A baby who falls asleep just before the start of the rehearsal. Another who takes his first steps on the scene. A layer to change between two replicas. Communicative crying. Nothing in the design of the play Babies that will be presented at the Free Space from Wednesday, is happening as usual.
Alexis Martin and Daniel Brière love experiences and love the game. Three years after Animals , which featured two comedians and a cow, chickens and a dog, they continue to question the concept of stage presence. And do not hesitate to put yourself in danger by playing four babies from 5 months to 1 year and five parents.
“Theater is a world of control,” says Alexis Martin, who wrote the texts with Emmanuelle Jiménez. A performance, when set, varies just 30 seconds from one evening to another. And here we do the opposite by introducing a completely random element. ”
Result? “We have no choice but to accept that sometimes it’s chaos,” says Daniel Brière, who directs the play.
Babies are therefore an exercise in letting go for everyone, since the actors will not be able to focus solely on their performance and the director’s directives can not be followed to the letter.
“For the authors, we must assume that there are bits of texts where the public will be distracted. At the same time, we are rigorous, we want the info to go and maximize readability, “says Alexis Martin.
This is one of their drama teachers who told them never to play with an animal or a child, “because they will take all your focus,” recalls Alexis Martin. “We started from there, we decided to do a study on what explains the presence so strong, so dense, that emanates from the baby. ”
The two creators are fascinated by the visceral appeal that people have for babies, their mystery and their aura. This is why the show is designed in keeping with the rhythm of these “foreigners from space”, says Alexis Martin smiling, and taking into account the unexpected.
“If a baby starts to cry, there is nothing left,” says Brière. We must continue, but we must not pretend to be crying. We must deal with it anyway, but it is possible that the actor who was saying his text is found with another baby in the arms. ”
Everything is done according to their needs and their time zone – the representations of a duration of about an hour take place at noon – in a safe space, and never a baby will be forced to do what it does not want to do, says Daniel Brière. “There is a place behind the stage where they can rest or be comforted. ”
And most importantly, babies are in the company of their parents, which is a pledge of confidence and affection. The five parents – a couple and three moms – are all comedians. “When I was offered it, I said just for the form that I would think, but in the end, it was yes right away,” says Eve Landry, who participates in Babies with her 1-year-old son, Louis.
“It’s chaotic at will. I do not know if it’s courage or unconsciousness, but what happens is exactly why we embarked. ”
The group got to know each other and quickly welded. “Everyone knows how to comfort my baby now! Laughs Nadine Louis, whose son Lorian is 5 months old. Daniel Brière and Alexis Martin have also enjoyed observing the different approaches of parents and personalities of babies. And the fifty-year-old loved to plunge back into the world of babies, “but just having the good side! », Daniel Brière laughs.
If there is a playful and experimental side to the thing, the two creators did their homework, met specialists and read about them.
“But we do not pretend to say anything either,” says Alexis Martin, who explains that Babies is “a real theatrical object” built in three levels. A level “more poetic and metaphysical”, with a narrative that overlooks the show, a level of observation, where we watch babies live, and theatrical scenes, sketches that speak of the arrival of a baby in a life.
“We realize that, whatever the level, babies are always the center of attention. They catch us and fascinate us, even when two actors are playing together, so their presence is strong, “says Daniel Briere.
How do they see the day of the first? It’s hard to tell how babies will react to the audience, whether they will freeze or want to go to meet them, but also how the public will react to their presence.
“We try to be technically ready, but there is always a little anxiety because anything can happen,” says Daniel Brière. “Other times there are miracles. Moments of grace, there have been, and there will be, “adds Alexis Martin. Especially since babies change at high speed, and they have the gift of surprising them.
“It will surely derail from time to time, believes Alexis Martin. It’s like life, because theater is not life, it’s a transposed, idealized life. But here we are in a kind of cosmic instability. That’s it: the child as a factor of cosmic instability. ”
Babies, at Espace Libre, from April 24 to May 19 at 12 noon.