• zoomL’Âme au diable
    L’Âme au diable © David Desmet
  • zoomL’Âme au diable
    L’Âme au diable © David Desmet
  • zoomL’Âme au diable
    L’Âme au diable © David Desmet
  • zoomL’Âme au diable
    L’Âme au diable © David Desmet
  • zoomL’Âme au diable
    L’Âme au diable © David Desmet

L’Âme au diable

Synopsis

L’Âme au diable (which could be translated as ‘Devil Take My Soul’) premiered at the Théâtre de la Balsamine, in Brussels, in 1994.  Danced by Lucius Romeo-Fromm and Matteo Moles to music by Ivan Georgiev and with sets by Trudo Engels, the work was inspired by popular readings of the Faust myth and Christopher Marlowe’s play, only to stray from them.  The choreographer took up a less literal connection with dramatization than he did in his first three works (La Grâce du tombeur, Éros délétère and Sang de chêne), giving it the status of a ‘subdance’ (as one speaks of a ‘subtext’ in the theatre).  Consequently, movement itself took wing, mixing classical vocabulary, modern techniques, a contemporary approach, and ethnic quotations in no preferential order within work that focused on choreographic composition, which would become the central element of his next creations, Surprise and Soirée dansante.
The work was divided into three acts corresponding to the three high points of the myth, namely, Le Pacte (the pact that Faust signs with Mephistopheles), Les Sept Péchés capitaux (the seven deadly sins in which Faust indulges), and L’Enfer (Hell, where his journey ends).  Sexual allusions were everywhere, in a cabaret style that by definition is the antithesis of ‘haute culture’.  The relationship between the two dancers was one of attraction and repulsion, with a sado-masochistic dynamics combining pleasure and pain.  In many respects this work was a manifesto of the camp sensitivity that was characteristic of many of the creations of homosexual artists, containing a mixture of artificial aesthetics, exacerbated theatricality, black irony, and frivolous humour.  The work quickly became a sort of cult production, as its radical aesthetics both left its stamp on people’s minds and prevented its broad dissemination. 

Press

Press

"L'Âme au diable wakens our senses - meanings and sensations. But above all, beyond homoerotism and in the heart of paroxysm, it evokes at each moment the power of dance, a harsh hymn to the imperious and fragile body in that moment on stage."
Marie Baudet, La Libre Belgique, 10/1/2002

They followed each other inside the red upholstered box.  To ‘delight’ their flesh, to exceed their limits, to turn their destiny upside down.  One is none other than Faust, sweet and proud prey for the devouring mouth of the other: the royally tempted Mephisto.  Moulded in tight scarlet satin, they approach each other slowly as an infernal tic-tack begins.  Soon, they will seal the pact with a fatal kiss, linking their destinies forever.  But before melting the last illusions in perpetual hell, Faust and Mephisto satisfy their thirst for knowledge, plunging into the circle of the seven capital pleasures.The dance that Thierry Smits has injected into the veins of his actors is intense, leaving not a second of respite.  His choreography, simultaneously geometric and animal, flattens the bodies to the ground, sculpts their momentum, summons them to a sensual battle which vascilates between fusion and duel, breaks the gestural reflexes, liberates the desires for autonomy of arms, head or legs.  Unusual and baroque, the author of "La Grâce du tombeur", "Eros délétère" and "Sang de chêne" assumes this audacity. Of staggering mastery, suppleness and generosity, Matteo Moles and Lucius Romeo-Fromm, magnetic and suave, embody prodigiously the fantasies of the choreographer. A perfect alchemy that gives the spectator the illusion of seeing two souls in danger dance, palpitate and intermingle before his eyes. The beautiful and ephemeral soul of two men fluctuating between good and evil. 

Extract of an article by Christelle Prouvost, Le Soir, June 25th, 1994

Tour

Tour

Première 29/01/1994 Vooruit Gent
22/06/1994-02/07/1994 Théâtre de la Balsamine Bruxelles
09/09/1994 CC Luchtbal Antwerpen
17, 18/06/1995 Festival de teatro Gay y lesbico Barcelona (ES)
07/01/2002-23/01/2002 Théâtre Varia Bruxelles
05,06/03/2002 De Velinx Tongeren
19/03/2002-30/03/2002 Théâtre de l'Ancre Charleroi
22,23,24/11/20002 Teatri di Vita Bologna (IT)
27/11/2002-30/11/2002 Les Tanneurs Bruxelles
06,07/12/2002 CNCDC Chateauvallon Oullioules( FR)
08,09/01/2003 Théâtre du Lierre (Festival Faits D'Hiver) Paris (FR)
01,02/11/2003

Stadsschouwburg Groningen/Kruithuis

Groningen (NL)

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