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SAAL Biennaal '23: "Guide to surviving Masculinist Territory"

Saal Biennaal | Kanuti Gildi SAAL
Audrey Bersier, Marion Thomas, Maxine Reys
Audrey Bersier, Marion Thomas, Maxine Reys
SAAL Biennaal 2023
January 2021 in Théâtre du Grütli, festival GOGOGO, Geneva

Concept, writing, and voice Marion Thomas
Artistic collaboration and sound creation Audrey Bersier, Maxine Reys
Graphics Audrey Bersier
Production manager Joanne Buob
Estonian translation Maria Esko
Estonian voices Inga Salurand
English translation Florence Schluchter-Robins
Scottish voices Rosalind McAndrew
Video recording Alexandre Montin
Production Pintozor Prod.
Co-production Théâtre du Grütli (Geneva), Les Subsistances (Lyon)
Financial support Geyser project call grant, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, m2act, ProHelvetia, Fondation Emilie Gourd, la Loterie Romande

Guide to surviving Masculinist Territory is a performance in the form of an urban space audio walk. A woman invites you to follow her through the streets of Tallinn while listening to the story of an "incel". A member of the community of “involuntary celibates” who meet on the internet around their hatred of women. The life of an "incel" gradually intertwines with the narrative of a young woman fascinated by this highly violent movement.

Incel, definition:
The term "incel" is a contraction of "involuntary celibate". It refers to a community of young men who have shaped an identity around the fact that they have little or no sexuality. According to their beliefs, if they are not involved in a romantic relationship, it is because they are not handsome enough, not attractive enough for women – whom they label "femoid" (contraction of "female" and "humanoid”).

Statement of intent
In a Western context marked by the #MeToo movement, which has created an unprecedented space for women to express themselves and be heard, one might assume that the status of women and minorities is evolving towards more rights and respect. While this may be partially true in specific contexts, we are still immersed in an environment where verbal and sexual violence against women is normalised and condoned, both in the media and popular culture. And we observe in counterpoint the rise of new violent movements and hate speeches.

"Incels" are described as mentally ill, but they are more reminiscent of beings that are highly sensitive to the hatred of a violent system.
We do not intend to mock "incels", analyse them coldly, nor even sympathise with them, but to engage in a reflection on violence against women through their eyes.

The script, written by Marion Thomas and performed in Edinburgh by Rosalind McAndrew, is absorbing, thoughtful and sometimes terrifying. (The Scotsman, Joyce McMillan)

Expect to leave having learned something shocking and new. (The List, Mega Merino)

Audrey Bersier entered the ECAL (Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne) in 2011, where she completed a Bachelor's degree in cinema. Her professional experiences led her to become increasingly interested in audio creation, exploring forms such as immersive audio guides, podcasts and sound installations. She co-founded the association Pintozor Prod. to create coherence in her artistic research.

Maxine Reys is a theatre director and researcher. In 2016, she obtained a Master's degree in Stage Direction at the Manufacture School of Performing Arts in Lausanne and is currently pursuing her doctoral research on the interaction between actors and directors within the direction of actors (FNS grant, UNIL). In 2018, she co- founded Pintozor Prod. with Audrey Bersier, where she produces theatre projects, sound creations, podcasts, and workshops on future imaginaries. She develops projects with Kraft association (Lausanne) between art, urbanism & psychology.

Marion Thomas is an author, director, and performer. After obtaining a Master's degree in literature at the University of Nantes, she trained as a theatre director at the Manufacture in Lausanne (Switzerland). She develops her projects between Nantes with the Frag theatre company and Lausanne with Pintozor Prod. She explores forms of theatrical hybridisation with other cultural forms by participating, for instance, in multidisciplinary artistic research on the imaginary of the sea in partnership with Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) or by teaching dramaturgy to students of the Master's degree in international mediation at the University of Nantes.

Length: 60'
In Estonian and English
Performance contains description of physical and sexual violence