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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
May 11, 2016

An Interview with Le Clan Des Songes' Founder Marina Montefusco


Marina Montefusco in RehearsalThe visually stunning and poetic CITÉ brings the paintings of Russian-born New York artist Evsa Model (1900–76) to life for young audiences. While the modern art world might seem a bit inaccessible for little ones, Le Clan des Songes has found a way to stir the imaginations of kids as young as three with captivating visuals and original music inspired by Model's vibrant work.

We wanted to take a second to connect with Le Clan des Songes founder Marina Montefusco over the inspiration behind Cité and the translation of Evsa Model's art into a piece of theater for young audiences. What was her first spark of inspiration for Cité? What, if anything, did she find difficult? What does she love about performing for young audiences? Check out the trailer below, then continue reading for Marina's interview!


What was your initial inspiration behind Cité?  
One day while walking in Paris, I accidentally discovered Evsa Model's painting in the basement of a photo gallery. I observed it for a very long time, intrigued by the mystery it contained and wanting to discover more. I decided to learn more about this forgotten painter!

Why did you think Evsa Model's work might appeal to young audiences?  
Simply, he paints with a child's eyes. He is both poetic and moving at the same time and elicits emotion through colors. And it is very simple for young children to understand his uncluttered style. Because his artwork (and Cité) is visually abstract, it awakens every child's imagination. Often, through their own drawings, they tell us their own story. It is a language they already speak.
 
Projection and Shadow Puppetry from Cité
What were the challenges in adapting visual artwork for the stage? 
There is a movement, a composition, a story in the paintings of Evsa Model. For me it was quite natural to translate it into moving images.

Have you adapted other unusual works for the stage? 
Yes! I have adapted a book, L'Arbre sans Fin by Claude Ponti and the board game Clue into shows as well. 

Why do you create theater for kids as young as three?
Undoubtedly, very young children are my favorite audience. It is easy to connect to them on a perceptive, emotional, and intuitive level. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the name of your company, Le Clan des Songes?  
"Songe" means "waking dream" in French—we are The Clan of Waking Dreams. That's what I wish to offer to the public.
 
 
Be sure to check out CITÉ's Family Activity to re-create the stunning shapes and mesmerizing colors of Evsa Model's artwork as a family. You might have the world's next great painter in your midst!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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