Making fun of the French attitude, three Frenchmen ride into the city
Three Frenchmen on horses (albeit fake ones) at a mall. As absurd as it may sound, this weekend it will set the scene for an even more absurd street play, where the trio will poke fun of themselves and the ‘French attitude’. “On our travels, we realised the French have a reputation for being arrogant and for thinking that France is the centre of the world. What better inspiration for a play?” asks Jean Luc Prevost, the actor-director behind the 30-minute performance, The Horsemen.
Created in Australia, during the Swimming World Championship in 2007, it has since travelled to 30 countries, won five international awards (for best street theatre performance) and left people in splits with over 1,000 shows. Language has not been a problem—mostly performed in English (thumbing their nose at the French, who prefer to speak no other language but their own), they have also done it in Persian, Russian and more. “The first thing we do in a new country is work on a translation (if needed). In Chennai, we will try to find names for the horses that will be funny for the audience,” says the 59-year-old who is excited about his India debut, made possible with the help of Alliance Française. A student of Comedy a la Française—which asks an actor not to play a character, but be it—he says that when they play the horsemen, “everybody sees the horses are not real, but our belief in their ‘realness’ makes them forget the reality”. Integrating dance and a lot of physicality, the music will be provided by the audience. “We will encourage them to sing with us,” concludes Prevost, who will be heading to Turkey next. He also hopes to make it back here with two new plays, Kartoons (with a lot of visual gags) and Horses Cabaret (a mix of theatre, puppetry and acrobatics).
Tomorrow, at Phoenix MarketCity, at 6 pm. Free passes on eventjini.com
—Surya Praphulla Kumar