From a novel by Dennis Cooper
Created and directed by Gisèle Vienne
Dramaturgy : Dennis Cooper
Lights by Patrick Riou
Music : Corrupted
Stylisme : Stephen O’Malley
Scenography : Jean-Luc Verna et Gisèle Vienne
Puppets : Jean-Luc Verna, Gisèle Vienne, Dorothéa Vienne Pollak, the the help of Vidya Gastladon and Jonathan Capdevielle

With the technical team of the Quartz – Scène nationale de Brest:
Technical direction : Nicolas Minssen
Stage manager : Christophe Le Bris
Performed by and created in collaboration with: Jonathan Capdevielle

Photo © Gisele Vienne

“Jerk” is an imaginary reconstruction – strange, poetic, funny and somber – of the crimes perpetrated by American serial killer Dean Corll who, with the help of teenagers David Brooks and Wayne Henley, killed more than twenty boys in the state of Texas during the mid-70s.
This show sees David Brooks serving his life sentence. In prison, he learns the art of puppets, which somehow enables him to face up to his responsibility as partner in the crimes. He has written a show that reconstructs the murders committed by Dean Corll, using puppets for all the roles. He performs his show in prison for a class of psychology students from a local university.

Due to the violence and humor of the text, there is an underlying fierceness to the performance. The glove puppet theater is in fact the traditional form used to enact violent illicit subjects. And “Jerk” unabashedly mingles sexuality and violence in the vein of gore aesthetics, thus harking back to the glove puppet repertory.

The text has been staged as a solo for puppeteer, who uses glove puppets and also acts the role of con artist.
The story, however realist it may be, seems to border on unrealism. The play’s apparent realism stems from its linear narration, as well as from its basic true story and from the trickster-puppeteer’s total identification with the fictive character of David Brooks.

“Jerk” merges three plays that were produced in collaboration with the American writer Dennis Cooper: “I Apologize” (2004), “Une belle enfant blonde” (2005) and “Kindertotenlieder” (2007). In these three plays, the links between fantasy and reality are being constantly probed, thereby altering our perception of reality. The more realist “Jerk” puts forth a consistent linear narrative, generating the credibility that undeniably stems from this form. And it is this undeniability that is reexamined by way of our different formal experiences.

Associate producer: DACM
With the collaboration of the Quartz - Scène nationale de Brest

Coproduction : Le Quartz - Scène nationale de Brest, Centre Chorégraphique National de Franche-Comté à Belfort dans le cadre de l’accueil-studio
The company DACM is supported by the Drac Rhône-Alpes / Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Région Rhône-Alpes, Conseil général de l’Isère, Ville de Grenoble, DICREAM / Ministère de la culture et de la communication
Gisèle Vienne is associate artist at Le Quartz - Scène nationale de Brest

Premiere : March 5, 6, 7, 8, 2008, Festival Les Antipodes / Le Quartz - Brest

Also from this text :

Jerk – radio play
in the framework of the Atelier de Création radiophonique / FRANCE CULTURE
Premiere: 17 June 2007

The radio play “Jerk” was commissioned by Frank Smith for France Culture and the Atelier de Création Radiophonique. It focuses on the deeply schizophrenic nature of the puppeteer’s art by conveying the puppeteer’s mindset and viewpoint. The radio form enables this experience to be intimately shared.

For more information, visit Gisele Vienne's website at: www.g-v.fr