Useful Knowledge to Know (2007-2010)

“ To whom does the lamp communicate? The mountain? The fox?”   Walter Benjamin

French performer and lecturer Chloé Déchery gives a series of lectures about stuff you, British and English people, should know.

She has a number of tools to help her get her points across including a chair and a table, 2 flowers and a video projector.

When does a lecture become a performance?

How does a performance turn into a chaotic disaster?

Blurring the lines between lecture and performance, this is a humorous and quirky show that breaks down into a poignant tale of solitude.

The idea of this project is to play around the notions of language – foreign language, non-verbal language, sign language, etc – within an interactive process, in questioning the values of communication and the complex act of imparting information.

The performance takes the shape of a series of micro-lectures where the performer is both supported and undermined by video and multimedia accompaniment. A number of random subjects appear briefly as the topics of these lectures before devolving into random choreography. The tone is both comical and straightforward, in turn moving and cheeky, authentic and playful.

The result is a 50 minutes-long performance; which deals directly with the idea of communication itself; how we present ourselves in a public forum, how we pass on ideas and how we can initiate dialogue with others.

Solo performance devised in collaboration with Chris Eley

Credits
Devised and written by Chloé Déchery and Chris Eley
Performer: Chloé Déchery
Choreographer: Pia Nordin
Lighting design: Martin Langthorne
Mentoring from Rajni Shah and Elyssa Livergant
Running time: 50 minutes
Credits for the French version of the show: Olivier Normand (choreography adviser), Anthony Marlier (lightings), Vashi Ramessur (assistant).
The piece was first shown as a scratch performance at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford, the Cube in Bristol, the Madcap in Milton Keynes, Arnolfini in Bristol and the Camden People’s Theatre (Scene Pool ; Sprint Festival) in London.
Dates & Theatres
The project has received support from the Arts Council of England and has been touring in Autumn 2009 at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford, the Nightingale in Brighton, the CPT in London and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Wales. The show was also recently presented in a French version at Le Colombier, in Bagnolet, France, on the 30rd and 31st of January 2010.

Feedback

« Passionate and thoughtful about Chloé’s work, I was impressed by her performance ‘Useful Knowledge to Know’ at the Camden People’s Theatre. In turn humorous, ironic and poignant, it was created and performed with a decisive wit making innovative and clear comments about the linguistic misunderstandings that can wreak unintentional havoc on people’s lives with a subtle underlying theme of cross channel relationships both personal and political. I thought it was intelligent, witty and also moving. »

Geraldine Pilgrim, corridor performance

« I was impressed by the simplicity, humour and intelligence of the piece, which struck a chord with the audience. »

Matt Ball, director of the Camden People’s Theatre.

« I really enjoyed the show – and more. It made my mind go to all sorts of interesting places. »