Pâquerette – cult performance or mere anecdote ?

When the audience gets in the bare bright-lit rehearsal room at Le Merlan, a very legit performance venue in Marseille, Cecilia Bengolea (Argentina) et François Chaignaud (France) are sitting on the floor, leaning on one hand towards one another, wrapped in gold-thread tunics. They whisper in each other’s ears, wink at friends in the audience, casual and relaxed. And then, almost imperceptibly, the performance commences, with little movements and twitches – until their faces alternate between expression of deep pleasure and pain, complete with convulsions, tears, blank eyes and moans. If one managed to get to the performance without having heard about it on the radio, then one might have wondered what all these mimics were about. However my feeling is that, like me, most people knew… that they were in the process of introducing a long buttplug in their anus. What an introduction.

Their contorsions having evolved into some sort of clumsy contact-dance, they shed their tunics, exposing the shiny object protruding out of their bottom. Hum hum, as the French would have it.

Then what ? More improvised dancing, and high jumps and balance numbers, while trying to keep the buttplugs in place, until they get rid of them and start a dance that looks more like wrestling, except they keep grabbing at each other by hooking their fingers in each other’s ass. The whole thing with no music, light, or any other stage effect whatsoever. And then the end.

Even though my intellect wanted me to dismiss the event as brave, but anectodal, the performance stayed with me for many days afterwards, and I found myself wanting to know more about the performers and what would come out of their association next. For them, no doubt the buzz is on. Their run at Le Merlan sold out, and the press was all over them.

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