A series to introduce those who work on PPS Danse productions.
Pierre-Paul Savoie, designer and choreographer for Le Trésor
Your place of birth?
How do you work?
My way of working is simple. I start my process by researching a specific theme. For Le Trésor, I listened to compilations of Quebec children’s songs and a selection of a few on which the first paintings, a first structure for the show, were based. I then move from conceptual research to studio research.
Had you had the idea for the show Le Trésor in mind for a long time?
For Le Trésor, I wanted to work on the theme of imagination, I wanted to work with a puppet, which finally became a cat. I have the ability to work on several productions simultaneously. For example, a production in progress doesn’t prevent me from developing the conception of another creative project at the same time. I can move from one universe to another, from young people to the general public. That was the case with Le Trésor, since at the same time the conception of the show Attractions, co-produced with Sacré Tympan, was taking place.
How would you describe your creative process for a new show?
The process begins with a reflection on the artistic mediums I want to bring together. In the case of Le Trésor, it was dance, song, puppetry, shadows and illustration. Then comes the angle to privilege, in this case, the inexhaustible imagination of children. Then comes the moment of rehearsals: the presence, physicality and involvement of the dancers are put to good use for each of the tableaux that take shape. A constant flow of back and forth between them and me sets in. At one point, playwright Lise Vaillancourt enters the process, questioning the meaning of the work and commenting on our choices. When several of the paintings are created in a first version, I invite the rehearsal, scenography and lighting collaborators to join in the process and feed their vision into the work in progress. I love teamwork where everyone can express themselves freely. It is my responsibility to make decisions when necessary. The work in residence, in the room, is essential to achieve an integration of the art forms present and a successful work. After the first performance, the work conitnues to be refined throughout its life.
How do you choose your collaborators?
As I am interested in growing artistically, meeting with collaborators is essential to meet this goal. I choose them for the quality of their previous work, their open-mindedness and their ability to work as a team. Through a stimulating dialogue, I give them the freedom to express their vision and thus contribute to forging a common vision where each individual finds his or her place, his or her account. I often enjoy working with the same designers since, over time, the common vision moves to new stages of collaboration.
Do you make several scenarios before fixing your ideas?
Yes, I make several scenarios before arriving at a version that leads us to the creation of the work with which we meet the public. Afterwards, hindsight provides answers to questions that had remained unanswered and require clarification. This sometimes involves changes in the order of the paintings, cuts, the deepening of an idea or intentions. All this has implications for the rhythm of the show and also for the work of the collaborators and performers. In reality, my ideas are rarely fixed. During the entire life of a work, including remakes, I move forward in a constant flow towards the light.
Do you believe that creative residencies are an indispensable ingredient in the process of creating a show?
Residencies are important in the process leading up to the creation of a work. They offer the opportunity to have an appropriate space to see the work appear, an overview and a step back. They are important to intensify the creative stages and allow for the inclusion of collaborators (set designer, lighting designer, sound designer, costume designer). They remain very relevant also after the premiere of the work when adjustments are necessary.