Forbidden City

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  • Artistic director / Choreographer : Philippe Saint-Paul
  • dancers : Nitipat Ong Polchai, Kris Louis Sanguanpiyapand
  • music : Orange, Arvo Part

“Be realistic, ask for the impossible”

Almost nobody knew his name. Nobody outside his immediate neighborhood heard him speak, and nobody knows what happened to him even one hour after his moment in the light.

But the man who stood before a column of tanks in Tiananmen square on June 5th, 1989 may have impressed the memories of billions worldwide in a simple 2 minutes. And what remains is a symbol, an allegory, a virtual monument to people power in abstraction

As it goes, this symbol regularly reappears, whether it is in Chile in 2011, in Quebec in 2012 or even in HongKong in 2014, negating this simple 20th century truth that the moods of a single individual could destroy the globe in a moment. In fact, the actions of a single unknown soldier can also light up the whole world in an instant. The man with the tank still stands up for the forces of a new republic of the Image.

At the same time, the heroes of this image that transcends time are two: the unknown figure who risked his life by standing in front of the juggernaut and the driver who rose to the moral challenge by refusing to mow down his compatriot.

This performance piece explores the relationship between those two heroes. It describes one day from its beginning at dawn till sunset, and explores the humanity/ disfunction underlying this special forced relationship.