THEM

Fourplay presents THEM was held in a secret location in Belleville, Paris in May 2016.

The Artwork

Imagery for the posters was created by photographer Marie Yako. In her signature flash film style, she took a series of images of boxes, teasing the contents of the boxes themselves, but also the props yet to be revealed and plays yet to be written. In some of the images, glimpses of her parents’ hands and arms can be seen, documenting a sudden, unplanned move from central Paris to the suburbs.

For the “Call to” posters, graphic designer Ben Greehy worked on two different styles. After trying out various iterations of the pure text idea, we all agreed that the full-bleed block of text was the most striking. We adapted the text to fill more space, and have used vaguely the same copy ever since. The second poster incorporates imagery from Marie Yako‘s photography series.

Multimedia artist and photographer Stephanie Carranza took photographs of the live event.


The Props

After a successful first run of our experiment, we reflected more on the format. This was the first time we incorporated art as props. Our open submission yielded some curious results from a fine artist, a conceptual artist, a dancer and a craftsperson.

THE NET OF BALANCE by Irene Anglada Espadaler

Material: Fabric, Sand
Size: 95cm x 55cm

The Net of Balance can be worn by up to one or two actors at a time. Though this is the artist’s intention, playwrights are allowed to interpret it as they wish.

THE CONCEPT OF RYAN GALER by Ryan Galer

Ryan Galer, conceptual artist, proposed himself as a prop. For practical reasons we turned him down, so he then offered us every element of himself apart from his physical presence. To represent him on stage, he bestowed us his blue boiler suit, which he wears for most of his performances.

No one was allowed to wear the boiler suit on stage.

Ryan Galer could not appear as a character. 

SCULPTURE IN ALUMINIUM by Alexandra Fadin

Material: Aluminium 
Size: 130cm x 30cm 
Weight: >1.5kg

Alexandra Fadin is a dancer and artist. She creates figurative sculptures out of mixed media and incorporates them into improvised dance performances. For this edition of Fourplay, she loaned us one of her aluminium sculptures, whose limbs can be manipulated to assume different positions.

UNTITLED by Mark Tallowin

Material: Wood, Metal, Animal Matter.
Size: 100cm x 20cm 
Weight: >2kg

Mark Tallowin is an artisan working in a number of different materials. He began his hands-on career as a tree surgeon, before making knives and eventually leather goods. For this abstract object, he combined various found objects including rose wood, steel, horse hair, a reindeer antler and a black buffalo horn.


The Plays

The following plays/wrights were selected,
with the cast listed below each show:

Away From Them 

written by Josh Richards, staging devised by the cast

Two pilots are stranded on a desert island. They have been there for years. Finally they have managed to build a boat from the island’s materials that will get them past the reef and the barrier waves. In their final days on the island, waiting for the hurricane season to end, they begin to think about home and what it means to come back from the dead.

Starring

Aurora Barrett
Clara Bethannan
Ivan du Pontavice

About the writer

Joshua Stretton is a Somerset-born, Paris-based actor that many call the perfect balance between tall and lofty. Having graduated from Goldsmiths with a BA in Theatre and Performance, he promptly moved to Paris where he became one of the most in-demand actors in the English-language theatre scene. After countless on-stage appearances for various productions, he finally achieved his goal of winning Best Actor for his performance in Fourplay presents NOW, and quit the stage to try his hand at writing for it. A mop of curly hair atop his head, he likes to cycle.

The Sower Works for Mastery by Turning the Wheel

written and directed by Matt Rosen

The monarch touches a small golden coin and places it around the neck of a sickly subject, who is supposedly cured of their illness. The ill subject is told that removing the coin at any time is fatal. When one regime states that the practice is out of date, a rival group claims they alone still have the power to heal. Such was the reality of life in Western Europe for almost eight centuries, where kings and queens indirectly touched thousands of subjects a year via what were known as ‘touch pieces’. In this play, a monarch finds his power progressively waning; a rival regime struggle to distinguish themselves from the one they just replaced; and a stagehand begins more and more to believe the empty promises of a character in a play she’s working on. ‘The Sower Works for Mastery by Turning the Wheel’ is a work that examines interventionist military policy, power dynamics between state and citizen, and the conventions that govern both theatre and day-to-day life. 

Starring

Sophia Dunn-Walker
Margaux Billard
Emily Guernsey
Peter Kowalczyk

About the writer

Matt Rosen is a photographer and writer from London, currently studying in Paris. He recently held a solo photography show at Berkeley Books of Paris, and has previously edited the Guild of Poetry, the experimental poetry magazine of the University of Sussex. Two of his translations of early Surrealist poetry will shortly be published together with an interview in the French poetry review Terre à ciel, having previously presented his research on Humphrey Jennings, the propagandist and Surrealist, at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research. His previous theatrical experience includes directing, scoring, and adapting for stage an original musical adaptation of the cult film ‘Dodgeball’. This is his first play.

The Curator 

written and directed by Emma Phillips – winner of Best Play

“The Curator” is about a couple in purgatory. Jonathan and Antonia died in a car crash after Jonathan’s exhibition opening. Now, the mysterious “curator” has appeared to take them through one last exhibition about their life together.

Starring

Rebecca Smith
Tim Watt
Stacey Legendre

About the writer

Emma Phillips is a translator who lives in Paris. She reads the morning news on English Waves Radio before she goes to her day job as a translator. Returning to the Fourplay stage for a second time, this is Emma’s third original play to be performed in Paris.

The Last Line of the Defence

written by Joseph Taylor, directed by Alice Brace

Many years after some devastating event, Thomas and Harry live as though to the rules of some vast game, as particular objects take on a heightened significance and the mysterious ‘Them’ stalk them through society’s rubble.

Starring

Eleanor Dickinson
Jim Louaisil
Charlotte Pleasants – winner of Best Actor

About the writer

Joe was born in a Surrey and after some moving around came to London for university. Apart from a year abroad in Japan he has lived there ever since. He works in higher education and this is his first play.


The Event

Thank you to everyone who decided to give Fourplay another go! The ambition was always to create a community, so it was a real treat to have so many returning faces taking on different challenges – such as trying out writing after having acted in a show last year, or trying out acting after having been in the audience last year.

Again, a special thanks are in order for our host, Peter Deaves, who allowed us to transform his apartment into a theatre for the weekend, and to Valentina Vasquez, who cooked a sensational vegan meal for Dinner and Fourplay. Thank you as well to The Sophia Lorenians who performed an acoustic set at the after-party of Fourplay: the Climax.

Thank you also to Stephanie Campion, actor and host of Moving Parts Paris, and co-organiser of the Paris Fringe, Reka Polo, who had the tough job of judging the Best Play and Best Actor awards, respectively.

It literally would not have been able to happen were it not for our dedicated team of volunteers, who made sure that the bar, coats, doors and plays ticked over smoothly!