Although listed as a children show and only 25 minutes long, this beautiful but simple production certainly made an impact on the audience members, no matter what their age was. A cast made up mainly of colourful plastic bags puts on a delicate dance for the spectators along with music of French composer Claude Debussy. L’après-midi d’un Foehn – or Afternoon of a Faun - was a famous ballet made by Nijinsky to Debussy’s music, originally known for rejecting classical formalism. By using plastic bags to symbolise human beings they are given more freedom to move around the space in a chaotic but controlled manner – very similar to a choreographed dance piece.
Jean Louis Ouvrard, the only human being on the stage, moves around silently and slowly. He expertly cuts and glues the first bag together and then continues to be the Master of the Bags, a somewhat God-like figure. Although half of the audience were children, they did not utter a word when he walked around the circular stage but were entranced with his movements – only to shriek with joy when he presented another plastic bag to join the dance in the middle. It was not just the children who were entertained: laughter could also be heard from the older generation.
Somehow the bags convey a range of emotions, from being full of life and joy to utter despair and sadness, all depending on their interaction with the other bags, the tone of the music or their position within the stage. The concept is exceptionally simple, yet very effective. There was no need for the show to be any longer.
If you enjoyed the plastic bag scene from American Beauty, you can multiply that enjoyment twentyfold by seeing this show. I for one left with a smile on my lips and a longing to go dancing in the wind.