As in previous years, audacity, experimentation and hybrid practices are the watchwords for the fifteen works selected for this twelfth edition of New Settings, which follows an international call for projects by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. Ten of them are new creations that went into production in 2022. These are joined by five others: four from the two previous years’ editions that were postponed due to the pandemic, and a fifth that will be revived in Lyon after a successful run in Paris in 2021.
In the autumn, the programme opens with Éléphant, an exploration of raw sounds that seem to emerge from time immemorial by Moroccan dancer and choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen, and a pared-down staging of L'Homosexuel ou la difficulté de s'exprimer by the Argentinian playwright Copi, in a groundbreaking production by Thibaud Croisy. Belgian circus artist and dancer Alexander Vantournhout explores masculinity in a highly physical solo in the wickedly titled VanThorhout, while American dancer and choreographer Meg Stuart shares a sense of urgency in the face of temporal collapse in Cascade, with a set design by Philippe Quesne. Quesne is also the director of two further pieces presented this year: a theatrical obsession with pianos, Fantasmagoria, and the science-fiction-based Cosmic Drama. In Suite No. 4, Joris Lacoste, Pierre-Yves Macé, Sébastien Roux and the Ensemble Ictus add another entry to their Encyclopédie de la Parole with an opus that focuses on the musicality of the voice. Finally, two projects with a more plastic dimension bring the autumn season to a close: South African choreographer, performer and visual artist Steven Cohen invites us to his Boudoir, while visual artist Théo Mercier stages a waking dream to be traversed in the sand-filled Conciergerie with OUTREMONDE – The Sleeping Chapter.
In the spring, the second movement of New Settings begins with YASUKE KUROSAN, a choreography combining Japanese and African influences by the multi-faceted artist Smaïl Kanouté, followed by Figures, a fictitious traditional dance imagined by the choreographer and performer Dalila Belaza. Mer Plastique by Malian-born dancer and choreographer Tidiani N’Diaye reflects on our use of plastic and its impact on the environment. This year’s Paris programme concludes with two projects that focus on the body: a magical exploration of an anatomical Venus by Boris Gibé in Anatomie du désir, and the stunning physical transformation of the zany characters of the show Elenit, a tragi-comic storm whipped up by Greek choreographer Euripides Laskaridis.
The spring season then continues in Lyon with four shows presented at Les Subsistances. This partner institution hosts Figures by Dalila Belaza, VanThorhout by Alexander Vantournhout, Mer Plastique by Tidiani N’Diaye and, in a revival from the 2020-2021 edition of New Settings, Bonheur Entrepreneur, a show that blends theatre and cinema by the Belgian artist, actress and filmmaker Ariane Loze.
Finally, this year, the programme expands with a complementary format, “New Settings... Going Further”, allowing some of the selected artists to share their work beyond the stage. Through specific performances and workshops organised with the support of partner institutions, several of the performers of this edition set out enthusiastically to find original ways to reach new audiences.
By bringing the audience into the heart of the creative process, each individual piece, and the season as a whole, once again celebrates the shared pleasure of discovering new forms and encountering artists who create powerful and demanding work that wilfully strays far from the beaten track.