Romances inciertos, un autre Orlando



In «Romances Inciertos» (Uncertain Romances) Nino Laisné and François Chaignaud create a queer homage to the Spanish Renaissance and the Baroque.

Virginia Woolf’s figure of Orlando, a soldier who wakes up one morning as a woman, is the starting point for this unconventional three-act play, which describes three well-known figures from traditional Spanish folklore. Accompanied by a virtuoso quartet for early music, François Chaignaud dances and sings about a girl that goes to war as a boy, the androgynous archangel San Miguel and the gypsy Tarara, who is neither man nor woman. Full of fervour and intransigence, one delves into centuries-old traditions – with a provoking and engaging mood. Transvestism provides sufficient leeway to claim to be someone else, thus allowing the ambiguity of the genre and gender boundaries to dissolve. The visual artist and filmmaker Nino Laisné and the dancer and choreographer François Chaignaud use «Romances Inciertos» to present a performance that interweaves traditional Iberian music and romances handed down by word of mouth into a queer epic for the other sex.





Your piece «Romances Inciertos, un autre Orlando» goes back into the history of Spanish dance and song. What was the initial idea behind this?
Nino Laisné: This performance is the result of my taste for traditional Spanish music and a big fascination for their trajectories. Over the centuries the musical pattern retained elements from the territories they crossed, and it was fascinating to observe that the characters mentioned in those repertoires were constantly re-invented, in perpetual movement, sometimes even altering their genders.

François Chaignaud: As opposed to France that has been built as a Nation and a state by the erasing of all regional languages and cultures, Spain kept a much more intimate relation to communal artistic expressions, and all their local diversity. All my dance and artistic education came from state institutions. It's been highly inspiring to meet artists and dancers for this project who crafted an incredibly sophisticated art within their community, outside any institutions. 

You must have done an incredible amount of research into different dance and song traditions. What was the most stunning and unexpected thing you found? 
NL: The research lasted several years. Living in Madrid, it was easier to travel through different regions of Spain and be in contact with these still vivid traditions. Most of them are oral traditions, so the written testimony was rather limited. One of the highlights was the village of Anguiano, which has preserved for centuries a dance given in honor of Maria-Magdalena, the village's patron saint. It is a very physical dance practiced by eight young boys riding on oblong stilts and wearing yellow skirts. A powerful and solar image. This dance was a great source of inspiration for François and me.

What sort of character is it, that is performed on stage? Is there a special common theme underlining all the different personae and roles? 
FC: As in Virgina Woolf's novel “Orlando”, the character's identity constantly transforms throughout the show. The three main figures are Doncella Guerrerra, which depicts a young girl dressed as a (male) soldier to serve her king on the war field, San Miguel, in the version by Garcia Lorca that portrays a flamboyant and voluptuous saint, and finally La tarara, an iconic figure in gipsy culture known for her excessive devotion and described in some sources as an intersex marginalized eccentric. All those characters live with an ambiguous gender identity. But mostly they are driven by an extremely intense idealism.

What, then, was the place of gender fluidity and sexuality in medieval Spain?  
NL: I don't think that at the medieval period these marginal identities were more socially integrated. Certain behaviours were even more ostracized. Nevertheless, lots of literature or epic songs were inspired by these singular destinies. Bawdy songs were a great source of information, too. It was especially enthralling to see that the concept of gender was not exclusive to our present day, but that we have brothers and sisters of past centuries.

Interview: Dominikus Müller

Konzept, Regie, Musikalische Leitung
Nino Laisné | Konzept, Choreografie François Chaignaud | Gesang, Tanz François Chaignaud | Bandoneon Jean-Baptiste Henry | Viola da Gamba Robin Pharo | Theorbe, Barock-Gitarre Pablo Zapico | Historische, traditionelle Perkussion Pere Olivé | Lichttechnik, Leitung Bühne Anthony Merlaud | Tontechniker Tournee Charles-Alexandre Englebert | Kostümdesign Carmen Anaya, Kevin Auger, Séverine Besson, María Ángel Buesa Pueyo, Caroline Dumoutiers, Pedro García, Carmen Granell, Manuel Guzmán, Isabel López, María Martinez, Tania Morillo Fernández, Helena Petit, Elena Santiago | Bühne Marie Maresca | Malerei Fanny Gaudreau | Bildbearbeitung Remy Moulin, Marie B. Schneider | Tischlerei Christophe Charamond, Emanuel Coelho | Produktion, Administration Barbara Co y, Jeanne Lefèvre, Clémentine Rougier | Touring Sarah De Ganck – Art Happens | Leitende Produktion Vlovajob Pru & Chambre 415 | Koproduktion Bonlieu Scène nationale Annecy (FR), La Bâtie. Festival de Genève (CH) | Gefördert durch das FEDER Programm INTERREG Frankreich-Schweiz 2014 – 2020, Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse (FR), deSingel (BE), Maison de la musique de Nanterre (FR), Arsenal. Cité musicale-Metz (FR)


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