Pauline received a creative grant to produce her play Chère Chambre.
What is your artistic background ?
I was attracted to theatre very early on, but first in its visual and fantastical sense: for me it was a box of mirages, the very idea of scenery, of scenography fascinated me, it was like building worlds in miniature. But I ultimately did a literature course at university, which explains why my entry into theatre was based on text, and thus focused on plays and writing. At that time, I started experimenting with various theatrical forms in places that were not theatres, with different groups of friends: performances in apartments, immersive evenings in a train station, a theatrical series in the basement of a bar... All this filled with a form of blind naivety and freedom that I am still craving today in a way! I also performed in posthumous recreations of Guy De Cointet's performances, at the Palais de Tokyo and in several European art galleries and museums. In 2014, I finally joined the school of the Théâtre National de Strasbourg, in the acting section, but it was a bit of a Trojan horse for me, insofar as I wanted to touch everything, and I knew that that school offered a form of porosity between the different professions. There I met most of the people with whom I now work regularly, whether in my shows or in those of others: Maëlle Dequiedt and Mathilde Delahaye, with whom I regularly collaborate as an actress and artistic accomplice, Dea Liane and Claire Toubin with whom I have shared the stage several times and who also act in my plays, Maud Pougeoise with whom I perform, for whom I wrote a monologue and with whom I directed the young people of the Troupe Avenir Transfrontalière this year, Paul Gaillard and Marianne Deshayes who are incredible actors, Salma Bordes and Solène Fourt, Marion Koechlin, set designers and stage manager... I believe very strongly in loyalty. While I am at the beginning of my journey, I have the romantic fantasy of artistic complicities that are woven and transformed over a long time. In my third year at school, I created Les Terrains Vagues, a contemporary noir tale set against a backdrop of dystopian reverie, inspired by the Grimm brothers' Rapunzel, Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and the world of J.G. Ballard. It's a piece that I wrote for four classmates. It was a founding moment because we created it with the feeling that it was the last shot of innocence, the last time we could create without thinking about reception, production, diffusion, without trying to please or losing out by proposing an artistic gesture that was a bit against the current theatrical trends. So, against all odds, it worked, we were spotted by the production office Prémisses (Claire Dupont), and we took the show back two seasons later in the official program of the TNS and at the Théâtre de la Cité Internationale directed by Marc Le Glattin. I then created my company THERAPHOSA BLONDI in Strasbourg with Agathe Perrault, a friend who is the administrator and producer. Stanislas Nordey asked me to be one of the three young artists he wanted to have collaborate with the TNS for his second tenure, and I was able to create my second play, Chère Chambre (the text of which is published by Théâtre Ouvert). For the first time, I was working in conditions that allowed me to follow through on a gesture, in all its stages. It was a real apprenticeship, which allowed me to identify the theatre I am trying to make: a sort of permanent dialogue between my lost innocence as a young, dazzled spectator, which I am trying to recapture in a form of slightly crazy generosity that assumes the artifices of the theatre, the taste for images, and the contemporary questions and concerns that live within me and are expressed in rather dark stories, in an organic, angry, musical language. My texts most often proceed from the contemporary transposition of a timeless motif taken from a tale, myth, or news item. I believe very strongly in emotion, which is what I am looking for, and in humour, which is essential for me. I like to work with the subconscious, assuming a form of "impurity". I do not want to punish the spectators, or to allow them a good conscience! I have recently begun to consider dissociating my practices: writing for others and directing scripts other than mine.
How do you view your profession today ?
A two-sided view! My left eye is worried about the future of young creativity, platforms for which are more and more expensive, while my right eye marvels at the inventiveness and the pugnacity that I witness around me, and my heart continues to beat, to hope, but it is an active hope. We can't wait, we must be doing. But not in unbridled productivity! I want things to move! That the logic is reversed! I want to defend what is precious! The idea that maybe one day there will only be room for theatrical blockbusters, the contrast between the multiplication of productions and the ultra-limited life span of shows that for many do not tour or hardly tour at all, the domination of fashion, the horse-bets on young creation, leftfield productions that upset me as a spectator and that remain completely invisible, all this sometimes makes me want to withdraw like an asocial hedgehog that huddles in an old forgotten attic! At the same time, at this moment, I feel in me and around me an enormous vitality. As young artists, we live in a permanent contradiction. We defend the free act and at the same time we are quickly registered without even seeing it coming in a logic of productivity. We live from our passion, and we need to eat like everyone else. It's a position that puts us in permanent tension. We spend a lot of energy to convince people and to make things happen, which inevitably takes away from creative time and sometimes weakens the faith that we place in it. When, like me, you are not very good at this game, things inevitably take longer, but it's also a choice that you have to make. For me, one of the possible answers to thwart this is dialogue and solidarity between companies. At the moment for example, a sort of sponsorship link is being forged between my company and the company La Chair du Monde, directed by Charlotte Lagrange. Everything has to be invented, but the dialogue and this support already does me a lot of good. Last year I was invited by Solal Forte to the International Festival of Milos, a festival that he dreamed up himself and built step by step, dedicated to young creation, to bring together Greek and French inhabitants and young artists at the ancient theatre of a Greek island and to invent new forms of collaboration and creation. I also took part in a lot of collective adventures without necessarily participating in the shows for which they were intended, but in the sharing of questions, readings of attempts and experiences. These conversations and artistic friendships are absolutely necessary for me. They feed my desire and my hopes. I need to feel the landscape which I am part of and the diversity of the proposals and the paths of creation that are invented there, to feel that it swarms around, that it vibrates, that it defends itself to exist, that it creates.
How do you see yourself in 5 years ? In 10 years ?
In 5 years.... I was lucky enough to be supported early on by the TNS and the TCI for my first two shows, and I hope of course that I can continue to create forms and that other places and people will take over. At the same time, I also try to dissociate the inner energy that pushes me to create from the validation or rejection of authoritative bodies because I know that the wheel turns, and that my theatrical DNA naturally carries me towards very diverse frameworks and scales of creation, without any emotional or artistic hierarchy. Theatre is about encounters, and my terror, which we saw during the pandemic, is a theatre without spectators. I dream of having the opportunity to experiment with as many settings as possible, both inside and outside the black box. And then I hope that, in 10 years, I will be doing something completely different from the theatre I started with, that I won't be doing the same show for the seventh time! That would mean that something in me has stopped or is no longer in tension/dialogue with the movement of the world. What is certain is that I hope to always question my practice. And then, above all, to remain surrounded, to keep faith in the collective and not to metamorphose prematurely into an angry solitary poetess, or a disillusioned deserter.
This interview was conducted in 2022
Photography credit : Julie Glassberg