With bOing! 2016 only a week away, Cie Akselere have been here putting the finishing touches to their beautiful new show Grandfather’s House. We caught up with them and asked director Colette Garrigan a few questions about the piece.
How has the process of creating the piece been so far? Have there been any challenges?
I started thinking about the theme a year ago, as I’ve always loved Chagall’s work. I saw a picture drawn in 1923, called Grandfather’s House. In the picture, the Grandfather is sat on the roof of his house drinking a pint of beer, while the grandmother is in the garden looking for him.
I have a grandfather clock, built by my own grandfather, that no longer works. I looked at it and thought that it had to be the start of something! The actual clock is now featured in the show, as a large part of the set. It is an object that is full of soul.
My grandfather lived in Reepham, Norfolk. To me, Grandfather’s House is a dream-like visit back to Reepham. It’s linked to Chagall through the drawing, and the show features lots of shadows and silhouettes inspired by his work.
There’s also lots of circus themes in Chagall’s work, which inspired the raked seating we’ve made for the show, with the circus space between. This inspired the relationship between the audience and the show, it’s very cosy and intimate in the space.
The main challenge has been that Grandfather’s House has very little script! I didn’t want to over-complicate the piece for young children. Therefore the script is mainly stage directions, rather than lines.
What’s been your favourite bit of creating the show so far?
Seeing it come together. Cie Akselere is not a theatre-based company, so we don’t have a fixed rehearsal space. Seeing it all come together here in this room, that’s my favourite bit.
Have you managed to explore Canterbury? What have you enjoyed?
It was a beautiful summer’s day when we went into the town on Sunday. I really enjoyed taking the bus into the city and travelling down the river on a river tour.
What are you looking forward to at bOing!?
I’m looking forward to seeing these seats full at the show! My close family and friends are coming, and it will be nice to catch the other companies at the festival too.
Can you describe Grandfather’s House in three words?
A journey home. I’ve spent the last 25 years working in France, so bringing a show to Britain and opening it here is huge for me.
Cie Askelere is made up of Colette Garrigan, Laura Muller and Antoine Quoniam. The company is based in Caen, Normandy. Grandfather’s House is a new commission, which will premiere at bOing!
You can catch Grandfather’s House as part of bOing! Festival, Sat 27 & Sun 28 Aug. Tickets £6, or £5 if booked as part of the bOing! Offer.