La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe), a theatrical creation by Phia Ménard
With La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe), performed this year at the Festival d'Avignon, Phia Ménard has created a spellbinding play about the political and moral crisis in Europe.
From circus to performance
In 1991, Phia Ménard discovered Jérôme Thomas's show Extraballe, which inspired her to train in the arts, particularly juggling. After studying with him, she joined his company as a performer. In 1998, she founded her own company, Compagnie Non Nova, with whom she has created many works, and in 2008 she developed the I.C.E. (Injonglabilité Complémentaire des Éléments) project, which aims to study fantasies of transformation and erosion through natural materials. Frequently associated with the philosopher Paul B. Preciado, she also explores notions of gender through works that critique patriarchal and neoliberal society.
La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe) is a play in three acts with no interval. In the first part, Maison Mère, a punkish, overexcited Athena erects a cardboard replica of the Parthenon, a Herculean task that takes the form of a particularly slow and laborious creative process. But the foundations of this House of Europe are too fragile and fail to protect the inhabitants of the building: a climatic cataclysm reduces the monument to ruins. Temple Père, the second act of this triptych, again revolves around the construction of an unstable tower by four slaves. This succession of performances, evoking the failings and contradictions of European construction in the form of an allegorical fable, finally ends with La Rencontre Interdite, a short epilogue that directly involves the spectators.
Learning from Athens
La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe) was commissioned by documenta 14 in Kassel in 2017. Curators Adam Szymczyk and Paul B. Preciado invited Phia Ménard to approach two themes: "Learning from Athens" and "For a Parliament of Bodies". The director and performer visited Athens, in a political context where the radical left-wing Syriza government is under supervision from Brussels. Struck by the terrible situation caused by the economic crisis, she was also moved by the outpouring of assistance from the city's inhabitants to the many migrants recently arrived in the city. She then set about translating this experience into a play that blends architectural symbols with a critique of the neoliberal direction taken by the European Union.
An international tour
La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe) was performed for the first time in its entirety at the Festival d'Avignon in 2021. Acclaimed by public and critics, La Trilogie is the result of a co-production between several national theatres, the Festival d'Avignon and the Wiener Fest Wochen, in Austria, which hosted the first international performances in August 2021.
An invitation at the Documenta, between Kassel and Athens, launched the creation of the work. Phia Ménard presented "Maison Mère », in 2017, the first tale of a triptych that invites us to think about the construction and deconstruction of Europe.
After being performed during the Festival d'Avignon 2021, La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe) will be performed on august 24, 25 and 26 at Wiener Festwochen, in Austria, with the support of the Institut français in parternship with the Ville de Nantes (city of Nantes).