Our soul is full of wild ghosts.
Memory stores at random recollections of people we have known or encountered, loved or hated, the colour of skins, the smells. They are all arranged in the sections of our souvenir album of the dead. They don’t help our fantasies: they are their reference points.
I am not talking about those fantasies, but about others.
Those which only exist in the imagination, those born out of a beautiful book: Prince Andrei Nikolaievich Bolkonsky (War and Peace, Tolstoy); Jean Valjean (Les Misérables, Hugo) ; Julien Sorel, Fabrice Del Dongo (The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendhal); Madame Bovary (Flaubert); Cathy (East of Eden, Steinbeck); Cripure (Black Blood, Guilloux); Meursault (The Outsider, Camus), etc.
And the ghosts of the theatre? When I was a child in Avignon, the Mistral allied itself to the actors and the text. A violent wind, magnificent words, actors light as feathers fluttering wildly.
Actors are beautiful when they allow splendid things to be imagined around their aura, which is already unreal.
I teach actors to spread the light of their character sparingly so that, little by little, they can finally be lavish with their solar light.
You don’t interpret a character, you suggest blazing uncertainties, which, at the end of each show, return to a castle in Aberdeen, in the north of Scotland.
They say: ‘ Please, name those illuminated dangers, born from the imagination of the spectator, one July evening in Avignon at the Palais des Papes’ The castle management answers ‘ You will be a ghost of the highest order, baptised in the breath of a burning tornado. Your mission will be to carry, at the stroke of midnight, storms of light, playful and dazzling emotions into lively and daring theatres.’
When the imagination has not enjoyed itself alongside a theatre character, the character has no existence.
What is the key which opens box of imagining? The pleasure in acting. And the password which closes it once and for all? Reality.
Philippe Gaulier founded his school in 1980. In June of the same year, he told Jacques Lecoq (whose assistant he had been from 1971) that he was leaving his school for ever. Travel shapes young people. As does freedom. more...
benefacteurs / benefactors
Francoise Dolto et Madeleine Milhaud
Ont épaulé la création de l’école. Elles ont prêté les quelques deniers qui manquaient.
Assisted in the creation of the school. They lent the remaining funds that were required .
Founding of my school at 8 Rue Alfred de Vigny, Paris 17th arrondissement.
I was young. I had invented a game which consisted of throwing a ball over the branch of a tree in Parc Monceau. The opposing team had to catch the ball without it touching the ground. Passers-by stopped and watched. They envied us. more...
The theories on the theatre of J. Lecoq focussed on the idea of movement, the thoughts of the young rebel Philippe Gaulier's were based around Le Jeu: the games which nature, animals and humans organise. Games as full of life as breathing or the beating of the heart, which record in our imagination the movements of a life to come. Indeed, later, the games of childhood will lighten the weight of sorrows. They will colour them with an ethereal wash , an elixir which specialists on laughter call ‘humour’.
Philippe Gaulier teaches Le Jeu, the pleasure it engenders and the imaginary world it unveils, bang, bang, just like that.
Actors are always beautiful when you can see, around the characters, their souls at play, opening the door of the imaginary world.
Important note: a character in the theatre only exists if our imagination welcomes him or her into its castle, declares them to be a ghost of honour.
Our souls are full of mad ghosts.
And what should one say about style?
Nature is rich in differences, diversity. The depths of oceans reveal strange movements and structures. A man, or woman, is sometimes haunted by the deep-sea trenches in which particular structures are hidden: this is their style.
‘Why dirty the soul of students by slyly fobbing them off with the style of others, imprisoning them in alien formats? It is more generous to give them the taste of freedom.
Freedom is cleansing.
The Arts Council of England invited me to install my school in London. I stayed there for eleven years.
1991-93 – the first studio, in Highbury-Islington, was ugly, small, and noisy, echoing. All day long, neighbours yelled ‘Shut up’, their voices echoing and booming. What a din! Not that it bothered me unduly My pleasure in working with a splendid team of Chinese from Hong Kong dispelled any basic notions of good manners.
