As a successful summer at Brighton Open Air Theatre draws to a close, French theatre company Bubblegum Parfum Desert presents My Floorboards. This translated work promises an explosive day of unique musical performance with only a lone actor and a synthesiser.
The production is inspired by the tragic life of Jeannot le Béarnaise. He lived in isolation, growing up on a farm until his abusive father’s suicide sparked a breakdown. Years later, after his mother’s death in 1971, he began drilling lines of text into the floorboards of his family home, while sleeping in the dining room near to his mother’s resting place under the stairs.
Discovered after his death, the floorboards were exhibited in Paris, but critics claimed this exploited le Béarnaise’s schizophrenia. My Floorboards wishes not to make the same mistake. Instead, it wants to provide a snapshot into the Frenchman’s irrational and deranged mind.
“He can be seen as a madman or disillusioned comedian,” claims Bubblegum Parfum Desert, summing up the production’s intrigue. Are the floorboards simply a product of le Béarnaise’s mental illness, or is there method to his madness?
The open air theatre is the perfect home for My Floorboards. Without the confines of a traditional venue, it places the audience in-the-round and allows them to feel part of the performance.
The 2pm showing is a great opportunity for freshers and experienced Brightonians alike, to explore away from the city centre and soak up its culture with a picnic. Alternatively, take advantage of the looming autumnal evenings and strap yourself in for an equally dark theatrical twist before the venue closes its curtains for the winter.
My Floorboards shows 21st September at 2pm and again at 7pm.
Tickets: £10 General Admission/£8 Concessions (including students with an NUS card and people with a disability)
Featured image: Clément Chebli