performances > the show must go on > presentation

title : The show must go on (2001)

conception and direction : Jérôme Bel
music : Leonard Bernstein, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, J. Horner, W.Jennings, Mark Knopfler, John Lennon and Paul Mac Cartney, Louiguy, Galt Mac Dermott, George Michael, Erick "More" Morillo and M. Quashie, Edith Piaf, The Police et Hugh Padgham, Queen, Lionel Richie, A.Romero Monge and R. Ruiz, Paul Simon
with : casting in progress
assistants : Frédéric Seguette, Olga de Soto
assistants for the local restaging : tbd
technical direction : Gilles Gentner
production : Theatre de la Ville (Paris), Gasthuis (Amsterdam), Centre Choregraphique National Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon (Montpellier), Arteleku Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia (San Sebastian), R.B. (Paris)

duration : 90 minutes
creation : Paris (France), on January 4th 2001, at the Theatre de la Ville
piece in the repertory of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg (2000-2005) and in the repertory of the Lyon Opera (2007-2014)
Jérôme Bel received a Bessie Award for the performances of The show must go on in New York in 2005.

R.B Jérôme Bel is supported by the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d'Ile-de-France, French Ministry for Culture, by the Institut Français, French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for its international tours and by ONDA - Office National de Diffusion Artistique - for its tours in France
For ecological reasons, R.B. Jérôme Bel company doesn't travel by plane anymore.

R.B. Jérôme Bel :
artistic advice and executive direction: Rebecca Lasselin
production manager : Sandro Grando
website : www.jeromebel.fr

With The show must go on, Jérôme Bel dissects the performance mechanisms, staging about twenty performers and a DJ who plays the last thirty years hits one after another. He plays with the performance expectations and with mirror-effects between performers and spectators.

Where drama might demand or force my attention on a moment-by-moment basis, the gift of The show must go on, in common with so much of Bel's work, is that it gives me the space and the time to look, the space and the time to be bored, the space and the time in which to find an interest. The uniformity of the line, the slowness of change in the piece and the simplicity of movement, all hide (or rather, occasion) a wealth of vivid, amazing detail.

Tim Etchells


The possibility of an art-piece, even a choreography, today is not to propose an utterance, but to invite the spectator to re-invent him/herself, or perhaps less utopic, to re-search his/her ideology of watching, of constructing Self, or articulating security. The artwork cannot say anything in itself, it can represent a political idea or concept, but today the artwork is a formulation of itself. The artwork can only investigate, or re-search, its own domain, and become self-conscious through reflection (per speculum in aenigmae) and through this awareness it can become an experience of the Self (the spectator) but never an experience of something else. To be part of an art-experience is always only the experience of the self.

Marten Spangberg


Bernard : « Hold on, your radio’s working. I’m happy you’re interested in the news, to know what’s going on in the world ».
Mathilde : « No, I only listen to songs because they tell the truth. The more stupid they are, the more they tell the truth and in that way they’re not stupid. They say, do not leave me or your absence has broken my life or I’m an empty house without you or let me be the shadow of your shadow or even without love, we’re nothing ».
Bernard : « Well, Mathilde, I have to go. I’ll come back ».

Excerpts from the dialogue of the film La femme d’à côté by François Truffaut, between Fanny Ardant (Mathilde) and Gerard Depardieu (Bernard)


Empty spaces - what are we waiting for
Abandoned places - I guess we know the score
On and on
Does anybody know what we are looking for
Another hero another mindless crime
Behind the curtain in the pantomime
Hold the line
Does anybody want to take it anymore
The show must go on
The show must go on...

Excerpts of the lyrics of The show must go on by Queen