One of Us is a live ensemble performance made up of a mixed group of 12 to 14 performers. It was first performed in 2014 in France as L’Un de Nous with a core group of professional actors and local volunteers. It was radically reworked in 2018 as Uno di Noi in Italy, with experienced actors and dancers from throughout Italy. Although English is spoken through the developmental process, the performers speak in their native language during the performance, so one or several languages may be spoken depending on the constitution of the group. The performance is in the round with the performers moving in and out of the space from all sides. It is adaptable to the site and situation – it was performed in a black box theatre in L’Avant Seine and outside in the courtyard at Villa Nappi in Polverigi – but most of all the material is drawn from the performers’ own memories and stories, so it is very responsive to the constitution of the group.
Uno di Noi
ensemble performance | 2018
Duration 60 minutes
Uno di Noi was developed from L’Un de Nous. The ensemble group acts as one; the performers build on what each other says to form common threads or trains of thought that run and develop through the group. They take each other’s personal stories and repeat them back as their own. They move in and out of the audience in the round to get a solitary performer to standing centre stage. The difficulty is that they move as one and copy one another. The ambivalence towards the isolated, solitary figure is expressed in a barrage of proposed names, insults and comments on both the power and vulnerability of the position. They take it in turns to stand alone to be pilloried and congratulated for the sacrifice as they are replaced by another performer. Two or more performers may work as one ‘person’ gravitating towards and around one another like satellites or atoms. They generate speech between them. Hearing speech has more significance than speaking. The individuals emerge as they recount significant personal experiences but their stories are cut off. A hand on their shoulder silences and releases them. The structure is fleshed out by the group as it takes on a life of its own.
Developed and Performed by: Francesco Benanti Vitale, Elena Biagina, Valentina Bonci, Chiara Buzzone, Marco Celli, Leonardo Delfanti, Saverio Fabbri, Fonte Fantasia, Paola Foresi, Giulia Francia, Eleonora Greco, Dalila Reas and Lorenzo Vanini.
Produced by Nicky Childs for Artsadmin in collaboration with local commissioners.
Commissioned by Marche Teatro/Inteatro Festival. Performed at Villa Nappi, Polverigi, Italy.
L’un de Nous
ensemble performance | 2014
Duration 60 minutes
The performers emerge from the audience, coaxing one another onto the stage. They do everything together but need to isolate one to stand alone. They are strange actors who all want to play the same parts at the same time. The group will ostracise any individual behaving differently. They attempt to control and police each other, while compelled to copy the others. Performers begin to replace one another as they construct ‘Jean’, gradually fleshing out a life story from a combination of the performers’ actual memories. The group assimilates each personal story as they listen and repeat it back as their own, accepting any elaboration made within the group until one performer is challenged on a detail and excluded. It is played like a game, yet there is poignancy in a story that is cut short by a hand on the shoulder.
Developed with and performed by Pierre-Marie Baudoin; Aida Bendali; Hassiba Bendali; Guillaume Bursztyn; Celine Bouchard-Cadaugade; Sophie DuFlouleur; Mattieu Fayette; Nelly Di Giovanni; Florence Grewling; Julien Pluchard; Nichola Soudiere.
Produced by Nicky Childs, Artsadmin.
Commissioned by l’Avant Seine, Théâtre de Colombes with additional support from the British Council.