They certainly make use of their hard-won freedom – or, to be more precise, freedom that they won without a fight. That’s because Peeping Tom won over audiences from the very beginning with their work that unites community theatre, contemporary dance, acrobatics, cabaret and the avant-garde. First acclaimed in France and then Belgium before gaining an international following, the troupe includes Gabriela Carrizo, Franck Chartier and a number of long-time supporters. They created their first work in 1999, which was set in a trailer. Titled “Caravana”, the work was performed in parks and public spaces, but not theatres. And it was presented not in the outskirts of town, but right in the heart of Paris, in front of the Centre Pompidou for example. Franck Chartier and Gabriela Carrizo have been well known in the dance scene for over twenty years. The two – he is from France, she is Argentinian – met in Brussels, where both interpreted the work of Alain Platel. They started performing together in 1997, enjoying success with works like “La Tristeza Complice” and “lets op Bach”. Their meeting was a stroke of luck, as Platel’s company Les Ballets C de la B was at that time quickly becoming known for producing talented artists, such as the famous choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who later joined Platel.
Platel’s company is not known only for the extraordinary artists it grooms, but is exceptional in light of the freedom with which it allows its artists to pursue projects; in fact, audiences were left speechless fifteen years ago by the way that Carrizo and Chartier did away with all ingrained notions of contemporary dance, as in their trilogy consisting of the pieces “Le Jardin”, “Le Salon” and “Le Sous-sol” (“The Garden”, “The Living Room”, “The Cellar”), which became part of standard repertoire on stages in Europe, Australia, the USA and Asia, and is now frequently performed in theatre festivals. Their creations should really be called physical theatre, as though Pina Bausch and Monty Python joined forces to stage of Chekhov.