CARTE BLANCHE TO MARIE BÉLAND – THOUGHTS ON THE REALITY OF FICTION

CARTE BLANCHE TO MARIE BÉLAND – THOUGHTS ON THE REALITY OF FICTION

Marie Béland – maribé – sors de ce corps
© Jean-François Brière

For 15 years, Marie Béland has choreographed seemingly carefree works, in which the body exceeds the dance: real bodies, daily bodies, ordinary bodies are at the core of a subtle and complex choreographic organisation, setting the background for a profound contemplation of human nature and of social relationships.

« What relationship does performing art entertain with fiction? In my work, I have often sought to come closer to a certain « reality »: by having the performers play themselves, by crossing the proverbial fourth wall, by referring to the work within the work itself, and so on. My ambition in adopting these strategies was to bridge the distance between art and artist, audience and life. In the end, however, this distance remains, and raises an increasing number of questions for me.

This question of what is true, of what is real, is not new: as far back as the 18th century, the idea of a 4th wall appeared in the theatre, precisely so actors could turn their backs to the audience, thereby creating a more « believable » performance. This is the paradox that continues to inhabit and inform performing art today. The codes and devices it employs, even those seeking to liberate the body, give the body its fabricated character. What, then, is the « authentic » body, when each of our behaviours is dictated by learned processes? Furthermore, is a body untrained in the codes of performance necessarily more free?

In my opinion, the stage may merely be a frame placed around the constructed and artificial aspect of our lives. Between the stage and life, there exists a continuum of truths and falsehoods in which art contains many truths, and life is predictable, dictated by many scores. Everything is true onstage: the presence of artists and spectators gathered together, the immediate and unmediated experience of the work, the uniqueness of the moment, which can never be reproduced in identical fashion. And everything is false: the artifice and decorum of performance, the score of the work, which no matter what degree of randomness it allows, is always a text to be played.  Is this not also our daily lot? Is not our day-to-day existence a complex entwinement of reality and fiction? This makes the concept of reality quite relative. We could say that the most « realistic » performance is the one which most closely portrays reality (which one?) or daily existence (whose?). And yet, the most complex danced movement also portrays a reality, no less valid though more unusual, and shared at least by those who can execute it (the dancers).

Thus, performance is always as relevant to me in its way of reflecting what we are, even our ambiguous and paradoxical relationship to reality and truth. »

Marie Béland

BESIDE
COPRODUCTION : MARIBÉ – SORS DE CE CORPS; MONTRÉAL DANSE. PARTNERS : CARDIFF DANCE FESTIVAL AND DANCE 4 NOTTINGHAM