La Saison Théâtrale I The Theatre Season

2015 2016

The Theatre Season took place during one year in the vicinity of an outdoor stage located in a public park in Helsinki. The project consists of twelve ‘pieces’, tautologically named after the month during which they take place: (Piece of May, Piece of June …). The Theatre Season project addresses questions like: How is it possible to affect a spectator with the aporetic staging of a phenomenon such climate change which is invisible and perceptually resistant? How can one experience this resistance to representation and perception through scenic endeavor? How, through the critical repositioning of human theatrical mastery within the spectral presence of the anthropocenic catastrophe (Morton), can contemporary ecotheatre (Chaudhuri) revisit the notion of ‘landscape play’ (Stein)? In French “le temps” means both time and weather. In addition, the singular form has a final s which points at a plurality within the singularity. The project The Theatre Season explores at the same ‘time’ and through different spectatorial timings what kind of theatricality one can project, experience, or miss, on, with and from this infra-staging of the seasons.

The Theatre Season is based on a double dramaturgy: 1. A readymade strategy which consists of inviting spectators during a whole year to experience this outdoor theatrical apparatus per se and the perception of the metamorphosis of its close environment as an evolving ongoing ‘piece’ in medias res. 2. A monthly production of a gesture of mise-en-scène on the site is carried out every first morning of a new month by adding a narrative element in relation to the original function of the site, the staging of outdoor pieces,  and according to the artistic identity of Roumagnac, i.e. theatre director. Prepared or residual scenographic elements (e.g costumes in May, fragments of decor in December…), remnants from past events or settings for future representations, partial modifications of the stage (e.g. paint renewing in July) or of its close surroundings (e.g. addition of artificial flowers in June), are some of the stategies used to mark or trace the site with an expired or forthcoming theatrical performance.

The Theatre Season was the first experiment of the research project on temporal turn in contemporary theatre on the brink of ecological collapse. The project questioned and developed a practice of eco-theatre within the actuality of rethinking and revising, through a time-specific perspective, the interconnection in between theatre and ecology in the time of the acknowledgement of the Anthropocene. Hence The Theatre Season critically engaged with the potentiality of an eco-dramaturgy based on the alternative temporality of staging/spectating outdoor theatre pieces and on the relational double regime of attentiveness and revenance.