Everything on the stage is alive… the actors and the dancers aren’t there to “create” pictures… the stage picture is an object with its own existence, hinting at the inexpressible, a thing of dreams, made of movement, gesture, object, rhythm, light… Patrick Bonté, interview with Dorothy Max Prior, author of Animated Bodies: A Review of Puppetry and Related Arts
Nicole Mossoux and Patrick Bonté were born in Brussels, in the same year (1956), just a few months apart. Nicole Mossoux studied in Maurice Bejart’s Mudra School (founded in Brussels, 1970–1988) and became a dancer-choreographer; Patrick Bonté studied philosophy, literature and dramatic interpretation and became a playwright and director. In 1985 the two artists met; driven by their common ambition to “create a meaningful stage image”, they joined forces giving shape to the Mossoux-Bonté Company. A yin-yang, bipolar company, one pole leaning towards choreography, the other more theatrically inclined. A very Belgian affair, wholly identifiable with a country of two main communities, two main languages (where streets -and even cities- have two names), two different cultures and sensibilities.
Since its creation, the Mossoux-Bonté Company has been exploring different themes in performances where language, structure, movement and expression adjust to the theme of each project, with one common denominator: imagination. In their quest to explore the interior world, they brought together a number of very atmospheric performances balancing on the borderline between dance and theatre. Les buveuses de café is one them: an intimate dialogue between bodies and elements, a social commentary expressed in silent, slow gestures and movements.
Two elegant women, dressed up identically in statement Chanel-esque deux-pièces, take their coffee in a windowless living room, adorned with thick velvet curtains and carpet. Obsessed with perfection, they lead comfortable, routine, symmetrical lives. Until something goes wrong… small glitches sneak in their neat fragile bubble and the symmetry gives way to *anomaly*/the unexpected. While their world is breaking apart, a third character emerges as if through a dark, ambient dream.
A first version of ”The coffee drinkers” was created in March 2011 for the Biennale de danse du Val de Marne, Paris. The performance lasted 30 minutes and toured extensively, in combination with other short pieces.
Subsequently, it has been developed into a longer sequence with the addition of a new character (The fish eater) which, together with the light and sound settings, contributed greatly to the dreamy, Lynchian, theatrical quality of the piece.
Les buveuses de café was part of the Brigittines International Festival 2013, held in August. Les Brigittines is an historical chapel built in 1667, beautifully restored to become today the Contemporary Arts Centre for Movement. Incidentally its artistic director is none other than Patrick Bonté himself!
Performed by: Leslie Mannès, Maxence Rey, Frauke Mariën.
For this and other performances, check the Cie Mossoux Bonté tour page.