Théâtre de l’Ange Fou, Entangled Lives

Review in Issue 13-1 | Spring 2001

Corinne Soum and Steven Wasson were the last assistants to the great mime impresario and pioneer Étienne Decroux and in 1984 set up the acclaimed Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique. I came to watch their work therefore with great anticipation – would they live up to my expectations?

What I found most refreshing about their latest piece Entangled Lives (their 17th project to date) was the pure energy. It was a joy to see such strong, charismatic performers, four men and four women all dressed in white, with little to distract from their oozing passion. The sparseness allowed one to concentrate on the power of their movement and the series of very intricate, detailed and heartfelt body impulses they created before us. It is difficult to describe it as choreography: it is more like body patterns undulating up and down, like a river or waves, sometimes gentle, sometimes rippling, sometimes surging up together and then crashing back into the sea again.

The piece was inspired by the poetry of French writer Jean Tardieu and the performers integrated their speaking of text (in seven different languages) in a compelling and often very funny way. Their ensemble work was superb but I wanted to get nearer the performers, to get inside their world, I wanted more.

The brave minimalism was spoilt for me by a small video screen hanging nominally from the balcony at Hoxton Hall showing pictures of distorted faces at the start, and at the end, of a Gandhi-like character (was it Gandhi?) with crowds hugging each other to 1930s dance music. The strength of Étienne Decroux was surely in his research into the possibilities of the human body as performer – and not into the use of video technology. To use video at all was therefore, in the words of Tardieu, a glimpse of madness stealing into the heart of my soul.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-1
p. 25