West Coast Premiere
“Gala forces audience expectations to the fore and blurs the lines between failure and success in performance as it suggests that theater is community, both onstage and off. It’s a tour de force, wildly entertaining and truly radical.” —The New York Times
Gala offers a different approach to dance. In this collective art form, choreographer Jérôme Bel brings together dance professionals and amateurs of diverse backgrounds. The diversity of the acts never calls on us to pass judgement, but they reveal the way in which each person’s cultural repertoire involves him or her in a singular relationship with that desire for something else other than dance — joy, accomplishment, transcendence perhaps?
As with his previous works, Disabled Theater, a piece performed by a troupe of mentally challenged actors, and Cour d’honneur, which put a group of spectators center stage, Bel uses the same question as a starting point for Gala — how can we bring to the stage a representation of individuals and bodies that are all too often excluded from it in order to enlarge the perimeter of performance and reshape it so all those drawn to the performing arts can participate?
To make this piece accessible to amateurs and provide them with the opportunity to give their all and make the project their own, Bel chose that most ‘commonplace’ of theatrical experiences — the gala. The result is a gala that is bitty, patched up, traversed by moments of reflection, like galleries of living portraits. With its “Fail again. Fail better” emphasis, Gala goes from one theatre to the next, like “a mirror taking a stroll by the side of a road,” and brings home to us something about the making of those we are watching as well as the way we watch.
Gala was co-produced with Dance Umbrella (London), TheaterWorks Singapore/72-13, KunstenFestivaldesArts (Brussels), Tanzquartier Wien, Nanterre-Amandiers Centre Dramatique National, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Theater Chur (Chur) and TAK Theater Liechtenstein (Schaan) - TanzPlan Ost, Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), La Commune Centre dramatique national d’Aubervilliers, Tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf), House on Fire with the support of the European Union cultural program
Photo Credit: Josefina Tommasi