Was it in that year I decided, to everyone’s regret, that in future I would teach in English?
If I hadn’t found two adjoining studios in Queens Crescent, Kentish Town, the inhabitants of Highbury-Islington would have chopped me into little pieces. Queens Crescent is known as the street of thieves. Closing the doors was a problem. I liked teaching in Kentish Town. The games of table tennis after classes lasted for hours, followed by pints of Guinness at the Irish pub opposite Kentish Town tube station.
Cricklewood! The school, despite all odds – sleepy solicitors, bishops on holiday, the demise of the archbishop’s secretary -- bought a church. The students put on wonderful shows there. The teachers gave wonderful lessons.
When we first moved into the church, bearing a few bottles of champagne to celebrate the event properly, millions of mice were waiting for us.
A company specialised in killing rodents (its workers sported wellington boots and yellow plastic overalls) wiped them out in a flash. They explained to me that, contrary to common belief, mice prefer chocolate to cheese. So they inject a ferocious poison into bars of chocolate.
In London, the school was happy. So was I
2002: Return to Paris.
2005: Anniversary of the school. Twenty five years already.
During these twenty five years, I have taught in:
Argentina, Brazil, United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, England, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.
In Orlando, Las Vegas and Paris, I taught for Le Cirque du Soleil.
Where have I taught the most? London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Berlin.1980 - 1990 L’école occupe un studio de travail (the school occupies a work studio at) au 8 rue Alfred de Vigny Paris 17°
1991-2002 Invitée par «the art’s council» de Londres, l’école occupe durant ces années, 3 différents studios (invited by <The Art’s Council> of London, the school occupies throughout these years, 3 different studios) : Highbury-Islington, Kentish Towen, Clicklewood.
2002 - Return to France
2002 - 2005 Montreuil
2005 - 2011 Sceaux Étampes
De 1980 à 2009 l’école a visité et enseigné (from 1980-2009 the school has visited and taught in) en Australie, Japon, Hong Kong, New Zélande, Espagne, Italie, Danemark, Suède, Norvège, Finlande, Allemagne, Grèce, Autriche, Suisse, Hollande, Angleterre, Ecosse, Irlande, Canada, USA, New York, Brésil, Argentine.
Depuis 2004 l’école enseigne davantage à (since 2004 the school teaches more in) : New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Barcelone, Berlin, Toronto.
L’école accueille chaque année des étudiants venus de 35 différents pays (every year the school welcomes students from 35 different countries)
When the school was twenty years old it was gifted with a magnificent church (or rather, a sacristy) in Cricklewood, London.
It celebrated its 25th birthday in Montreuil, in an ordinary studio, with nothing special about it. It was very helpful for the school, as, coming from London to Paris at great haste, it didn’t know where to go.
Then came the time at Sceaux. A beautiful studio. But the people working in the town hall make you weep with despair.
For its 30th birthday (October 2010), the school is giving itself a new studio, one which it will own. Where is it? In Étampes
Étampes: the capital of Sud-Essonne. Post code 91150.
Thirty minutes from Paris, on the Orleans road, taking the RN 20.
From the metro Saint-Michel: 55 mins by the RER C.
The walk from the RER C Étampes station to the school: five minutes.
The town is known as Little Venice, because so many rivers cross it.
1. Living in Paris and studying in Étampes is, to within fifteen minutes, the same, in terms of ‘problems’ as living in Paris and working at Sceaux. No student has ever complained of the time lost in getting to Sceaux. It must be said that it was a very beautiful studio there. In Étampes, it will be wonderful.
2.The cost of life in Étampes is much lower than in Paris. It will be easier for students to rent a studio or a flat, to live there. At the weekends, they can go to Paris. It’s true, it’s much more fun in Paris.
3.In Étampes , the idea of building two work rooms of 130 square metres wasn’t an empty dream. It would have been a fantasy in Paris. Or even in Sceaux.
We’re on our way to Étampes