Pascal Rambert talks about his (micro) history of the world, danced

French director Pascal Rambert talks about his acclaimed exploration of the economy

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Time Out New York: What else are you working on right now?
Pascal Rambert:
I just did a piece called Memento Mori, which tours a lot now. It’s a piece in total blackness. I work a lot in total blackness, and it’s this thing I did with Yves Godin, who does all the lights for Boris Charmatz. We did this piece, which is in total blackness—really—and I did it with beautiful guys coming from Helsinki totally naked onstage and little by little you see. You can’t tell what you see. It’s almost not my piece. I can almost say that it’s a piece of Yves, because of the light and no light. We are just performing it now in Moscow in December. It’s really something that I want to bring here, because after what I showed with Kate and Jim, I also want to show this kind of work.

Time Out New York: Why do you have 50 people in (micro) history?
Pascal Rambert:
It was exactly right, this number. In Gennevilliers, the space is so big. So it was a good number, not too many. They come dressed as they are in normal life. I tell them to be colorful. But not too much, because there is a tendency in contemporary dance to be in flashy pink, bright yellow, blah, blah, blah, and I’m also a little bored by this colorful system that we all do. I see that with Jérôme. [Laughs] Everybody’s with T-shirts. Since it’s now a little bit of a cliché of contemporary dance to be in colorful outfits, I tell them to be in color, but not too much. Like they are in daily life.

Time Out New York: Do you have dancers in the piece?
Pascal Rambert:
I think there are one or two. When I see them moving, I can tell that they have a consciousness of their bodies. I have to tell you, you have old ladies who are like, “I’m a choreographer, I’m a dancer.” Okay. People struggle for years in New York doing community theater.… I remember when I started working in New York in the ’80s and teaching at NYU, I was amazed by people saying, “I’m a choreographer, I’m a dancer.” For me, it took almost 30 years.… don’t say it! It’s like when you go to Berlin, and everybody’s doing video. No! But the city is also like that. Sometimes in a culture, it’s a way to express. When I did the writing sessions in Tokyo, Japanese people are not trained to speak of themselves. But in New York, everybody’s trying—through the university to write papers and to be really expressive.

Time Out New York: That kind of behavior is so weird to me.
Pascal Rambert:
You see? I have been working in Japan for ten years. It’s a culture that I know well, and America also. I did eight different versions of Closing of Love throughout the world. Right after the American version, I went to Zagreb, and they are still performing it all the time. Right after Zagreb, I did the Italian version, which is touring all over Italy. And I did a Russian version. It’s also in the repertory and they are performing it all the time. Each time I go to Moscow, it is full. Now I am doing the Japanese version in Tokyo. I’ll do the German version in Berlin. There are something like 20 translations through the world. Now there is a version of (micro) history here. I was saying that because it’s really strong to see the way of people and body theater. For me, it’s not a question of money or to multiply the project. I don’t need that. It’s just so great to see people and bodies—the art of theater or the art of dance. Pavol [Liska, codirector of Nature Theater of Oklahoma with Kelly Copper] and I swore something: We want to continue to work until we are 98. We have so many things to do. [Gleeful laugh] Like two old pappies, we will work till we are 98.

Pascal Rambert is at La MaMa E.T.C. Oct 11–13.

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