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En Bal D’amour – Nantes – Part 1

‘The world of reality has its limits;  the world of imagination is boundless’.   Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

20160529-En bal d'amour (313)After my visit to Port-En-Bessin – I took the train to Nantes, a city in western France located on the Loire River.

This was my first visit to the City, and I was most impressed.    With it’s wide boulevards large squares filled with outdoor cafes, multiple green spaces and superb public transportation system, it’s a city where I felt that I could breath.

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Once a major commercial harbour, today the harbour is filled with creativity, restaurants, and this now well known forty ft tall mechanical mammoth which resides along with other remarkable sculptural ‘puppets’ built in the city.     elephantnantes

I hope to return to Nantes, for the sole purpose of exploring…however this post is about the very special experience I enjoyed when observing and sketching the cast of En Bal D’amour as they rehearsed for a production.               I

I stayed with my dear friend Claudia Nottale director of the production.     I worked with the cast of ten performers for two and a half days – an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and one I would like to repeat.

(all photographs from the production are by Denis Rion)

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In observing the group as they moved from their daily persona into that of a clown, I witnessed a metamorphosis.       The clown persona became a vehicle which facilitated theatrical expression of the imagination.

20160529-En bal d'amour (212)The play focuses on the most elemental theme of human kind – the need for Love.    Through the clowns we recognise the universal signs of falling in love…..boldness, timidness, shyness, jealousy, sadness, fear, humour and euphoria.

20160529-En bal d'amour (349) Along with rapid movement sketches, I made watercolour portraits of each member of the cast.     By the end of the second day,  I was just getting into my stride….Ideally I would like to have worked with the group for a week. 20160529-En bal d'amour (283)Three examples of  portraits….Silvern20-11-15 - 1 (371)Jo20-11-15 - 1 (330)Claudia20-11-15 - 1 (368)I plan to share more of the sketches at a later date after I have done more work from my observations.

Before the metamorphosis

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In  Part 2 – I will show some of the superb black and white photographs made by Denis Rion during the production.  

Wishing one and all a lovely weekend

A Bientôt