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L'apres-midi d'un Foehn review


Jean-Luc Beaujault
'L'apre-midi d'un Foehn'


Fans of film 'American Beauty' will be able to understand some of the strange appeal of this show. No, it's not about a father played by Kevin Spacey who goes through a mid-life crisis and almost has an affair with his daughter's friend. It's about plastic bags.

For the people who haven't seen Sam Mendes's Oscar-winning movie, there's a moment where we're shown a home video of a bag floating in the wind. It dances and sways almost as if it's alive. That is exactly what happens in this piece from Company Non Nova, just with more bags.

There are seven fans arranged in a circle and a heavy jacketed, winter hat-wearing man (director and choreographer Phia Menard) sits in the circle and looks at us sombrely before turning his attention to a small red plastic bag on the floor in front of him. He makes some little cuts, sticks some extra plastic bits onto the bag, crumples it up and leaves it in the circle before switching the fans on.

It's extraordinary the grace and beauty which emerges from something which is usually seen as either a plague on the planet or your weekly shopping-aid. The bags look like little people as they dance to a beautiful Debussy soundtrack. More and more are thrown into the circle by the strange, silent magician figure and the movements change: the bags swirl and waltz together as you watch, most-likely slack-jawed.

At times it's often difficult to believe the bags aren't remote controlled. They move in time with the music, lifting and falling as the score does. But this is a completely improvised performance which has just been cleverly prepared.

And that's it. Twenty five minutes of dancing plastic bags: a little burst of surprise, which would only be found somewhere like the Edinburgh fringe festival. 


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