In 1902 the writer Robert Walser wrote the remarkable play Der Teich (The Pond). The protagonist, Fritz, feels totally unloved and fakes his own death by drowning in order to gain some sort of approval for his existence from the reactions of his parents and siblings. Transposed into contemporary French and directed by choreographer Gisèle Vienne, this short, utterly unsettling family drama becomes a study of power relations. The two actors Adèle Haenel and Henrietta Wallberg show, with disquieting precision, how normative authority becomes inscribed in bodies and voices. They move in slow motion through a white sterile space in which intense changes in lighting and distorted sound exaggerate every occurrence. While the multiple award-winning Haenel flits between the various children’s roles, Wallberg embodies the abusively violent roles of the parents. A claustrophobic gem resplendent with stunning acting.
Gisèle Vienne, Robert Walser
L’ÉTANG / DER TEICH