The stage as utopia
The stage is an autonomous place. It creates a metaphoric alphabet of which we know the letters and sometimes the syntax, but never its deepest meaning. It's ambition is to be a place where a human being may escape from himself in order to find himself otherwise. It sounds out the obscure obsessional depths of our age. The stage is not to be reduced by its surface nor by the skin of the actors that weigh upon it. It is an instrument of perspective which indicates the vanishing point within the minds of the audience. The action, if there is any, always happens behind, beyond what the eye can see.
Traditional theater slows the articulation of the actor so that the text is perceptible at the thirty-fifth row, while the stage, even when it is slow, is above all else a place for an acceleration of spirit, of sensitive shocks, amazement, an obstinate contestation of what is real, of phantasms. It is home to many a reversal and the insurrection of self against self. It is a place for working on what is forbidden, untouchable, unspeakable, the paradoxical image, the unpredictable associations of sensation and thought.
The stage is a place of disappearance, of the effacement of faculties born out of the rational - but be aware: the heart of the irrational and the visceral circulates in ways that we have too often learned to be deceived by and then reassured by. All comportment on the stage, even if it touches us because of how it closely resembles how we are deeply inside ourselves, must not resemble anything. It is a place of invention, for an upheaval of the essential. The text is optional; it's import is secondary in what concerns us. The representation must be conceived of as an exploration of unexpected forms that trouble our logic and expectations.
The stage doesn't work through myths anymore, it can no longer create them, but it can exhume archetypes, update the obsessions and the dread, unfasten a bit of shadow from the wall at night where humanity is at rest.
Patrick Bonté • 2003
Rencontres et décalages, Editions La lettre Volée/Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté, excerpt