Performances on tour



Artistic Direction Mark Tompkins
Set and Costume Design Jean-Louis Badet
Light David Farine
Technical Direction David Farine ou Rodolphe Martin

Outside eye
Frans Poelstra
Music : songs by Mark Lewis and the Standards
Composed by Nuno Rebelo et Mark Tompkins
The Standards : Mark Tompkins, Nuno Rebelo, Vitor Rua, Alex Cortez, Samuel Palitos
Wrestling Coach Marco de Paola
Administration, touring Amelia Serrano

The Referee Mark Tompkins
Zob Jean-Louis Badet
Dave  David Farine
Captain Kavern Rodolphe Martin

The Wrestlers
Il Gatto Jules Beckman
Jamon Joris Camelin
The Missionary Eric Domeneghetty
Viandox Michaël Hallouin
Trepanator Matthieu Perpoint

Premiered October 11, 2005 at the Subsistances in Lyon

Duration 1h15

Texts : Ralph Waldo Emerson, Adolf Hitler, Cantique Catholique
Music : Mark Lewis and the Standards : Blind Sight, Rub the Steak, Stay Alive, Blind Date
Nikolai : Ready To Flow, New York Dolls : Personality Crisis

ANIMAL is a contemporary fable about the Forces of Good and Evil, false lies and true pretences, sacrifice, abnegation of meaning, welcoming the unspeakable. Diving, again and again, into the perceptions and sensations, there where everything trembles and shakes. And not to linger nor grasp, but to embrace the passage, navigate the systems, render visible the circulation, produce complex images which are born and die, leaving us fortunately astounded, perhaps uncomfortable, certainly disconcerted.

The dramaturgy of the performance is built upon the referee’s absolutely protestant rigor and the instinctive and delirious pulsions of the human animals. The ambiguous role of the referee collides with the resistance of the wrestlers bodies. A play is established between the ethic of domination that enslaves, and the permanence of the instinct of life or survival.

The public, seated on three sides of the ring close to the action, takes part like a jury at an autopsy session, at the same time witness, voyeur, engaged and invited to choose sides.




Final fight

"…Once again, we are offered a singular performance, both easy to receive and complex in its intentions, entertaining and disturbing at the same time. (…) Tompkins, as referee, loses both his breath and his whistle, and there is no winner in this struggle for life, not so metaphoric as it might appear. And so with the hallucinating performances of the actors, always just a hair away from pulling real punches, regressing like Von Trier’s idiots towards a funny and grim primitivism in the atmosphere of a cruel freak show where the music (songs composed and interpreted by Tompkins) does not at all soften the manners. The tension, palpable from the beginning to the end, doesn’t hold back the pleasure ; except perhaps the strange pleasure we feel watching this unusual performance which, finally, glides us towards a latent anxiety. "

CC, Le Petit bulletin, october 12, 2005

Tompkins, stage animal

"… The performance is rough, viril and darkly ironic. It is also funny and touching. As often the case with Tompkins, the dance-machine, dilapidated and crazy, runs full speed ahead, skids, swerves and crashes, both literally and figuratively, welcoming on board all sorts of foreign elements (wrestling of course, but also trance, rituals, the contorted bestiary of Jerome Bosch, TV variety shows…) All with a great economy of means in the staging. « I like the public and I don’t try to make elitist things. I make live performances : for me that means to give something to the audience, with generosity, even if it’s not neccessarily what they expect ». We strongly advise ANIMAL to all those who go to the theatre to be surprised and not necessarily rubbed in the right way. "

Jean-Emmanuel Denave, Tribune de Lyon, october 7, 2005

Cabaret Animal

« … It’s Mad Max revisited by the Village People, the All Blacks ritual revised by Almodovar… Tompkins turns barbarism into a mockery and magnifies the combat, the real one. The fighters progressively peel off their animal skins. Inevitable shift of their provocative rage towards a form of embrace. Finally, a pertinent fable, very physical, about these « warriors » who hope to shine in the arena but win simply a cheap victory… »

D.S. Tran, Le Progrès, october 15, 2005

Cosmic kamikazes, five bodies in a ring

"… With Tompkins, you never know what to expect. To hear him screaming Adolf Hitler’s speeches still arouses astonishment. After twenty years of frequenting his performances, this permanent destabilization strongly resembles to be a quality. He brandishes a unique style, kitsch and mocking, on the blade of which he sharpens a point of view about the world, art and mass entertainment. For this iconoclast, it’s not about waving the flag of provocation but to rebel against the established order. He is deliberately « too much », and more hysterical than ever in ANIMAL, an incredible show about the relationships between the dominating and the dominated, the cruelty of our instincts.…"

Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde, november 11, 2005

kitsch Catch 

"… War images and fight sports served as the basic inspiration for this piece about power and domination, which intermingles with astonishment violence and derision, muscular strength and zany spirit, the whole interspersed with songs signed by Mark Tompkins (…). Four wrestlers with hallucinating costumes (like Mad Max) enter the stage. The smell of incense from the beginning is replaced by some spices of sour sweat. They deliver us a frankly unconventional zapping, between human bestiality and "queeny" masculinity, with a bit more sensuality thrown in… To thwart the codes, to play with them and laugh as if it was nothing, could that be the solution to our animal pains ? In any case, a balloon of oxygen, surprising and invigorating."

Olivier Hespel, L’Express, november 18, 2005

The Tompkins Animal

"… Catchers, wrestlers of all types, they drive the audience in a non-stop game of pretences, appearances, viril values… We laugh a lot because it’s a nicely spirited farce. We attach ourselves to the off-beat characters who cling together under the vigilant eye of Tompkins, the big boss. In the course of this free-for-all, we recognize the infinite tenderness of the choreographer, alergic to anything which resembles more or less to an established order..."

Marie-Christine Vernay, Liberation, november 15, 2005

A very joyous funeral

" Mark Tompkins’ ANIMAL is a choregraphic UFO with the flavor of a dada cabaret, entertaining, disconcerting ; and, as a bonus, warmed by his talent as a singer. (…) His four male dancers, harnassed like futurist strongmen, engage in a spectacular physical fight, as furious as it is sensual. No winners, no losers, these trashy guys finish exhausted, whispering to the first rows their thrills while dancing…"

Gérard Mayen, Danse, december 2005


The beast in a man

"… ANIMAL evolves towards a satyric imaginary of homoerotic and political power relations. The end, unexpectedly poetic, questions the satyr in return. Finally, ANIMAL no longer appears as a farce but as an authentic reflection about the infidelities of desire and its strange and perverse results."

Jeroen Versteele, De Morgen, november 25, 2005

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