In the foreground, two white men in beige suits are stand on a sandy floor, one holding a wooden handled spade that has another spade balanced on the end. There is a large audience watching in the background.

La Baina Trampa Fritz Fallen


Fri 21st Sept 2018 – Sat 22nd Sept 2018, Shaw House, Newbury

A band of white suited performers, led by French surrealists Le G. Bistaki, descended on Shaw House for a postmodern promenade piece straight out of a crazy French dream. At the crossroads of dance, physical theatre, and circus, the piece combined wacky voodoo rituals, surreal video projections, passionate tango, a ton of corn and fiery lights.

101 recruited eight volunteer performers to work alongside L G Bistaki and perform in their show. The audience were led around the grounds of Elizabethan mansion, Shaw House, where surreal tableaus and performances greeted them at several sites.

White suited men and women ran out of the woods and began to perform repetitive tasks, from operating an industrial grain sorter to moving sacks of corn around, forming a backdrop to choreographed sequences by L G Bistaki.

There was virtuous fast circus choreography with shovels thrown and kicked from one performer to another, balanced on end, swung and dodged. There was a poignant tango, and moments of comedy evoking feuds, camaraderie, a gang of workers speeding along on a trolley of sacks.

In a visually stunning sequence, performers with brooms swept elaborate swirling patterns into a square of corn on the ground, to rock n roll music.

A volunteer performer’s perspective:

Volunteer performer Kate Lewis said: “It was overwhelmingly beautiful, such a privilege to be part of it. We felt very adopted by them as part of the company. In the choreographed sequence with shovels we felt quite solid with them. In other parts we stood and formed a wall, a line, and were witnesses to the actions. It had feel of ceremonial ritual. It felt quite pagan, political. Together we’re more than just a bunch of people, there was a sense of community.”

Dancer Debbie Camp talked about being involved just a few days before her retirement:

“I’ve been involved in the Newbury arts scene for twenty years, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It was incredibly surreal. Things you would never imagine would happen. Me and this other guy were in the garden pretending to have a cocktail party, but with our glasses filled with corn and we had a corn fight, threw bits at the audience.

"From a volunteer’s perspective you felt unified with the company at the end because we actually danced with them – we came together as a full company. The audience wouldn’t have known whether we were volunteers or part of the company, were all dressed in white suits.

“They had such amazing personalities and were so welcoming and so out there. There was a language barrier between broken French and broken English but there was a communication in a shared artistic vibe."

Volunteers from all walks of life

"The volunteers were from all walks of life, really eclectic. There was a gent with an office job who didn’t have an artistic background, someone else was a mum of two – it wasn’t your typical group of people. It was great to work with people who were having their first experience performing.

"You didn’t know what Bistaki were going to ask you to do next, whereas with dance it can sometimes follow that routine of, oh yes I recognise this and I know exactly what they want me to do… instead it was, ‘I want you to run up to that sack of corn and tear it and throw it to the ground’. This was physical theatre, something I’ve not experienced before which was brilliant.

"The only big disappointment was that we were only able to do one night due to torrential rain. We all went to the pub instead.“When I moved to Wales a few days later I retired from dance. It was really nice to leave Newbury on this note, as a transition from my past life to my new life.”

Debbie Camp

Le G. Bistaki website