Bringing Surrealism Back: Quesne at On the Boards, September 10-13

Posted on September 05, 2015, 10:58 am
3 mins


Paris-based theatre artist Philippe Quesne returns to On the Boards with his show La Mélancolie des dragons for one weekend only, September 10-13. An international name with an ever-growing reputation, Quesne and his group Vivarium Studio inhabit a lighthearted space between the French avant-garde and offbeat social commentary. Quesne’s visual arts and graphic design background—and his continuing work with public installations and exhibits—produces innovative set design, in which he poses absurdist vignettes that push audiences to consider life through a humorous, human lens.

La Mélancolie des dragons (2008) is a sequel of sorts to Quesne’s L’Effet de Serge (2007), which had its On the Boards premiere in 2011. Theatre-goers who attended the performance a few years ago will appreciate the overlap between the two, as the last scene of L’Effet dovetails nicely into the opening of La Mélancolie, a method that Quesne uses often to unite his works. In La Mélancolie, a snowy forest is disturbed by a ragtag group of metalheads whose sole vision is to create a woodsy theme park from found objects and a dilapidated Citroen, a commentary on the blind consumerist society they wish to escape.

The Pacific Northwest is not a common touring stop for international creative minds, but On the Boards is doing a fabulous job bringing artists such as Quesne to Seattle. Those of us with an absurdist streak should jump at the chance to get a taste of French surrealism (featuring medieval recorders playing songs by the Scorpions!).

Philippe Quesne’s La Mélancolie des dragons

Where: On the Boards (100 W Roy St.)

When: Thursday, September 10 through Saturday, September 12 at 8pm. Sunday matinee on September 13, 5 PM

Performance is in French with English surtitles. Tickets are $25 general admission, and $12 for attendees under 25. You can buy tickets here, and find more information at On the Board’s website.

Opening Night Studio Dinner

A pay-what-you-can ticket (sliding scale $25-100) gets you a seat at the table by Chef Monica Dimas of Neon Taco and Milkwood & Co on opening night at 6 PM in the Studio Theatre. A portion of the proceeds goes to a charity of the chef’s choice. 6:00 PM Drinks, 6:30 PM Dinner. Reserve your spot by emailing with your name, the number of people in your party (max 4) and a daytime phone number (OtB will call to confirm your reservation).

Claire Biringer is a Seattle-based music lover, educator and writer. She holds an MA in Music History from University of Washington, where her primary research involved contemporary opera and its social implications. She enjoys using music and writing to build communities and broaden minds.