The narrative’s prequel could be the Millennium Bug, the so-called catastrophe which should have deleted the whole memory of the 20th century.
The text then randomly restores the chronology of the erased century as the various pieces of the puzzle recover from their amnesia in anarchic confusion.
Seven naïve childish voices discover, in an intricate chronology, the events of the century that deeply forged the European identity: technological progress and atrocities on the one hand, great ideologies and social changes on the other, are mixed up together.
From a four-metre-high vantage point, the audience is thus leaning over this memory gap and experience the same kind of vertigo as the characters.
The audience is offered to experience this account of the 20th century as if they were archaeologists who, bended over an excavation pit, would be digging out the buried bits of our History.
“The americans who fell in Normandy in 1944 were tall men measuring 173 centimeters on average, and if they were laid head to foot they would measure 38 kilometers. The Germans were tall too, while the tallest of all were the senegalese fusiliers in the First World War who measured 176 centimeters, and so they were sent into battle on the front of lines in order to scare the Germans.”
Based in Toulouse since 1996, artistic director Solange Oswald and visual artist Joseph Fesel lead with Groupe Merci experiences criss-crossing drama, poetry and plastic arts: what they call their “Nocturnal Objects”. They like to explore non-theatrical grounds together and create journey-like performances to immerse the audience into.
What is at stake on Groupe Merci’s stage is a dialogue between the dramaturgy of texts by living authors and that of space. An upsurge. It is all about having the contemporary poem unexpectedly heard, under the light of unusual places: a camp in La Mastication des morts (text by Patrick Kermann, tour currently resumed), an installation-cum-form in À notre chère disparue, la Démocratie (created in 2011), a four-metre-high pit in Europeana…
Yves Marc in La Dépêche du Midi, 01/02/2009