En avant, marche!
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This brilliant fusion of music, dance, theatre and opera – including a full-scale brass band – is a pure, life-affirming celebration of the power of making music together.
With almost 40 performers on stage, Alain Platel – one of the world’s great performance makers – in collaboration with soul mate Frank Van Laecke celebrates the marching band community and one of its members, a larger-than-life trombonist coming to terms with his demotion to cymbal player.
Music clubs are a microcosm of society, a collection of individuals striving to play in harmony. In this exuberant story of love, thwarted ambition and youth, teachers, solicitors, plumbers and nurses are brought together while our hero trombonist terrorises band members, confides in the audience, sings arias and dances an unlikely ballet duet.
This genre-defying international collaboration places our own Brisbane Excelsior Band, winner of eight Australian National Championship titles, at its brimming heart.
The sensationally arranged music includes marching band classics along with Verdi, Beethoven, Schubert, Richard Strauss, Elgar and Holst.
Les ballets C de la B travels the globe with a thrilling mix of contemporary dance, text, theatre and music. This is the third time their work has been seen in Brisbane, following Coup Fatal in 2015 and Out of Context – For Pina in 2011.
“A production that swoops between high and low culture and combines concert, theatre and dance in one category-defying package… it feels as if all human life is presented on stage. What is happening around the edges is always as intriguing as what is taking centre stage... It’s a show in which the gaps speak as eloquently as the action and messy humanity spills across the stage. Then they start to play and become one… absorbing.” (The Guardian)
“The whole piece creates a world in which a life can be celebrated.” (The Stage)
The Brisbane Festival version of En avant, marche! will be performed in English.
En avant, marche! is part of the Festival Focus. Click here to take part in the Festival Conversation about Taking Part.
Director: Alain Platel
Alain Platel is trained as a remedial educationalist and as an autodidact director. In 1984, he set up a small group of friends and relatives to work collectively with on productions, which included Emma, Bonjour Madame, La Tristeza Complice, and Iets op Bach. These productions by Les Ballets C de la B (as the group was now called) rocketed to the international top.
In collaboration with Frank Van Laecke, Platel created Gardenia in 2010, a production in which the closing of a transvestite cabaret gives a glimpse into the private lives of a memorable group of old artists. In 2015, he renewed his collaboration with Van Laecke for En avant, marche! a performance about society inspired by the tradition of orchestras and brass bands.
Over the past decade, Platel’s focus has shifted from large-scale projects to smaller theatre projects and this has had a significant influence on his way of perceiving theatre. His work is most renowned for its exuberance and the diversity of performers and themes, such as passion, desire and violence.
Director: Frank Van Laecke
Frank Van Laecke has built a rich international career both as a writer and as director. As writer of TV series for the Flemish public television channel VRT, Van Laeke took his first professional steps as a director in the musical department of the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Since then, he has directed many award-winning plays, operas, musicals, and television programs and in known for his ability to combine comical content and size.
Van Laecke’s most notable work includes, Kuifje en de Zonnetempel (Tintin and the Temple of the Sun), Gardenia (nominated in London for the prestigious Olivier Award), and Masterclass (nominated for the Dutch Audience Drama Award).
Brisbane Excelsior Band
Brisbane Excelsior has entertained generations of Australians through concerts, parades, park performances, opening events, ceremonial marches, vice-regal occasions and corporate bookings.
A highly competitive A Grade Queensland band, Brisbane Excelsior Band has been on a winning streak in recent years, having been the only brass band to have successfully won four Australian National Championship titles and two New Zealand National Championships consecutively. The band currently holds the title of ‘Australian A Grade Champions 2016’ and recently reclaimed the famous Fireman’s Helmet Trophy for the eighth time since 2005.
The band’s repertoire is extremely diverse, performing classical, light classical, musical comedy, traditional swing, contemporary and sacred music.
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