Some call it science
A talking dog. A robotic duck. A scientist covered in paint. Welcome to Frankie’s L.I.A.R, a laboratory of failures, collisions, and absurdity. In the performance, the group uses video, music, installation, and models to reflect on their creative process. Our writer Jeremy Tawedian had a chat with Frankie about their new show.
Can you tell me about the concept behind L.I.A.R.?
Well, the three of us like to work together because each of us has his own speciality. Vincent is good with filming and editing, Brecht is making the music and the sound, and (Simon) is the one who is making the sets and the installations. So, everything starts with an interaction. I would be building something and we make music based on that, a video… Always trying to bring the three of us together in one piece. I think what we wanna show with L.I.A.R. is this creative process. The experiment starts with something small and we build on it and we see how it goes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s a failure. The show is constantly evolving. It can go in different ways. We like to give ourselves the opportunity to be flexible in what we show.
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How is this approach different, compared to your first show?
In our first show, we were hiding everything that we were doing behind the scenes. Every installation was presented very neatly. We discovered that the way we are doing things and the way we are using our materials is cool to show to the audience.
We also want to show the space where we are creating all those things. It’s not just 'we made this, this is the music'.
Also, before L.I.A.R., we were five guys playing rock music in the middle of the stage. It was really a “band” playing songs. Now we’re going more into atmospheric music.
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Can you tell me more about those installations?
The ideas are very spontaneous. It works in different ways. Sometimes, Brecht makes some music and we think, ah, maybe it would be nice if we made this for that. There’s always a back-and-forth between the three of us. I think we enjoy it most to keep it spontaneous and go to the atelier, look maybe at what I made in the past, going in our own archives. Sometimes, it’s like “ah! I made this 25 years ago”. It’s like this game between us.
The role of the dog installation, for example, is to give different points of view of what’s happening on stage. He acts as a sort of observer. While we were making L.I.A.R., we asked Nathan Roche, the voice actor behind the dog, if he could give his comments on this or that. Sometimes, we just send him a title and then he would write something that would also influence the performance. He was receiving the information from our lab.
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…and this is where the laboratory idea came in?
It’s a humoristic way approach to it, the laboratory or factory where we show the clumsiness of the way how we work together.
In our first show, we were a band. And now, we’re kind of characters on stage. It’s not me. I think if somebody else wore my jacket, he would also be the video guy in the lab.
It helps that the audience sees it as a small world that is evolving. If we were to be ourselves on stage, people would just think “ah, these are just five guys on stage making music and installations”
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How long have you been working in this way?
We started renting a studio in Brussels about 5 months ago. We had this idea that the show has to exist through it. We need that space to work together to explore what we can do on stage.
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Where do you find humour?
I think you lose humour when you work on it. In a way, if you’re making a performance, you will want to make everything better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
I think you lose humour when you work on it
At the end of the day, everything just starts with an idea. For example, in the summer, it was really hot in the studio. It was hard to work there. So, we decided to put a shower on stage. We thought it would be funny at the time, but it took a completely different role in the play.
Two months later, it was super cold in the studio. We needed proper winter jackets. That’s where the idea of wearing puffer jackets and painting them white came from. Everything comes from our life at the studio, in the lab.
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