Théâtre De La Cour originates from France. The production was the producer’s idea of using the theatre to express and communicate her feelings to the community. Ipoh Fine Arts Society was privileged to bring the team to Ipoh for a 3-day teaching workshop beginning Friday, October 6 till Sunday, October 8.
The workshop was divided into three parts namely, the rooster scene, the wolf scene and the train scene. Each segment lasted for three hours with emphasis on mime techniques, clown work, rhythm exercises, body percussion and vocal training.
Participants had to be creative as props were minimal. Some of which were DIY masks, puppets and cardboards to build a train. Each workshop had 20 participants ranging in age from three to 24 years old.
The finale was a performance staged on Sunday night at YMCA, Ipoh main hall. Directed by Giovanna Conforto, the one-hour show, entitled ‘Happy Express’, was performed by Cinzia Ciaramicoli from France, Rita Superbi from Italy and Shantini Venugopal from Malaysia. The story was about three travellers from three Western-European countries who met at a railway platform. Despite their cultural and linguistic differences they managed to somehow communicate with one another.
By using mime and clown techniques to depict each character, they slowly morphed into their own animalistic behaviour much to the delight of the appreciative audience. Participants acted in several scenes they were prepared for.
“It’s wonderful working with them. They understood the importance of their role, so they worked hard to perform well,” said Cinzia Ciaramicoli, founder of Théâtre De La Cour.
“I lived in Malaysia between 1995 and 2008. I then moved to Melbourne and then to Lyon, France. There is where I founded Théâtre De La Cour. When I went back to Europe, everything was so different. I wanted to explore all the Eastern-European countries. The Orient Express train, travelling from Paris to Eastern Europe, inspires me,” she continued.
“We wanted to bring happiness and joy to children in the Eastern part of Europe so we came up with a performance, using no words, to reach out to those that don’t speak English, French or Italian. With air pollution we found that the cleanest way to travel is by train. At the same time, we wanted people to rediscover the joy of travelling by train. A lot of love stories, encounters and sharing of food happen on trains,” added Cinzia.
Cinzia’s advised theatre enthusiasts to consider using it as a means to reach out to the community. “It’s not about bringing a performance to the people, it’s about performing together with them,” she concluded.