Get to know the artists of Buffer Fringe 2023 up close!
Fringe Uncut blog series aims at peaking into the backstage of the 10th edition of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival, taking place from the 4th until the 8th of October, including parallel activities and workshops.
This edition hosts Art Vouveau answering questions about their performance “Floating” at Buffer Fringe 2023, their inspiration and more. Read on and get yourself ready to immerse into the world of Buffer Fringe!
Q. Please introduce yourself/your group.
Art Vouveau Theatre Group, based in Athens Greece, was founded in 2013 by Tassos Dimitropoulos, Thanasis Megalopoulos, Phivos Symeonidis and Danai Tikou. The four founders -actors and friends – share a common vision about theatre which is the formation of a theatrical dialect that transcends speech through physicality and that is able to move the audience in the most unexpected ways. The group’s artistic work springs from a fusion of references such as silent movies, physical and mask theatre, german expressionism, commedia del’ arte, film noir, contemporary dance, literature and multimedia.
Since their beginning, they have developed teaching methods related to their work, addressed to various ages and backgrounds, and they consider their workshops as an integral part of their research.
“We create silent performances not as a means for reviving old genres but rather as a way of discovering endless possibilities, worlds, and universes through the condition of the absence of speech. We formed our theatre group out of necessity to articulate, sharpen and deepen our artistic language. Although our work demands great physical accuracy, at the same time it is so liberating, and can get us as close as possible to original childlike playfulness.”
Q. Can you describe your performance? (the topic you focus on, the main message of the performance, etc)
“Floating” is a work in progress by Art Vouveau that delves into the innate relationship between humans and nature. In today’s world, the profound connection between modern humans and nature has largely faded away. Yet, throughout history there are stories and rituals of people longing to surpass their physical boundaries and become one with nature.
In Floating, the story revolves around a traveller that is stranded in a timeless space. There she will have to face her own fears and limitations while experiencing a mystifying connection with the water. She is challenged to transcend into a floating state of vulnerability and acceptance. What will she have to leave behind? Where do we go when we become water?
In this project Art Vouveau combines physical theatre with video to create an open narrative with realistic, fictional and symbolic elements. Floating is a work in progress that will be developed during three residencies in three distinctive european festivals, One Festival (Samothrace), Buffer Fringe Festival (Nicosia) and M.I.M. Festival (Montpellier). During these residencies, Art Vouveau will interact with the local community, record videos and sounds of the natural landscape and gather performance material. All the above, alongside their extensive physical practice will work as key points for the development of the project.
The project is funded by EFFEA (European Fund for Emerging Artists).
Q. What was the inspiration behind this piece?
Our creative quest began with a fortunate encounter on the enchanting island of Samothraki at our first residency. As we connected with the locals and immersed ourselves in the island’s breathtaking landscape adorned with waterfalls and rivers, we gained a profound understanding of what it means to coexist with nature. The loneliness of the modern human intertwined with our innate desire to forge a deeper connection with the natural world became the driving force behind our performance.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process developing the piece?
“Floating” is a project affiliated with EFFEA, currently in a developmental phase spanning three residencies. Our second residency takes place at the Buffer Fringe Festival, following our initial stop at One Festival in Samothraki, which marked the project’s inception.
This endeavor is an amalgamation of our personal experiences, interactions and narratives from the local community, a theatre workshop with the locals, as well as images and sounds from the island’s unique surroundings. We intend to replicate this process during our upcoming residency in Cyprus, where we eagerly anticipate drawing inspiration from our interactions with the local community through our workshop and dialogues, as well as from the island’s unique landscape.
Q. How would you describe your performance in relation to the festival theme “Turning Point”?
The thematic essence of our performance aligns seamlessly with the Turning Point theme. “Floating” captures pivotal junctures in life when we are impelled to redefine our identities and connections with the world around us. As the traveler grapples with leaving behind her familiar constraints, ‘Floating’ invites us all to ponder our personal metamorphoses. Through immersive physical theatre and interwoven video elements, Art Vouveau Theatre Group crafts an open narrative fusing realism, fiction, and symbolism-a reflection of our complex existence and quest for unity with nature.
5 things to do at the turning point: Pause- Listen- Let go- Connect- Float
Q. Buffer Fringe Festival celebrates its 10th edition this year, yet considering Fringe tradition, it’s quite young. It’s also defined as a festival with an aim to contribute to peacebuilding, in a divided country. What are your thoughts on this, were you aware of the situation in Cyprus before applying, and what are your expectations as a participating artist?
Yes, we were indeed aware of the division of Cyprus before applying to the Buffer Fringe Festival. However, we must admit that we were not fully aware of the existence and significance of the buffer zone until we delved deeper into the festival’s context.
The buffer zone is undeniably a very unique and intriguing space, unlike any other. It holds a particular allure due to its distinctive nature and historical relevance. As participating artists, we find ourselves incredibly excited about the prospect of working within such an exceptional environment. We anticipate that this space will transform into a vibrant hub of creativity, as artists and audiences converge, and we look forward to being part of this transformation.
Moreover, we are genuinely eager to draw inspiration from the buffer zone’s unparalleled landscape and the rich stories it encapsulates. It offers a wealth of untold narratives and unique perspectives that we believe will greatly enrich our artistic exploration. We anticipate that our involvement in the Buffer Fringe Festival will be a truly enriching and enlightening experience.
Q. What should the audience expect?
The audience should anticipate an engaging and thought-provoking experience that invites them to explore the depths of their own emotions and connections to the natural world.
Words from our audience in Samothrace:
“The performance was uniquely wonderful, and it felt like it was speaking about my first experience but also the experience of many, many visitors of Nature! I laughed, traveled, got moved, inspired, transformed, and enjoyed every moment of it.” – Maria
“I felt the presence of all these elements that were absent but described solely through the movement of the actress, and I was crafting in my imagination an entire story, image, and even light, even when it was nighttime.” -Daphne