ZH Festival: love in the time of the application

ZH Festival: l’amour au temps des applications

Photo: Catherine Legault Duty
The author and actress Véronique Pascal found a topic deeply theatrical in the transformations that are happening to dating in the digital age.

The ZH Festival loop programming with a laboratory for exploring the process of encounter and seduction in the age of social media. Love in the 21st century (according to Wikihow) is inspired by the actual exchange on the app Tinder. For its designer, Véronique Pascal, there is a phenomenon of society fascinating. “We live in a transition, I think, in our way of communicating and of thinking about relationships. “

And she has found a subject for the dramatic. “Wikihow says that love can be found in five steps, in 2018 : put in action, fill plug, start the conversation, make it last the flirting and the terse “go away”. (laughter) It’s like the five acts of a show. “His desire to embody in this game of love at the theatre has faced many questions about the theatrical device. “How to play a conversation by texting ? Now, we are communicating with this language a bit odd, that sometimes [does] not even words, but emoticons, GIFS [animated]. And the love, or the desire, sneaks through it. “

The research of Véronique Pascal were also philosophical. And to support his or her reflection, she discovered, fascinated, the concept of liquid modernity. That is to say, “a society without solid markers” as described by the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. “We talk about destabilization of manners. At the beginning, what are the social structures that are liquefied. And there, it is entered into the intimacy. “The thinker gave the example of the mating disposable seen in reality shows. “And in the face of this liquefaction, some will be carried away by the current ; others on the contrary become very strong, hence the return of certain religions and very strong structures. A lot of people of my generation are in families, and [relations] hypersolides. “

The actress, author of a piece for teenagers, The night // The watchman, presented to the House-Theatre last winter, does not carry any moral judgment on these meetings by the application. “I think that love is multifaceted and that some relationships can start with a hook-up of a sexual nature. “One thing is for certain, as they meet with the individuals in search of dates, these platforms allow us to make the economy a couple of steps. And, in the past, meetings could be held in public places, she says. “Here, people are on their cell phones. Then, it is necessary to enter in their phone so that they see you. But if you’re sitting next to them, not sure… “

At the beginning, what are the social structures that are liquefied. And there, it is entered into the intimacy.

— Véronique Pascal

The long-lasting love, to him, remains elusive. The designer talks about it a bit like a mythical creature, which one continues to believe in the existence. “Maybe it’s like Big Foot or the Loch Ness monster : a thing that some people have a view “…

“Hyperfestif “, love in the 21st century is, however, a comedy ” smart “, which exploits the confusion caused by the applications. In addition to rely on screen shots of conversations on Tinder, the designer has submitted a written questionnaire to its “sampling” of 17(!) interpreters, who have shown their vision of love, of desire, of sexuality. And anecdotes. “I am part of the elements that I have provided to write each of them a scene where they would go and sell it in a certain way. “

But the theatre cannot simply scroll through images and key phrases as Tinder does. “You have to go find the emotions of the viewer. I try to the background to adapt something that can have the air cold and intangible, to give him flesh. “

The show would put musical numbers, monologues, conversations, and scenes physical. In order to reproduce this feeling “that you never know what you’re gonna get” that, itself, has been proven by using these applications, Véronique Pascal keeps his actors on the alert : they are not notified of the order of the scenes. “We are going to try to live a kind of Tinder live.” she summarizes. The unmarried of the public will be identified by a bracelet. “Is there going to be a match ? The actors came to play the game of love, then they could be challenged directly in a viewer “…


In this show she describes as “very lewd” — “Ears chaste, abstain” —, Véronique Pascal from sitting true to the intertwining with fiction, in a kind of ” pseudo-documentary “. “For me, anyway, from the moment you put a person on stage and the lights, there is drama, and fiction. And there is an avatar that is created, as in Tinder, where we choose our photos, how you present yourself. “

There is, indeed, a fiction in our way now to create characters, to promote our own image on social networks. What it calls the branding. “If we know ourselves, we know that we are in the process of play to brander. But there are people who come to confuse their person, and [this brand]. Then, they do themselves a story. But it has not always been the case, love ? “

Love in the 21st century (according to Wikihow)

Concept and directed by : Véronique Pascal. Text : Tinder. Dramaturgy and research : Ariane Bourget. Assistance and choreography : Marie-Ève Archambault. Presented by : Companions of the Baroque, on the 11th of August, at the Maison de la culture Maisonneuve.