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All audiences, starting from age 11

Taking on Huysmans’ novel, À Rebours, Violaine Fimbel summons magic, puppetry and special effects to immerse the audience in a highly cinematic and multisensory mood. A visual, olfactory, aural and thermal experience that draws us into a vertiginous vortex.


In 1884, writer Joris-Karl Huysmans published À Rebours (Against Nature), a fascinating work considered as the bible of the decadent age. The hero, Des Esseintes, feels nothing but disdain for society and its materialism. He has secluded himself in a house around Paris with a few carefully chosen works and tries to live as an elitist hermit, “against the grain”. But his new world falls out of his control eventually. Violaine Fimbel takes inspiration from the novel to unleash the full fantastical potential of the work and assemble a hallucinatory theater piece where acting, puppetry and special effects intersect. Much like in a cabinet of curiosities, Des Esseintes is here surrounded with strange animals, eerie plants, a mouth organ, and paintings that change imperceptibly as the show goes on. Engulfed in smoke, the stage is the scene of blistering appearances and disappearances where creatures come to life autonomously. Caught up in all these sensory disruptions, we rub our eyes and wonder if we are being sucked into Des Esseintes’ madness. Nature Morte-Still Life combines real and virtual elements to create a phantasmagoria in which questions about our dislocated world and our ability or inability to adjust to a new environment emerge.

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