Martin Zimmermann


Physical and visual theatre, deeply marked by a circus background. This is how you classify your practice and work field. In a theatre without words, such as in a world without rules, freedom and chaos are very close, right? Do you find this duality interesting?

Clowns are all about survival. For me we are all clowns. A clown doesn't interpret a character, he is what he is, he is there with all his facets, his fragility, his humour and his abyss. I am interested in the human being and his existence. People often have a wrong idea about the character of a clown. Clowns are incredibly polyvalent, they are actors, dancers, acrobats or musicians in one. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jacques Tati, Grock, Charlie Rivel to name a few. I come from this tradition. I am convinced that those people who can laugh about themselves can get in touch with others much easier. "Don't take yourselves too seriously", I want to tell people. That's why the clown is so important to me. I believe that humor can still save the world. This has nothing to do with party bomb humour.

One, two, three well-known clowns. Clowns are fascinating figures. Clowns clown us. How does this arise in this last work?

I've wanted to be a clown since I was a kid. The character of the clown is very present in all my works. What fascinates me most is our inner life and how we reveal ourselves to each other. I am convinced that we are all crazy deep inside ourselves. Clowns mirror us and point out who we actually are. We need them to make sure we're who we are.

There is a very strong presence of music, but also of instruments in their material relationship with performers’ bodies. How was the process of (re)construction of the piece with the all the elements that compose it?

I was lucky to be able to work with the composer and pianist Colin Vallon for the second time. The working process is connected with many improvisations in the rehearsal room. The idea was that Colin Vallon's composition would be perceived as a concert and as a part of the play at the same time. The music should be independent and not just an accompaniment. Colin's music disturbs, caresses and supports the characters at the same time. The wonderful emotional music has itself become a character as well as a stage set.

Interview conducted by Rita Xavier Monteiro, TMP's press relations (at the time of the interview).
Choreographer, director, set designer and physical actor