ETANT DONNÉS strive to point
out a place. A sacred place.
This place is a name.
No word speaks the name.
AlI mouths are opened to the name.
AlI ways lead to the name and no way reaches the name.
The place of the name is there and here.
We are outside the skin of the name.
We can see the name only through its skin.
lts skin is our skin.
The name of the skin is inside.
Name and skin.
to be and to give.
is a duet by Eric and Marc Hurtado created in Grenoble in 1980. From
this French town, it rapidly became international, especially in Europe.
Born in 1959 and 1962 respectively, in Rabat, Morocco, the two brothers
have chosen both orality and writing, with a clear, semantic word, yet
without the burden of grammar.
Through them, it is the volume of each word that becomes an object-sculpture,
together with the power of their bodies expressing their voices.
Each event is the scream - indeed even the glissando -
of the strength of the word that sometimes abruptly becomes a rock,
a solid surface, not in the least fluvial, as is the
narrative of a tale, novel or poetic epic.
With both of them, no more trace of ancient prosodies,
no more trace the incomprehensible Sainte-Beuve who could claim: "I
have to collect a volume of prose".
The word, the voice, the volume take shape with each other, unveiling
a theatre that theatre usually ignores, which has given it such things
as a Samuel Beckett's Fin de Partie.
Moreover listening to Aurore, our two actors' CD, undoubtedly
owing to the influence of the Mediterranean cradle, single umbilical
cord of two great religions, the influence of both Latin and Arab worlds
- Gaelic short and long sounds can sometimes be perceived - since their
dictions are such a synthesis of several origins.
Nothing is left here of the schools of a Charles Dullin, so dear to
the Comédie Française. On the contrary, ETANT DONNÉS is a corporal and semantic circus, yet without
With their oral and combinative strengths, Eric and
Marc give us the action of theatre, from which dictions
and descriptive declamations disappear. I could write to them in early
December 1994: "[...] in the power of voices and semantics,
as well as in the severe body/mind combination, inseparable from each
other, I find in Aurore a song of the bodies, indispensable to any sound
In addition to their violences, their sensuous delicacies often in these
word cutouts, their nakedness and lights -indeed even made up - come
accounts of naked men who need neither conventional costumes nor the
devices of traditional stages any more.
What I felt on listening to Aurore was confirmed by
Patrick Bossati in May 1992, in this excerpt:
"Be it poetry, cinema, sound, stage, everything the two of them
do is done with a kind of rage that leaves you stunned. Their sound,
for example, extensive, grave and apocalyptic, mixed from amplified
natural elements, make those who listen dumbfounded. Their art is staggering
in every respect, in the 16th century sense of the French word 'sidérant',
when it meant: 'influenced by the stars'. Their music is a radioscopy
of the chaos of the universe and of matter."
This duet, I insist, took form in 1980. It is part
of the ineluctable (re)birth of oralities - exorcists - both re-discovered
and discovered in the electronic worlds. Together with the passion of
travels, where Etant Donnés is "staggering
in every respect".
Any true sound poetry is shattering, the really oral one is there in
space, with the plus of the media machines, of the voices that slip
through them, overwhelming them with the splendour of the bodies.