To The Heart : Children’s Comments

After two weeks of rehearsal, and a 3-day rest, it was the first time for the group of To The Heart directed by Thierry Thieû Niang to rehearse with music at Invisible Dog Art Center. A discussion followed.

Tell us about your experience working with Thierry, the use of the text, and being together in this adventure.

Ivy (16 yr) : Today, it was the first time we did it with the music. Thierry is the master of the timing, but the music added energy and helped keep tracks of the performance. I see this piece as an emotional experience rather than a concrete story or a thesis.

Melchior (17 yr) : Thierry is the choreographer. To The Heart is like a large puzzle with 15 individual pieces — we are all different in age and size, with different ways to move – each of us is one piece of the puzzle that comes together. The rehearsal is repetition, but it is different each time you do it and you are free to experiment with the movement.

In school, I read Incendies (Scorched) by Wadji Mouawad ; he said the actor makes the piece and it is kind of the same thing here. Thierry does not compose the movement ; instead we do the movement.

Theodore (14yr) : Thierry gave instructions but we were free to explore. We need to have a lot of imagination, we are not passive ; we are encouraged to do something original rather than basic. We have to explore and keep on exploring. It is not over.

When we worked with the objects, we were free to choose one object, and then another one, so the exploration was each time different.

Louis (16 yr) : The text is like a poem for which you don’t count the syllable. It is free, free hand, so it doesn’t follow a structure. It refers to Greek myths and the real life, the experience of the refugees. It was an interesting, perfect metaphor.

Claudia (8 yr) : Today’s rehearsal : it was the best one we did it with the text. I would give a 10.

Laurice (15 yr) : Each time someone speaks is a different story. It was not an answer to what was said before.

Melchior : He said it is a poem but it is more of a story to me. It is a story to me that needs to be told ; one that happens every day and it is tragic.

Ivy : The text that comes at the end is like bringing all the pieces of the performance together. Throughout the piece, you see broken toys, and lost children, abandoned bodies, and when we say the text, it is like a moment of closure for the audience because you hear all that you have seen before loud.

Blair (17 yr) : Referring to the themes of the piece - Immigrants, refugees, despair and hopelessness, and loneliness — the experience allows us to have better understanding of a world that is not ours. The piece is symbolic. It is not a realist experience of children as refugees, but in the piece, we bring feelings and emotions.

Mathis (9 yr) : It is interesting and energetic. We had to be constantly focused on what would happen next all the time. If you are not focused and you don’t know what comes next, you can look at what some else is doing and follow. It happened to me the 3rd day of rehearsal… but I looked at the others and followed.

Theodore (14 yr) : In NY, there are many refugees, even in my school, refugees that left their countries because of the war. I don’t not know exactly what they experience as a run-away or a refugee. My friend, a refugee, showed me photos of the city where he lived, the city is destroyed and it now more than a chaos. It was interesting for me to experience these themes.

Claudia : It is a way to experience being a refugee and it is also an experience for the audience.

Violette (13 yr) : In the context of the performance, the text makes sense.

Each cast member understands the text differently and has his or her own interpretation of it. When we were going through the text, I chose the part that I felt connected with. I chose the one with a line about the ghost that haunted me… “Are you not going to abandon me ? Are you not going to turn your back on me when ghosts danced around me, and terrifying me…” For the movements, it is the same ; each person interprets the movements as they want, and each stands out. Also it is really nice : Thierry gives us directions and then allows us to improvise and make it our own.

Hermence (8yr) : I like being on stage because I’m with lots of kids and teenagers and we help each other, learning to fall on stage and learning to trust my partner who must hold me. I like the part in the performance where we are puppets. I’m scared to perform in front of an audience because I’m shy.

Dahlia (11 yr) : It is a good experience. It is really unique. It had to do with energy. I am always in deep thought and concentration when we are doing it. Thierry asked us to have certain ideas but then we had to make the details. He didn’t give us any timing or anything. We had to make it up ourselves. Sometimes he gave us ideas and sometimes he gave us movements.

Also everyone bonds real well. We have never experienced this kind of weird work so we are all having this experience together.

What is the part that motivated you the most ? To get my energy out. To be with other kids. To get into a focused, centered place

Thank you Thierry, Simon, Lucien, the kids and teens.

Cultural Services French Embassy in the United States - Photo C. Courchel

Voir en ligne : Retrouvez ces entretiens sur le site de l’Ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis

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