Etant donnés is the sequel to the monologue Elle était et est elle est, même (She Was And She Is, Even), which Jan Fabre wrote in 1975 for his muse, the actress Els Deceukelier, who appears to be a point of reference in the entirety of Jan Fabre's work.
Etant donnés: 1. La chute d’eau, 2. Le gaz d’éclairage is the title of Duchamp’s last work: a peep box with a weathered wooden door in a brick door frame. There are two peepholes in the door, which reveal an installation: a naked woman whose head is invisible, who lies supine on a bed of leaves and branches and holds a gas lamp. There is a waterfall in the background. The strange position of her body means her vagina is immediately noticeable. It is a strange image, which forces the viewer into a voyeuristic role.
In this monologue Fabre chooses to develop a remarkable dialogue between a woman and her vagina. While the woman nurtures illusions of seduction and power her vagina always reminds her of passion and sexual desire. Her vagina defines everything the woman does not say, but which she may possibly think and does not wish to reveal because of her image. A recurrent theme in this performance is ‘wait a minute, wait’.
A key notion in this performance is that of transformation largely because the actress constantly modulates her voice but at the same time she also gradually sheds her skin.
text, direction and scenography Jan Fabre actress Els Deceukelier
light design Jan Fabre, Harry Cole costumes Daphne Kitschen
make up Gerda Van Hoof technical coordination Geert Van der Auwera
music Peaches - Diddle My Skittle, from The Teaches of Peaches / Guns N'Roses - Knockin' on Heaven's Door, from Live Era '87-'93
Etant donnés was created in 2004 by Troubleyn/Jan Fabre (Antwerp, Belgium), in co-production with Centre du Développement Chorégraphique / Midi-Pyrénées (Toulouse, France) and with the support of the Direction Régionale des Affaires culturelles Midi-Pyrénées et la Région Midi-Pyrénées
première 11.02.2004, Théâtre National de Toulouse, Toulouse