Physical Theater Virtuoso James Thierree Brings LA GRENOUILLE AVAIT RAISON to BAM Tonight
BAM presents The New York premiere of physical theater virtuoso James Thierrée's La grenouille avait raison (The Toad Knew) for three nights only, tonight, Oct 12, through Oct 14, at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave). This hallucinatory tale of subterranean siblings evokes fairy tales and Thierrée's own storied performance history.
"My first source of inspiration is the theatre itself. That's where I grew up. It's the magic box." - James Thierrée
A family joke about young James Thierrée's penchant for communing with imaginary animals inspired the title of the iconic performer's sixth touring show for his acclaimed Compagnie du Hanneton. La grenouille avait raison (The Toad Knew) - for which Thierrée serves as creator, stage designer, and musical composer - is a tale of two siblings imprisoned by an amphibious creature played by Ofélie Crispin.
After establishing its surreal bona fides with an opening in which a red velvet curtain is pulled down rather than rising, the production unfolds via a series of moving tableaux incorporating "ravishing visuals, seductive music and breathtaking acrobatics" (The Guardian) from a company of six performers, including Thierrée.
As is often the case with Thierrée's work, the set itself is a star, in this case conjuring "an extraordinary netherworld of animalistic machines, steaming water and a sinister pianola" (The Telegraph). Long before the coup de théâtre that had reviewers overseas bending over backwards to not reveal too much, La grenouille has burrowed itself into the audience's subconscious like the best-and most twisted-of childhood fairy tales.
James Thierrée is one of Europe's most extraordinary and versatile artists, using his immense talent to create magical dream-like spectacles that captivate, charm, and inspire. Born in 1974, Thierrée began working in the renowned Cirques Bonjour, Imaginaire, and Invisible, co-founded by Victoria and Jean-Baptiste Thierrée, and later studied trapeze and acrobatics, violin, and dramatic arts. He appeared in Peter Greenaway's film Prospero's Books and played starring roles in the independent films Bye Bye Blackbird and Liberté (2009). In 1998, he founded Compagnie du Hanneton and began to create his own work. The company's first production was Junebug Symphony, presented in New York in 2002. Past productions at BAM include La Veillée des Abysses (Bright Abyss, 2005 Next Wave), Au Revoir Parapluie (2007 Next Wave), Raoul (2010 Next Wave), and Tabac Rouge (2015 Next Wave).
IF YOU GO:
La grenouille avait raison (The Toad Knew)
By James Thierrée
Compagnie du Hanneton
Set design and original music by James Thierrée
Sound design by Thomas Delot
Lighting design by Alex Hardellet & James Thierrée
Costume design by Pascaline Chavanne
Puppets by Victoria Thierrée
At BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Oct 12-14 at 7:30PM
Tickets start at $25
For ages 8 and up
Master Class: Compagnie du Hanneton with Thi Mai Nguyen
Co-presented by BAM and Mark Morris Dance Group
Oct 13 at 11am, Mark Morris Dance Center (3 Lafayette Ave)
For experienced and professional dancers
Visit BAM.org/master-classes for more information and to register
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafé are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Greenlight Bookstore at BAM kiosks. BAM Fisher, located at 321 Ashland Place, is the newest addition to the BAM campus and houses the Judith and Alan Fishman Space and Rita K. Hillman Studio. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn's only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, offers a dinner menu prior to most BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances, featuring varied light fare and bar service. BAMcafé also features an eclectic mix of live music for BAMcafé Live on Friday and Saturday nights with bar service and light dining available from 6pm.
For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.
Photo Credit: Richard Haughton