Gisèle Vienne


Main Theater
October 21-23
Tickets start at $15/$25
Presented with The Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival
Runtime: 85 Mins
10/21 & 10/23 at 7:30pm, 10/22 at 4pm
Stay Late Conversation moderated by Serge Laurent on Oct. 22

Adaptation of an early work by the Swiss writer Robert Walser, L’Etang (The Pond, der Teich) reveals an intricate tale of filial love by distributing the roles between the actresses, Adèle Haenel and Julie Shanahan.

L’Étang is a family drama that stands out from the rest of Robert Walser’s work (1878–1956): it is a private text that the young writer had offered to his sister and the only one that he ever wrote in Swiss German. A boy who feels unloved by his mother and, at the lowest point of his despair, pretends to commit suicide in order to see her love for him one last time. What are the real issues here? What is being played out between the lines and on stage? What are the different levels of language, from narrative to words, whether formulated or not, which make up our perception, our understanding and our exchanges? These questions—which have long been at the heart of Gisèle Vienne’s work— create mise en abymes through Robert Walser’s text and the staging strategy: Adèle Haenel and Julie Shanahan embody one and two characters respectively while lending their voices to the others. 

Several levels of perception of reality and temporality, interiority and exteriority coexist. In examining the conventions of the theater and the family, L’Etang notably raises the question of the shared representation of reality, the social norm, and what we see. This piece is created in memory of Gisèle Vienne’s long-time collaborator, actress Kerstin Daley Baradel, who died in July 2019, and with whom, in collaboration with the team, she had developed this work so intimately.

Based on the original story Der Teich (The Pond) by Robert Walser
To Kerstin
Conception, direction, scenography, dramaturgy: Gisèle Vienne
Performers: Adèle Haenel & Julie Shanahan
Text adaptation: Adèle Haenel, Julie Shanahan, Henrietta Wallberg in collaboration with Gisèle Vienne Lights Yves Godin
Sound design: Adrien Michel
Music direction: Stephen F. O’Malley
Original music: Stephen F. O’Malley & François J. Bonnet
Tour assistant: Sophie Demeyer
Outside eye: Dennis Cooper & Anja Rottgerkamp
Collaboration to the scenography: Maroussia Vaes
Conception of puppets: Gisèle Vienne
Creation of puppets: Raphaël Rubbens, Dorothéa Vienne-Pollak and Gisèle Vienne in collaboration with Théâtre National de Bretagne
Stage Set Production: Nanterre-Amandiers CDN
Set and accessories: Gisèle Vienne, Camille Queval and Guillaume Dumont
Costumes: Gisèle Vienne and Camille Queval
Wig and make-up artist: Mélanie Gerbeaux
Sound engineer: Adrien Michel
Light manager: Samuel Dosière
Stage manager: Antoine Hordé 
Technical manager: Erik Houllier
Production and distribution Alma Office: Anne-Lise Gobin, Alix Sarrade, Camille Queval & Andrea Kerr Administration Cloé Haas & Giovanna Rua

Performance created in collaboration with Kerstin Daley-Baradel and Ruth Vega Fernandez
Special thanks Etienne Bideau-Rey, Nelson Canart, Zac Farley, Etienne Hunsinger, Pauline Jakobiak, Tristan Lahoz, Richard Pierre, César Van Looy, Jean-Paul Vienne.

Coproductions Nanterre-Amandiers CDN / Théâtre National de Bretagne / Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg – Scène européenne / Holland Festival, Amsterdam / Fonds Transfabrik – Fonds franco-allemand pour le spectacle vivant / Centre Culturel André Malraux (Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy) / Comédie de Genève / La Filature – Scène nationale de Mulhouse / Le Manège – Scène nationale de Reims / MC2 : Grenoble / Ruhrtriennale / Tandem Scène nationale / Kaserne Basel / International Summer Festival Kampnagel Hamburg / Festival d’Automne à Paris / Théâtre Garonne / CCN2 – Centre Chorégraphique national de Grenoble / BIT Teater-garasjen, Bergen / Black Box Teater, Oslo

With the support of CN D Centre national de la danse, La Colline – théâtre national and Théâtre Vidy-Lau- sanne

Thanks to Point Ephémère for putting their rehearsal space at our disposal and to Playroom, SMEM, Fri- bourg for their sound studio

The Company Gisèle Vienne is supported by Ministère de la culture et de la Communication – DRAC Grand Est, the Région Grand Est and Ville de Strasbourg.

The company is supported by the Institut Français for international touring and by Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Gisèle Vienne is an associated artist at Chaillot – théâtre national de la danse, the MC2 Grenoble ; at the Volcan -Scène nationale du Havre and the Théâtre National de Bretagne.

Profoundly attached to the world of dance since its origins, the High Jewelry Maison strengthens its commitment with Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels. Guided by the values of creation, transmission and education, this initiative aims to support artists and institutions in presenting choreographic heritage, while also promoting new productions. Since its launch in 2020, it has promoted numerous dance companies for their creations as well as the presentation of multiple performances around the world. The program is complemented each year by major events, including the Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival, whose first edition took place in London in March 2022. This support further extends to awareness-raising actions focused on dance culture for the broadest possible audience, professionals and amateurs alike.


It’s a transfixing performance, which brings to the surface emotions that are often suppressed in dysfunctional family settings. – The New York Times, May 19th, 2021