"L’Étang" (The Pond) by Gisèle Vienne (France)

  • Oct 13 - 14, 2023
  • PS21 Open-Air Pavilion Theater

    2980 New York 66
    Chatham, New York 12037
Ticket Price $10.00-$35.00 Buy Tickets

An adaptation of a short work by Swiss writer Robert Walser, L'Étang throws light upon the intricate workings of a filial love story, where the ten roles are played by two actresses—Adèle Haenel and Julie Shanahan. 

Known for tackling taboo issues in her work, director Gisèle Vienne has created a sensorial and emotional rollercoaster that examines the conventions of the family and blurs the boundaries between interiority and exteriority.


“a transfixing performance . . . my mind was as stimulated as it’s been in months.” Laura Cappelle, The New York Times



An adaptation of a short play by Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878-1956), about a child who pretends to drown in order to test his mother's love, Gisèle Vienne's work casts the ten roles of Walser's original work between two virtuosic actors: Adele Haenel and Julie Shanahan. The work utilizes contrasts of story and movement, an unsettling soundscape, and the incredible gifts of the two actors to create multiple levels of perception of reality and temporality, interiority and exteriority, and magnify the family trauma central to Walser's original piece. Delayed by COVID, L'Étang premiered in Lausanne in May 2021, and has since played to sold-out audiences and rave reviews throughout Europe. 


About the Artists

Gisèle Vienne is a Franco-Austrian artist, choreographer, and director. She studied puppeteering at École supérieure nationale des arts de la marionnette in Charleville-Mézières. Her work is regularly performed in Europe, Asia, and America (Crowd at BAM last October), she has exhibited her photographs in art museums around the world, and has published two books: Jerk / Through Their Tears, in collaboration with Dennis Cooper, Peter Rehberg, and Jonathan Capdevielle (2011), and 40 Portraits 2003-2008, in collaboration with Dennis Cooper and Pierre Dourthe (2012). 


Adèle Haenel rose to early prominence in French film. She has won the César Award twice, in 2014 for her supporting role in Suzanne, and in 2015 for best actress in Love at First Fight. In 2022, she announced that she was stepping away from film acting to focus on theater work. In 2019 she began working with Gisèle Vienne on this production of L'Étang. She is a prominent face of the #MeToo movement in France. 


A native of Australia, Julie Shanahan graduated from Adelaide’s Centre for Performing Arts in 1981. She joined Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1988 and continues to dance in the company and serve as a rehearsal director. She also works as a restager of the Tanztheater repertoire for the Pina Bausch Foundation and recently restaged The Rite of Spring with dancers from across Africa, a collaboration between the Foundation and the École des Sables in Senegal.


Based on Der Teich (The Pond)  by Robert Walser
Design, staging, stage design and work, Gisèle Vienne
Performed by, Adèle Haenel and Julie Shanahan
Lights, Yves Godin
Sound design, Adrien Michel
Musical director, Stephen F. O'Malley
Original music, Stephen F. O'Malley & François J. Bonnet

Produced by Companie DACM-Gisèle Vienne
Co-produced by Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers – CDN; National Theater of Brittany (Rennes); Link, Strasbourg Theater – European Stage; Holland Festival (Amsterdam); Transfabrik Fund – Franco-German fund for performing arts; André Malraux Cultural Center (Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy); Geneva Comedy; La Filature, National Stage (Mulhouse); Le Manège, national stage – Reims; MC2: Grenoble – House of Culture; Ruhrtriennale – Festival der Künste (Bochum); TANDEM National scene (Douai-Arras); Kaserne Basel; International Summer Festival Kampnagel (Hamburg); Garonne Theater – European Scene (Toulouse); CCN2 – National Choreographic Center of Grenoble; BIT Theatergarasjen (Bergen); Black Box teater (Oslo); Autumn Festival in Paris. With support from CND Center national de la danse (Pantin); La Colline – national theater (Paris), Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne


The performances of L’étang by Gisèle Vienne are part of Albertine Dance Season and received support from Villa Albertine.


Date & Time

Oct 13 - 14, 2023

Venue Details

PS21 Open-Air Pavilion Theater

2980 New York 66
Chatham, New York 12037 PS21 Open-Air Pavilion Theater
PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century

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Established in Chatham, NY in 2006, PS21 supports innovative performing artists and creators and introduces their work to a broader audience, while also providing the surrounding region with opportunities for arts engagement regardless of economic status, cultural background, and age.


Five acres of PS21's 100+ acres are developed; the rest are meadows and woodlands. Situated near the theater are the Dance Barn, a rehearsal and performance venue, and two artists’ residences accommodating sixteen individuals. The PS21 property is also host to the Chatham Farm Animal Rescue. PS21's new theater and rural campus are important resources for both visiting artists and the community, optimized for the public's enjoyment and to encourage citizen expression and participation. 


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