, Thyl, Stéphanie Friedli



This post is also available in: French