Bubbling with Magic: ‘La Bulle’

Performance of 'La Bulle'. Photo in black and white.
La Bulle.

Feeling curious about seeing a mime roam the ins and outs of a giant translucent bubble? See La Bulle in Kingston this weekend. 

La Bulle is a mime show produced by CORPUS Dance Projects and is being presented at the Kick & Push Festival by the Kingston Theatre Alliance and Le Centre Culturel Frontenac

The show follows a lonely mime, Pierrot (David Danzon / Guy Marsan; the performer at the production I saw was not clarified), as he traverses through various adventures inside a life-size, totally transparent bubble. Beginning in more mundane movement, Pierrot begins the show by drawing on the interior of the bubble. He welcomes an audience and shows off his excellent sketching skills by creating life-size portraits of a few viewers.

Immediately his character is filled with innocence. He takes such a tender approach to interacting with the audience and his smile appears like that of a kid in a candy shop whenever someone approaches the bubble. However, as the show goes on, many different variations of Pierrot are seen. The innocence is stripped after a dip in the ocean and a solo tango. Rather, Pierrot begins to run rampant as an overwrought bride on her wedding day and a Santa that isn’t quite so jolly. 

The show is extremely absurd in its storyline, however there is linearity. Without any speech and an obscurity as to why Pierrot is engaging in these random bits of action, an audience is free to draw their own conclusions. Each bit Pierrot performs is clear-cut and in trying to string them together, I’ve found it quite fun to establish my own interpretation. I will leave that unsaid in an effort to allow future viewers to draw their own conclusions as well. 

Pierrot’s physicalities are phenomenal. Every character he takes on has their own set of mannerisms that differ drastically. It’s a fabulous sight to see him shuffle like a crab on the seafloor and minutes later be springing just as a bobblehead does. His facial expressions match the energy his body brings. Every persona is so well developed that it truly felt like watching multiple performers. 

The bubble, built by J.C. Keller, is the perfect home for the beautiful technical elements involved in the show. Designed by the directors and creators, David Danzon and Carolin Lindner, the lighting and sound are impeccable. Every wash of colour melds into the next and seems to embody the exact emotion a moment holds. The sound, from effects to music, make every action a distinguished one, ultimately curating a magical experience. 

La Bulle’s use of the bubble would feel slightly futile without making exceptional use of its space and ability to transform. Luckily the show knows exactly how to exercise this creation. There is an abundance of audience interaction that makes use of the thin wall between Pierrot and the voluntary performer. The most extraordinary use of the bubble is the life-size snow globe that is created from it. 

Françoise Autran takes full control of the costume design, taking classic mime-wear—black, white, and stripes—and making it malleable to different looks. The costuming maintains the obvious notes of being made for a mime but has a light and airy fabric, giving it a mature look.

La Bulle is, without a doubt, a show to see. It has wonder, excitement, and moments of awe. 

Find more details about ‘La Bulle’, playing at the Kick & Push Festival until tomorrow, August 13th here.

This article was edited on December 1st, 2023 to update formatting.