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Nanterre, Ile de France

La Nuit des taupes (Welcome to Caveland!)

A performance by Philippe Quesne (New Settings #6)

Sociological comment? A philosophical fairy tale? A concert? Welcome to Caveland! is a total work by Philippe Quesne, a hybrid installation-cum-stage performance evoking the everyday existence of animals with a distinctly human accent, and asking the question: How can we live together? 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - La Nuit des taupes (Welcome to Caveland!)
© Martin Argyroglo

The light is dim – how could it be otherwise in this kingdom of moles? Transported to ‘caveland’, the audience watches a small group of furry creatures as they go about their daily business: eating, sleeping, loving, dying, and creating: these particular moles draw on the walls of their habitat, and perform live music, too. Philippe Quesne’s production transposes the themes of his previous work, Swamp Club, underground, but preferring the company of moles to humans, for this close encounter with the realm of allegory.      

Plato’s Allegory looms large in the depths of this cave, with its deliberate echo of our inward-looking contemporary world. Quesne is a French director and stage designer, (currently the director of the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers centre dramatique national), fascinated, he says, by ways to ‘slow down our speeding world, melt into our surroundings, cease the tumult of modern life, experience and share a static journey’. Welcome to Caveland! follows this roadmap to the letter.

The set encompasses the theatre as a whole: members of the audience are invited to make their way through the cave, and the space becomes a free forum for shared creativity, hosting a rich programme of accompanying events, workshops, performances and installations with a particular focus on children and young people. By night, Philippe Quesne’s moles venture out to present a stage show that allegorises their daily lives. This hybrid project is part of New Settings #6 from the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, which has supported its production and staging at the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers.

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Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers
November 5 to 26, 2016
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 8.30 p.m., Thursday, 7.30 p.m., Sunday, 3.30 p.m.
Duration: c. 1 h 30 


Concept, staging and set design Philippe Quesne • With Yvan Clédat, Jean-Charles Dumay, Léo Gobin, Erwan Ha Kyoon Larcher, Sébastien Jacobs, Thomas Suire, Gaëtan Vourc’h • Costumes Corine Petitpierre • Libretto Lancelot Hamelin, Ismael Jude, Smaranda Olcese • Assistant set designer Elodie Dauguet • Original score (in progress) • Set-builders at the Ateliers de Nanterre-Amandiers Philippe Binard, Jérôme Chrétien, Jean-Pierre Druelle, Marie Maresca.
Production: Nanterre-Amandiers - Centre Dramatique National • With the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of New Settings #6 • Co-production: Steirischer herbst (Austria), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Belgium), Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (Switzerland), La Filature - Scène Nationale, Mulhouse, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Germany), Théâtre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine, Kaaïtheater (Belgium), Centre d’Art Le Parvis, Tarbes, NXTSTP with the support of the European Union Culture Programme • With the participation of the Behavioral Objects research group – co-ordinated by Samuel Bianchini of the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture, Paris - Malaquais AAP (Art, Architecture, Politics) Atelier Jordi Colomer ‘Welcome to Caveland???’.