Where are they now #2

Bert and Fred
Artists of the 34th edition of the Festival
Guests of the 37th

Fred always calls Bert.
And Bert always says ok.

Here they are today at Paradis Latin, in the new revue staged and choreographed by Kamel Ouali: l’Oiseau Paradis. On the poster, Iris Mittenaere, lead dancer, ex Miss France and Universe.
'Kamel saw us in our first performance at the Cirque de Demain. He had offered for us to work on a different project, but we weren’t available.
For l’Oiseau Paradis, he contacted us about 6 months ago. But we were working on a project with the Cirque du Soleil. We had to refuse once more!’
But the story has a happy ending…
‘A few days before the 40thedition of the Festival, we learned that the project with the Cirque du Soleil wasn’t happening, so we reached out to Kamel.
That’s how we found ourselves in the foyer of the Cirque Phénix, with Kamel, his assistant and the General Director of Paradis Latin, Harold Israel. It was even Alain Pacherie who introduced us. The meeting went very well, we had good chemistry. They invited us to see the show that was then playing at Paradis.
A few days later, we were definitively hired in the new revue: ‘l’Oiseau Paradis.’

‘Everything went very fast. L’Oiseau Paradis was played for the first time a week after the last performance of the preceding revue. We had never seen so much work get done in just a week! For us, the main objective was to decide where to set all of our accessory suspension points with the technician’…
That’s right… accessories!  Who can forget Fred arriving armed on stage, Bert’s worried expression, his hesitant approach… and his resigned ‘ok’.

‘We come on several times. It’s very good for us, it allows our characters time to get settled. People get used to seeing us and the mood improves notably for it. Kamel chose the whip, hammer, knife, darts and rifle. The space wasn’t high enough for the Washington trapezes, but it didn’t matter for us, since we mostly wanted to accentuate the comical side of our characters. Every night, we debriefed to see whether there was a detail that deserved to be changed, no matter how small. For instance, maybe a little more confetti during the darts? Sometimes we have to adapt to the rhythm of set changes which can happen behind us: in which case we may have to make the whip scene last a little longer’ … Poor Bert!

Once again, Bert and Fred will perform with Roncalli for a month. During their absence, their ‘roles’ are taken up identically, names included : ‘it was the best option for Kamel, because it’s difficult to find artists who are free at that time, ready to make 5 appearances… So we introduced him to some friends of ours, whom we helped transform into Bert and Fred - but just long enough for the show!’

‘We experience exceptional moments doing this job. The travels, of course…
With the artists of Galapiat we left one day at 5am to go fishing for scallops… and our boat was surrounded by dolphins. It was magical. But on stage, our best memory is always… the Festival. It was surreal to be there. By the way, every time we meet up with other circus artists, the conversation always revolves around the Festival: we saw you at the Festival! Or: and you, have you done the Festival?’

Florence Douroux


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