Shows > Mambo Jumbo

Mambo Jumbo

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Mambo Jumbo in Aubervilliers - Photo : Clèmence René-Bazin

Mambo Jumbo is a street theatre creation halfway between masquerade and fashion show. A carnival-like parade composed of giants and characters with a rowdy look and mood whose contagious euphoria is transmitted like a virus through rhythm, dance, humour and derision.
Above all, Mambo Jumbo is a call for everyone to join the parade, to move, to dance, to create the conditions for a pandemic of good humour that spreads without distinction, without barriers, without borders.
A troupe of giants overruns the streets of the city. For the time of the parade it takes on the dress codes and musical rhythms of various emancipation movements, affirming with humour and a bit of arrogance the right of expression and dignity of struggling communities.

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Mambo Jumbo draws from the dressing and musical revolutions that have accompanied the great moments of struggle for equality and emancipation, whether it is the battle of women, homosexuals or black Americans. By the choice of costumes, themes and music, it celebrates these periods of liberation and provocation. It invites everyone to free themselves from the restraints of everyday life in an authentic carnival spirit.

Photo : Dominique Lagnous
Photo : Dominique Lagnous

Struggles for emancipation have perhaps developed their music and dress codes in order to humanise the bitterness of the fight in a festive manner.
These are the cultural elements that this project wants to bring to light.
What other relationship can be established between a Congolese sapper, a drag-queen and a rapper if not a furious desire to exist and to live?
This project is nourished by that need for recognition and that spontaneous energy.

Photo : Thomas Sappe
Photo : Thomas Sappe

A successful ball or carnival is one where the audience does not just watch but participates in the festival.
With Mambo Jumbo, the Grandes Personnes wanted to propose an intensely stimulating performance. A group made up of actor-dancers and giant puppets some four metres tall alternates choreographic scenes and narratives with moments of festive promenading to catchy, popular music thus inviting the public to participate in both the parade and the dance.

Photo : Thomas Sappe
Photo : Thomas Sappe

The puppets and dancers are dressed and accessorised to music while in full view, thanks to the sound system installed on a huge cart that looks like an itinerant wardrobe. The costumes of this insolent fashion-show parody are inspired by those of feminists, rappers, zooters, sappers, afros, punks, drag-queens or queers. Thus, each dancer, each giant puppet goes through a series of choreographed metamorphoses. In a joyfully anachronistic disorder, each shows off their figure, elegance and sense of rhythm while dancing to music drawn from a repertoire ranging from African drums to techno by way of New Orleans jazz, rock, funk, soul, hip-hop and Latino-American or Caribbean standards.

From the mobile choreography of the parade, developed with the participation of Olivier Germser, founder of the Tango Sumo company, to the final grand ball when the show ends, the invitation to dance is at the heart of Mambo Jumbo’s proposition. The choreographic work of the Les Grandes Personnes collective was enriched by participation in the opening parade of the Lyon Dance Biennale, in 2016, with Seifeddine Manaï, and continues to be perfected.

While Mambo Jumbo has already been the subject of a residency at the Villa Mais d’Ici in 2017, of a remarkable outing at the carnival of Nice in March 2017, and of 3 performances in the centre of France with the Guinguette Buissonnière, the collective wants to expand and perfect it, to develop its choreography, its musical and narrative choices, while keeping the energy of a work in progress, of an experimental laboratory..

Dessin : Clôdmo

Artistic direction: Pauline de Coulhac
Directed by: Pauline de Coulhac and Raphaële Trugnan
With the precious collaboration of Olivier Germser for the chorographic parts and Sévane Sybesma for the writing.
Costumes: Patricio Luengo assisted by Juliette Minot, Annette Ravaud, Véronique Valentino and Claudia Verdejo
Accessories design: Matisse Wessels
Design and creation of the cart: Maurizio Moretti and Cédric Lasne
Sound editing: Maximilien Neujahr and Kevin Monteiro
Fabrication of accessories and structures: Claude-Maurice Baille, Ninon Bonnot, Laure Bouchereau, Yoann Cottet, Yabako Konate, Cédric Lasne, Clémence Minot, Maurizio Moretti, Nathalie Regior, Nicolas Vuillier, Matisse Wessels.
A big thank you to Yuka Jimenez for his precious collaboration
and his wise advice.
Actors and puppeteers (alternately):
Claude-Maurice Baille, Laure Bouchereau, Caroline Brillon, Yoann Cottet, Pauline de Coulhac, Cédric Lasne,
Rodolphe Martin, Kevin Monteiro, Maurizio Moretti, Maximilien Neujahr, Sévane Sybesma, Raphaële Trugnan, Nicolas Vuillier, Matisse Wessels.

Photo : Dominique Lagnous
Photo : Dominique Lagnous