“That did not occur question: on the stage a person with disability or not?”

In the framework of the International cultural forum held in St. Petersburg from 14 to 18 November, the center of creative projects “Inclusion” invited Olivier Kood, inclusive of Director of the French theatre “Le Cristal”. In an interview with “Pravmir” Nastya Dmitrieva Olivier Where told that is inclusive theatre at the European, what is the difference between art therapy and art, and why, in 1989, he decided to engage with people with mental illnesses involved in this so far.

A scene from “Goose bumps are guaranteed.” Photo: theatreducristal.com

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  • Special child on the stage
  • At the theatre we saw how special the child began to grow up

To make people wonder with disabilities actor or not

Inclusive theatre in Russia — is still a piece of history, and the people they deal with can be counted on the fingers. As for France it is usual? And how inclusive theatre are embedded in a common culture, in society?

— It depends what we’re talking about. If we are talking about professional projects in France about 10-12 theatres that do shows, pay their artists. But simply projects that involve people with disabilities very much. When I started this work in 1989, there were only five people who worked on this.

Of course, we all knew each other. And, of course, we need the acceleration: to reflect, to find the theoretical Foundation of what we do. And if we talk about the strong development of such projects, it happened in the mid-nineties – the beginning of the two thousandth. I have a hypothesis: in order to do this, it is necessary that it has received legitimacy in society, that at all levels it was recognized, official including.

Olivier Kood. Photo: 13commeune.fr

During the forum, in one of his speeches I uttered this phrase: “It’s the law!”, people in the audience laughed, and I realized that in Russia the legal legislatively mandated things related to inclusion, yet.

It is a struggle in three dimensions simultaneously: the social, political and aesthetic. And such a confrontation did not arise today or yesterday.

We can think of Victor Hugo, who was elevated to the rank of art, popular, simple language. Then, too, there was a question: and whether such a reality to be art? With the Impressionists and academic painting was a similar story, it was also a struggle.

– Can a person with disabilities is fair to consider as an artist?

If we in this story win and prove that Yes, you can, then we already have the funding, and recognition. And it is important to be cautious and careful. Why? Because we say that for people with disabilities inclusive theatre is good, it brings them benefit. But the benefit must be a consequence and not an end. I’m always a little despised point of view when they say that time is good for them, so we’re going to do it. For me it is not a goal, it is a natural consequence of what we do.

— As a goal?

— To make the performances of high quality, doing theater, doing so is interesting, at the highest good level, looking for a new. If the goal is getting the benefit, then we do art therapy. But if we consider the benefit as a result, then we can talk about theater and about art.

Photo: theatreducristal.com

— And the audience? Do you think they come in inclusive theatre in the first place, for art? If they can forget that they face people with disabilities, or is it still influences their perception?

— We have already passed the threshold when we came to the audience, which was interesting to see what this can do for people with disabilities. And now we come to that stage when it is a real theater audience. We in France is organized the festival “Imago”, where we have 50 partners from across the country, and each of them has its own interested audience.

Before my departure to Russia, I was on the play of the English puppet theatre “Mouffetard”. The hall was full, all 250 seats are occupied. And the audience was only 5 or 6 people who came for reasons that is played by people with disabilities.

In France there is such a moment: sometimes people with disabilities I think is not quite, shall we say, aware of what’s happening to them. And so, of course, the question arises: what theater do we mean? And why are they here? The challenge is to overcome this situation and to find for each such an organic place in the performance, that it was a real theatre, so we have not used these people to further their directing purposes.

— Do I understand correctly that in your company there are people with and without disabilities?

— In our theater, all the members of the company, fifteen people, — people with disabilities. But they all have the professional status of the artist. This means that they work in accordance with the law every day, Monday through Friday, or weekends if there are performances. For them, this is a full time employment and work. And there are people who are engaged in the promotion and development of theatre, they are without a disability. For example, we have a play in the genre of cabaret “Goosebumps guaranteed”. There are 15 artists with disabilities, two guest musician without a disability and I am. I, too, like without a disability, but participate in this performance.

