Theatre Témoin are lauded for their vibrant productions and The PEG spoke with the equally vibrant artistic director of the company, Ailin Conant, about their current show, The Marked.
Using their trademark multi-disciplinary style, The Marked employs a combination of puppetry, mask and physical theatre to tell the story of Jack, a homeless boy in London. After a successful run in Edinburgh, the company have transferred to the Oval House where they perform until October 22nd.
Conant’s inspiration for The Marked drew on her work about child soldiers in Rwanda. Nineveh, the piece from 2013, explored the experience of coming home from conflict, but not feeling at home, and not being able to escape the trauma of the past. In developing The Marked Conant realised that “you don’t need to travel to experience conflict” and that the the young people whose life-journeys had led them to living on the streets of London provided her with untold stories that deserved a voice.
The devising process was a long one; teaming up with Cardboard Citizens and carrying out mask-making workshops with people who had experience of homelessness in London. The show also had many work-in-progress performances and Conant responded to feedback, particularly the reactions from their audiences in the ten London hostels they performed in.
The Marked was well-received at the Edinburgh Fringe, and this is just as much to do with the visual pleasure of watching the show than it is in the concept of the piece. Conant is rightfully proud of the richness of the production, and is eager for audiences to see the show as being an enjoyable experience, not as a ‘worthy’ piece of theatre. Conant states that “the show is not meant as a didactic piece; it’s different to other ‘issue plays’ in that it doesn’t judge anyone – audience included, it provides a subjective experience of homelessness in a way that is exciting and visually stunning.”
Conant said that with each new creative endeavour she likes to feel that she is pushing her boundaries and learning something about herself and others. In speaking with her you gain a sense that she is a true philanthrope, and her belief in the fundamental goodness of others is infused in her theatre-making process. Watching The Marked should leave you feeling touched by Jack’s story, and readers of The PEG should watch the show to see what the production allows them to learn about themselves and others, too.
If you’d like to find out more about Theatre Témoin check out their website: http://www.theatretemoin.com/