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Theater Du Soleil

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by

Ernesto Ruiz

on 12 April 2011

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Transcript of Theater Du Soleil

Théâtre du Soleil is a innovative Parisian stage ensemble founded by Ariane Mnouchkine, Philippe Léotard and fellow students of the L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in 1964 as a collective of theatre artists devoted to the pursuit of an intercultural, popular form of theatre utilising improvisation, masks and pantomime.

Mnouchkine and her company engage in Intercultural Performance Studies, examining Traditional Oriental Theatre forms to incorporate into their production ideas, supported by the theories on mime, movement and gesture she learned with Jacques Lecoq. Le Théâtre du Soleil is located at an old munitions factory complex in the Vincennes area of eastern Paris.

The company creates new theatrical works using a devising process based on utilising physical theatre and improvisation. Its main purpose, unchanged since 1968, is to inspire a new relationship between the theatre and the public and to be distinguished from théâtre bourgeois, creating a more popular, transcendental, universal form of theatre Ariane Mnouchkine Ariane Mnouchkine (born 1939 in France) is a world-renowned French stage director. She founded the Parisian stage ensemble Théâtre du Soleil in 1964.

She has written and directed 1789 (1974) and Molière (1978), and in 1989, she directed La Nuit Miraculeuse. She holds a Chair of Artistic Creation at the Collège de France , and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Oxford, awarded 18 June 2008 . Running the Company The company built its process, based on the concept of a theatre company as a tribe or a family, a community of equal citizens: everyone receives the same wages, and the workday follows a schedule to which all actors, musicians and production assistants rigorously accommodate. The final casting or distribution of roles for all productions is decided upon only after all the performers in a production improvise, practice and audition numerous (if not all the) roles.

No principal roles or lead actors are defined in its productions. Hélène Cixous, a French feminist author–philosopher, has been associated with the company as its principal playwright since the late 1970s or early 80s, writing and scoring the vast majority of the company's recent productions through a collaborative process, which develops through the improvisational exercises of the performers during any 9- to 12-month rehearsal period for a production. This writing process lends itself to productions of extended length, sometimes ranging between 3 and 6 hours in duration. Typical Staging Théâtre du Soleil's productions are often performed in unconventional venues such as barns or gymnasiums, as Mnouchkine does not like being confined to a typical stage. Similarly, she feels theatre cannot be restricted with the "fourth wall". While the official native stage of the company is a typical proscenium/thrust stage, the theatre space is marked by specific communal innovations, like open seating (i.e., without reservations), an expansive music space (stage-right) devoted to the live orchestrations of the company's principal composer and solo musician Philippe Léotard, and a large open lobby or social space where audience and actors convene before, after and during intermissions of each show to get refreshments and engage in conversation.

When audiences enter a Mnouchkine production, they have the opportunity to peek through holes in the large, canvas curtain separating the audience space from the actor space, to observe the actors preparing (e.g., putting on make-up, getting into costume, warming up, etc.) Sometimes, the troupe develops ideas out of improvisational exercises. They also incorporate multiple styles of theatre in their work - ranging from commedia dell'arte to Eastern forms such as Butoh, Noh, and Bunraku ( Recent Performances Tambours sur la Digue, 1999-2002 Moliere
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