Body, dance and theatre

Vandenbranden Street, 32 perform at the Macao Arts Festival

Five dancers and a mezzo-soprano combine dance and movement to embody the inhabitants of an isolated community facing unsustainable loneliness. "Vandenbranden Street, 32" part of the Macao Arts Festival program, will take place Saturday, May 5 at the Macao Cultural Center. Ponto Final spoke to Franck Chartier, founder of the extreme physical theater company, Peeping Tom.

"Vandenbranden Street, 32" is dance, pure dance, movement, physicality, and some theatricality, but in a very realistic scenario with a cinematic narrative for the audience to feel within the action and history, which addresses issues such as domestic violence and migration. When there is a storm it is lived intensely through the sounds of nature, birds. " The description is expressed to Ponto Final by Franck Chartier, founder of the physical theatre company Peeping Tom, and artistic director and choreographer of the play "Vandenbranden Street, 32", part of the XXIX Macao Arts Festival program. The play will stage a unique performance on Saturday, May 5, at 8:00 pm at the Macao Cultural Center.

On stage will be five dancers and a mezzo-soprano, a singer with a voice between soprano and contralto, who will sing Bellini, Stranvinsky and Pink Floyd. "We use the voice to make the flashback and go back to the past, the effect of the music allows to transmit the idea of ​​memory," Franck Chartier explains.

One of the most intense and visceral moments of the narrative is when one of the characters plucks the broken heart of love and holds it, palpitating but bleeding. "He is too much in love, he is tired of the love he feels, and in the end puts his heart aside. And it is when the heart stops beating that he feels relieved and happy, it was too much the love he felt. It's a very poetic moment. This decontextualized moment can be a bit shocking ", warns the artistic director and choreographer.

The show takes place practically without dialogues, living of the physicality and the sonoplasty. "It's a more visual performance. In the theatre there are five dancers and a mezzo-soprano combining dance and movement to embody the inhabitants of an isolated community facing an unsustainable solitude.

Franck Chartier, and dancer Maria Carolina Vieira explain that this is a production with very visual codes; they try to break those codes and be realistic of what a human being feels. Those expecting the conventional codes of theatre may be a bit shocked," the creator of the play explains.


Brazilian Maria Carolina Vieira, from Santa Catarina, currently lives in Belgium and has been with the company for six years. "There is a couple in the play, so my character starts within the life of this couple and people see how this couple reacts to the arrival of two foreigners to the village where they have lived for some time, so this character develops from that perspective of the arrival of these people," Vieira explains.

The dancer says that she dances and uses  movement to interpret the characters. "There is a lot of dancing material, but always in a universe where there is a story and a theatrical interpretation," she explains. "We use the extremities of the body a lot, so many people relate the material to that seen in the circus, but no one in the company is from the circus, but it's because we use a lot of flexibility in an extreme way," says Vieira. "There are also some people with different backgrounds, there are people with background in 'break-dancing', I have a background in 'contemporary dance' and rhythmic gymnastics, one of the Korean boys comes from martial arts, so each one of us brings something different, but not in a pure form, in our bodies these techniques are present," says Vieira .


The action on "Vandenbranden Street, 32" takes place in the open sky on the mountain, three meters high, covered with snow, where inhabitants of an isolated community face an unsustainable solitude. Solitude, domestic violence, and abortion are themes that emerge in a visceral and toxic way.

The choreographer wanted to show what the human being can feel in extreme conditions, how they behave towards others, so created a very realistic scenario, a distant, cold, a harsh environment, to address the theme of solitude and the isolation of human beings.

In this small village there are problems that arise in families, between couples, there is domestic violence between men and women, the physical and psychological violence practiced by men against women. This was also the motto. So the plot is "shocking and revolting."

"It was important for us to address this issue of domestic violence in a small, isolated village, detached from everything, and the reason why people do not leave this environment, do not emigrate, and stay." On the stage, this violence is expressed in a subtle way, explains Franck Chartier, through a woman who is pregnant and loses her child, and has visions of this child, who constantly returns to memory.

This performance from physical theatre company Peeping Tom debuted in 2009 at the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels. In 2015, the production won the Olivier Prize in London in the category "best new dance production".