The play presents the story of five sisters, who busy themselves with the problems and pleasures of modern life on a Sunday afternoon. The California sun provokes their reactions, emotions and moods. With Five Sisters, Guy de Cointet explored the affective wellbeing of five women who have changing, restless, encounters in their parental home, discussing issues of wardrobe, suntan, health, exotic holidays, work and painting. Five Sisters is arguably de Cointet’s most resolved and mature play, in which his former attention for objects made a shift towards dance and mime. Within the scope of his oeuvre, the play is a new step and indicates the direction in which he wanted to develop his work at the end of his life.
From the late 1960s until his untimely death in 1983, French-born artist Guy de Cointet was an influential member of the Los Angeles art scene. De Cointet’s performances are surreal sceneries in which ordinary, daily events are linked to specific objects, colours and letters – often in a lucid way. Five Sisters is the last performance that was staged during Guy de Cointet’s lifetime and marks a departure from his earlier work in its attention for light as the main catalyst of emotion. Guy de Cointet collaborated with the sculptor Eric Orr who created the lighting, set design and part of the sound, and with the musician Joseph Hammer. In the new production, the light and sound plan is reconstructed by Elizabeth Orr. The performers are dressed by moniquevanheist.
The restaging of Five Sisters is the result of a research conducted by art historian Marie de Brugerolle, as part of If I Can’t Dance’s programme Performance in Residence. With this programme, If I Can’t Dance aims to research performances as case studies and proposes to connect archival research to practice. The current rendition of the play addresses questions around the idea of ‘making Five Sisters anew’, and departs from earlier restagings of de Cointet’s plays that focused on reconstruction.
Concept play and text: Guy de Cointet
Light and stage design: Eric Orr
Director: Jane Zingale
Dramaturge: Marie de Brugerolle
Performers: Violeta Sanchez, Einat Tuchman, Adva Zakai, Veridiana Zurita (read biographies of the performers here.)
Light & sound: Elizabeth Orr
Curator: Frédérique Bergholtz
Curatorial assistant: Vivian Ziherl
Publication: If I Can’t Dance, design by Will Holder
Language: English spoken
The restaging of Five Sisters is a commission of If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution and is a collaborative initiative of If I Can’t Dance in Amsterdam, STUK Kunstencentrum in Leuven and MUSAC in Leén. The restaging is financially supported by the Estate of Guy de Cointet, Étant Donnés, the Mondriaan Foundation, the Culture Programme of the European Union, and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts. It is co-produced by If I Can’t Dance, Amsterdam; LACMA, Los Angeles; MUSAC, León; MoMA, New York; Reina Sofía, Madrid; and STUK, Leuven. With thanks to Yael Davids, Dora García, Eric Orr Estate, Frascati Theater and SMART Project Space.