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Aurélien Bory Sans Objet

Without text

Guest performance by Compagnie 111 – Aurélien Bory

Co-produced by:
TNT–Théâtre National de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées,
Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne E.T.E., Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, La
Coursive-Scène national La Rochelle, Agora-Pôle national des arts du cirque de Boulazac, Le Parvis–Scène nationale Tarbes–Pyrénées

Assisted by London International Mime Festival

With special thanks to L'Usine, lieu conventionné Arts de la rue – Tournefeuille

End of the drama approx. 21:10.


  • 24 August 2013, 20:00


  • 25 August 2013, 20:00
  • 26 August 2013, 20:00

Print programme (PDF)


Aurélien Bory, Concept, Director and Sets
Tristan Baudoin, Robot Control and Programming
Joan Cambon, Music
Arno Veyrat, Carole China, Lighting
Pierre Rigal, Artistic Assistant
Joël Abriac, Sound
Sylvie Marcucci, Costumes
Pierre Dequivre, Construction
Frédéric Stoll, Screen Construction
Isadora de Ratuld, Painting
Guillermo Fernandez, Make Up
Arno Veyrat, Technical Director
Compagnie 111, Aurélien Bory, Florence Meurisse, Production


It’s like puppetry, but unlike any puppetry you’ve ever seen before. Puppet theatre is usually created through the manipulation of objects by human hands. What we see in Sans Objet is an object manipulating human beings.

Set in a world beyond language, an elaborately choreographed dialogue unfolds between man and machine, a compelling ballet between human bodies and a mechanical one, or rather a single, anthropomorphic limb, a giant robotic arm from a 1970s car assembly plant. The robot’s movements are complex, precise and perfectly repeatable – qualities which its fleshy colleagues face a severe challenge to match despite their considerable skill and training. And at the same time the power of the arm is evidently far superior to that of the human bodies on stage. It’s so strong, it’s frightening. The pent-up energy within the robot fills the theatre.

The performance, which also draws on elements of dance and circus, raises fascinating questions about the relationship between man and machine in a graphic and visceral way. Its title, Sans Objet, means “without a purpose”. A bolder translation would be “useless”. But just who or what is useless here? Is it the actors who we see being freighted around the stage like cargo? Or is it the robot, an outdated model, excessively humanized, now obsolete, an antique?

Who is in control? Despite the robot’s apparent superiority, it is a creature of the human mind, conceived, designed, constructed, programmed and operated by men. Still, will this always be the case? Or will the robots one day liberate themselves? Do we have a future?
This is compelling visual theatre suitable for all ages.

David Tushingham