Friday, 30 January 2015

 "OCTOPUS" from Philippe Découflé's company DCA

I saw the piece in December 2012 in the "National Theatre Chaillot" in Paris. It is situated under the hill that face the Eiffel tower,the stair that leads to the theatre show an art deco style, add with massive and strict statues that combined with the context was, as i remember quite impressive.

« Octopus » is one of the most famous piece from Philippe Découflé and his company "DCA" It has been create in 2010.
The piece is composed with eight dancers who go through eight different scenes,a full casting of characters and, Two musicians; Nosfell and Pierre Le Bourgeois  who play all the musical atmosphere,and who surround the dancers, one on each side of the stage creating a triptych.

Surrounded by the darkness, "Octopus" highlight protean human body.
Philippe Découflé question the gender the sensuality the female role as well.The piece get ride of every known style by being inspired by all of them,a mix between fashion catwalk, Indian's god, references of cabaret ,and a tribute for Béjart's bolero revisited by the musicians.

People are still entering in the room, but this guy on stage already started ,his arms are frantically dancing on a little table , on which he, all a sudden make an "hand stand" and come back to his starting point in a continuous loop,like if his arms would be some tentacles glue to the table.
Then come on stage the well known solo "duet" that show a lady wearing a costume revealing a women and a men side in the mean time, she lie on the table and as a constant in the work of Découflé , the duet is not only what we expect, but turn into a trash scene of sex, the "table guy" meet thus this "couple" which create an awkward moment, but suddenly it's a new scene. Thanks to the beautiful tricks of the musicians the rough transitions are almost excused.
Follow an other duet nothing new but smoothly interpreted ,and a women making a recitation about the "metalanguage" which seems coming out from nowhere.
All of that is made possible thanks to many support such as special effects, magnetic sensors, projection, typical tricks like a suspended rope, and an important decor.
The next scene introduce the already known couple hanging in ropes , echoing to the sexual practice of bandage which seemed for me at first a little bit of an easy trick, that is most of the time not pushed further.

But even before i made my criticism, the dancers that were moving on stage started to play also with ropes but more like a geometrical game where the sensors on the ropes help to project the movement of it on a screen describing the motion of the body in a smart and dynamic way. Not without reminding the work that Forsyth develop around the journey of the movement.

As he like to do it often, Découflé isolate one part of the body and highlight it, here he choose the legs, walking from the dark corner appear some pair of infinite legs, a long black deer/doe is leading the horde on heels, topped with giants hairy horns.
Such as Steve Paxton or Trisha brown ,the choreograph liketo use the simple motion like walking, and it fit perfectly in this context where making more would have been overloads in my sense.

As last image of the piece and after all these different windows,the dancers are gathering around a podium on which each of them in the manner of Béjart  in his Bolero, will dance filmed by a camera on the top which give a genius kaleidoscope view of the movements, having time by time their moment of glory. 


Finally apart from few long moments and a global structure sometimes versatile , if i would use a positive word,
"Octopus" is a real anthem for the beauty in all these different shape, revealing with respect the goddess beauty of common monster, making underground creatures radiant angels.
The music is also switching from light to darkness, always giving a push when the dance part seems to get tired. I already knew Nosfell as his own performer but he succeed as well to be a part of this show, where music is, for me, as much important as the dance.

Link to the video of the piece
And if you want to know more about Nosfell!

Eliott Marmouset 





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