Photograph: Julieta Cervantes

Photograph: Julieta Cervantes

Chambre

Choreography and Text: Jack Ferver
Installation: Marc Swanson
Performers: Jack Ferver, Michelle Mola, Jacob Slominski
Costumes:  Reid Bartelme
Sound Score:  Roarke Menzies

 

 

Chambre is a new work by writer, choreographer and performer Jack Ferver in collaboration with visual artist Marc Swanson. Tackling the timeless tension and widening gap between the “haves” and “have nots”, the work is a hybrid interdisciplinary performance and art installation drawing from Jean Genet’s  iconic play Les Bonnes (The Maids) and the Papin murder case which inspired that play. The work sharply examines notions of otherness, gender politics, celebrity culture, class divisions, and the violence that exerts itself both internally and externally from these issues.

 

"There once were two little girls.

Sisters.

This is about them.

This is their story.

In a way.

Jean Genet wrote a play based on them called Les Bonnes.

Which means, The Maids.

That’s why this work is called Chambre.

It’s just this fancy sounding French word.

The sister’s names were Christine and Léa Papin.

They were maids.

Sisters.  

Girls.  

Boys.  

Boys playing girls.  

Men playing maids.

Genet wanted the roles to be played by boys.  

At least that’s what he says in Our Lady of the Flowers.

In his play, Genet names the sisters Solange and Claire.  

Genet also has the sisters try and murder their employer through poisoned tea. Christine and Léa Papin, however, murdered the Mother and Daughter they worked for by ripping out their eyes, bashing their heads in with a hammer and a small pewter jug and cutting up their bodies and legs like loaves of bread.

I’m surprised things like this don’t happen more often."

- Jack Ferver




 
We’re watching Ferver the postmodernist, the comic playwright, the social critic and provocateur. He consistently engages with ideas of selling the show and himself (he chose the title because it’s “fancy-sounding”), and in this we see the fury at the heart of his humor.
— - Helen Shaw, TimeOut.
 

Photograph: Julieta Cervantes

 
Mr. Ferver elucidates issues of class disparity and the cyclical nature of exploitation. And he doesn’t shield himself from his own critiques.
— - Shiobhan Burke on Chambre, The New York Times
 
Between classical tragedy and cartoon, this uncomfortable version of Genet’s The Maids hits the mark. Jack Ferver, who wants to be ‘a mirror of society,’ has dreamed of adapting this work since he was eighteen. It is done, and it is done well.
— - Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde.
 
 
 

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

2016  The Watermill Center. Water Mill, New York.

2015 **New Museum. New York, New York.

2015   American Dance Institute. Rockville, Maryland.

2014   *The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. The House is Open. Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

 

*Premiere

** New York Premiere

 
Chambre was commissioned by and developed in residence at Live Arts Bard, the commissioning and residency program of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. Jack Ferver received a 2013–14 Live Arts Bard Choreographic Fellowship, generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Chambre also received research and residency support from Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Watermill Center, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art.