Dark Circus

Created and performed by Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet
Based on an original story by Pef

Artistic collaborator: Frédéric Maurin

“Come for the show, stay for the woe“ is the motto of the morbid circus at the centre of STEREOPTIK’S latest piece. Dark Circus is the result of a collaboration between Pef, author and illustrator of « The Prince of Motordu » and numerous other children’s books, and Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet of STEREOPTIK. A chance meeting 9 years ago blossomed into a friendship, and from this friendship grew the desire to create something together.

Dark Circus represents two firsts for STEREOPTIK. It is the first time the company will work from a script, and the first time words will be spoken on stage—a down-at-the-heels rocker of an emcee has the honour

In this sad circus the catastrophes pile up, one number after another. The trapezist crashes to the ground, the animal trainer is devoured by his lion, the human cannonball never returns from outer space. Luckily there’s a clumsy juggler to breathe a little colour into the proceedings.


If the circus is dark, the tone is light. Music and images accompany the action and the story is laced with poetic moments and a healthy dose of irony: “Come for the show, stay for the woe.”

The ink drawings that provide the backdrop for Dark Circus, thick and black, resemble photographs in their use of light and contrast. The various techniques used onstage create images of extraordinary beauty and inventiveness. Here, the visual magic of the theatre meets the childlike wonder of the circus. Before our eyes, an urban landscape of buildings and streets transforms into a crowd-filled tent. Lit from above, a drum set becomes a runway to the stars, the neck of a guitar morphs into a stern animal trainer. A few flicks of an eraser and a wild horse is liberated from the ring, spreading poetry in his wake.

MaĂŻa Bouteillet - translation Hillary Keegin

Technical informations

Premiere Festival d’Avignon 2015
Suitable for all ages, from 8+

Length : 55 minutes (no interval)

The venue must be completely dark

Minimun size of the stage W 8 m x D 6 m.
4 people on tour

Production : STEREOPTIK

Coproduction : L’Hectare scĂšne conven­tionnĂ©e de VendĂŽme, ThĂ©Ăątre Jean Arp scĂšne conventionnĂ©e de Clamart, ThĂ©Ăątre Le Passage scĂšne conventionnĂ©e de Fé­camp, ThĂ©Ăątre Epidaure/Bouloire-Cie Jamais 203.

Support from : ThĂ©Ăątre de l’Agora scĂšne nationale d’Evry et de l’Essonne, L’Echalier/Saint-Agil, ThĂ©Ăątre Paris Villette, MJC Mont-Mes­ly Madeleine RebĂ©rioux/CrĂ©teil.

Dark Circus acknowledges financial support from the MinistĂšre de la Culture et de la Communication/ DRAC Centre-Val de Loire and RĂ©gion Centre-Val de Loire.