A scene from “Goose bumps are guaranteed.” Photo: theatreducristal.com

I am very proud when our performances the audience can’t understand, one of the artists there are features and who is not. Very often it happens that some theatre people play with features in development, and it is used, and people notice. For me it is very important these boundaries are to be removed. To do so, to even think of such a question would come on stage now, people with disabilities or not? I think this is a very important principle for the Director, working with such people.

He holds the ropes for 10 minutes, and then gets rid of them

— Further requires the Director of inclusive theatre? Some sort of medical knowledge? A lot of patience?

— Oh Yes, patience is required, it’s true. In fact, no additional competence is not needed. But to really do it, you need to have a special sensitivity, you really want to do. It is important to be able to notice features and person, to see that it is this that distinguishes it from others, and work with it, develop it.

Photo: theatreducristal.com

The day before the master class I gave all the bells. And we had to spill over, feeding them to each other. One of the participants with severe spasticity. He took the bell, and his movement from the point of view of the whole concept was wrong, crooked, but to me it was very interesting. I thought it was possible to beat, use.

Then I watched him during the break. It is obvious that any movement that he makes with his hands: takes a Cup, puts tea bag, pours the sugar — different from the usual for us. But for me this is poetry.

If we get all together participants in the creative process, then this is exactly what we use: we notice details, we play with time and space, draw attention to something that stands out from the ordinary.

And in this respect even unusual for us, the trajectory of the hands — a rich field for research.

Photo: theatreducristal.com

For example, are often what make people with down syndrome, like a grotesque, a slight exaggeration. And, actually, it is very close to what I do in professional clowning. And if the social dimension is, unfortunately, often becomes an object of ridicule, the art is something valuable with which to work.

— You put more than 20 performances over the years. Is there a favorite?

— Of course! When I started working in 1989, it was the people with really severe disabilities. The first show we came in 1992. It was a performance with a very poetic text about the ship, which quietly walking on the water, about the sky which surrounds these people. They stood on the stage on platforms on wheels, rolled out a ship, the trees, created this landscape and, by and large, did not do anything else. They created the image themselves was admiring, was inside the world created by them.

It was a touching and tender story. Called the play “a Garden for anybody.” This is the story of a man living in the Villa, shown as straight in his head. The hero ends up in a psychiatric hospital. This is a play that allows you to see how it’s perceived people with special needs. The text on which we staged a play, valuable because it is about a man who doubts herself, constantly feeling guilt, constantly wondering “Why am I not like everyone else?”. The world does not match his expectations. In fact, those meanings that we can find among people with disabilities.

Now we put a lot of cabaret “Goosebumps guaranteed”. For me it’s a new show. We created an atmosphere of cabaret: a lot of light rooms, the audience sitting at tables, eating. I haven’t done. At the beginning of the submission we sing the songs and ask the audience to join us, too, to sing. Is one of the characters, he first sits in the audience, strongly indicates that he does not want to sing with us, refuses. Here comes one of the Actresses and says that, Yes, it is not necessary now to touch it, he could have a seizure. He quietly away behind the scenes, bind with ropes, he holds them for ten minutes, then, as it is a cabaret, eats pickled cucumber, and after it really happens “crazy attack”, during which it is very malleable, masterful freed from these ropes.

A scene from “Goose bumps are guaranteed.” Photo: theatreducristal.com

This, of course, an allegory. Yes, we are here and now in cabaret, sitting, having fun, all is well. And on the other hand, people with mental peculiarities are always associated and not free. And for us it’s a gesture of inner freedom, which we can show. And of course when it is released, all applaud.

— Why have you decided to do this thirty years ago?

— I don’t know. As usual, here is a mixture of coincidences and regularities. I studied to be a psychologist, but then stopped doing it and worked as an actor. One friend offered me to come to the Studio, said that there are interesting guys with mental characteristics do, and I try to do with them. And here it is thirty years last. Here is a field that allows me to use my first degree, psychological. In any case we are not talking about therapy, but it helps me to better notice and understand things. To me it is interesting and important.

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