Nicole Mossoux created her latest solo in Paris, opening the International Biennale of Marionettes.
Whispers are internal murmurings transmitted by phantoms that can inhabit us without warning. Certain come from very far away. They move across the subconscious, always waiting to ambush, in search of a breath of air. When we call them to the stage, when they find an unguarded opening, they produce strange squeaky whistles, words or movements that seem to come from nowhere. The murmuring we hear is strangely grotesque.
This is what Nicole and her long time acolyte Patrick Bonté offer us here. Yet Mossoux, bolstered by Mikha Wajnrych’s sound-objects, goes further still into her haunted Flemish character. Internal voices take the shape of objects, of clothing, even parts of her own body that escape all attempts to control them. Like her great classic Twin Houses, she manipulates in order to create the illusion of being manipulated.
Alone on stage but incarnating women from different epochs along with their obsessions, Mossoux knows how to generate wonder and stupefaction. The subconscious shivers under wigs from diverse periods, fears arise when faced with uncontrollable movements under skirts, terror when a white night gown becomes a phantom itself and horror when knitting needles become a story about abortion. Whether a statue with a white face or a model wearing sunglasses, this woman trembles. It is only when she begins to dance that she finds unity of being.
Nicole Mossoux and Patrick Bonté do not cease their dialogue with painters from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. This time it all begins with a caustic nod to the Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck. But the references also relate to their own creations - like the troubling tableau of doubling which is a very concrete reference to Twin Houses, a classic within the company repertoire. Whispers demonstrates the virtues of a prolonged research into the art of the burlesque. The corporeal murmurings that traverse the piece and its characters resonate in our heads for a long time after…
Thomas Hahn, Danser Canal Historique / May 2015
In 2008, at the first-ever Manipulate, Compagnie Mossoux-Bonte, from Belgium, were harbingers of what (we hoped) lay ahead for the festival. That earlier production, Light, was a tour-de-force of shadow-play and shape-shifting deceptions. Whispers, their current show, sees Nicole Mossoux again morphing with seemingly boneless agility from one form to another, as if her body was a conduit for all manner of homeless, wandering souls. The soundscore creaks, crunches and screeches with a nightmarish brutality, while Mossoux – with a deft twitch of her costume, a dislocation of her limbs – portrays echoes of past griefs, seductions, abuses and even Vermeer-like poised domesticity. Sometimes grotesquely unpleasant, but never less than compelling.
Mary Brennan, The Herald / January 2017