“Les Hauts Plateaux”, dream of union at the top

Stuck in a Plexiglas cabin barely smaller than a phone booth of yesteryear (or barely larger than a coffin), a restless man feverishly expresses into a microphone the “doubts” who hug him. Is it better to “To remember, or to forget” ? Such is the preliminary question, which will call for others, while in the background resound the free stridences of a score ending to dispel any risk of drowsiness. The antechamber of Highlands could give rise to fear of the pensum. It will not be. On the contrary. A major figure in contemporary circus which, at the dawn of the 21st centurye century, created his own company, Les Mains, les pieds et la tête also (MPTA), after multiple collaborations, Mathurin Bolze returns in reality by the front door, with a creation of which he signs the writing and the staging . And, as long as not to do things by halves, he interprets, surrounded by half a dozen accomplices, boys and girls with varied backgrounds (acrobats, contortionists, carriers), drawn into a succession of frenzied figures at the service of an ubic as well as oblique theater, of rare quality on current stages.

Because if there is a lot to see, during the seventy-five minutes of an action that unfolds and moves constantly between two trampolines (a small and a large, sometimes horizontal, sometimes inclined), a platform unstable hanging in the hangers and a very long removable ladder which has the good metaphorical idea of ​​getting nowhere, it is not so much the gratuitous feat that motivates the band, as a quest for meaning in engagement (in grips?) with our current doubts and concerns.

Of course – and this is, moreover, the primary reason why the public comes in large numbers and applauds wildly – no one would dream of sulking the pleasure, as Mathurin Bolze specifies in his note of intent, that the mastery of “Acrobatic stakes, dazzling, carried, mutual aid, domino effects and choreographic writing in the volume of space”. But, precisely, this Circassian demonstration thwarts (or surrounds) the pitfall of a yet profound reflection which enhances the subject.

Among other references, it deals with the Mushroom of the end of the world, a book by anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing reflecting on “The possibilities of living in the ruins of capitalism” from the study of a fungus growing in Japan in contaminated places. Or la Supplication, an essay by Svetlana Alexievitch devoted to the Chernobyl disaster.

However, nothing forbidding or constrained is reflected in the fluid arrangement of a vegetable mess which, served by a breathtaking work on lights (Rodolphe Martin) and a select BO juggling with styles and eras (the rock group Zëro , the American saxophonist Colin Stetson, the Finnish electro duo Pan Sonic, Beethoven, the Harmonic Poem by Vincent Dumestre…), would tend to praise instability in a time when everything threatens to collapse. Chinese shadows refuting the hypothesis of an interpretation “Decidedly dark” until the explicitly burlesque sequence around a facetious vacuum cleaner, all would be thus only jubilation in these Highlands leading the circus (and its tributaries) towards a pinnacle – taunting the danger – such as it does not reach so frequently.


Gilles Renault

The Highlands of Mathurin Bolze Until October 10 at MC 93 in Bobigny (93). And on tour until July 2021: October 16 and 17 in Tarbes (65), from 23 to 25 at the Circa d’Auch festival (32).

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