June 15-18 2016
“There is a poetry of the exiled that I want to share.” Emmanuelle Delpech
1.a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.
Performer and immigrant Emmanuelle Delpech brings audiences into the lives of immigrants in Philadelphia. Through audio interviews, she reveals the secrets, regrets, and joys of those who are from somewhere else. Set up as DJ Babtoue, Delpech mixes her own views as an outsider with their stories: all have come to Philadelphia, but for different reasons. All navigate new waters, grow new roots, find new values and a new home, and spin about endless dilemmas in a search of belonging.
Exuberant, funny, a master yarn- and deejay-spinner, Delpech invites you to be a witness to intimate encounters between foreigners. Here, voices that are never heard are given the stage. And as some migrations are borne of dreams, Delpech also appears as her childhood hero, Wonder Woman.
Created by performer Emmanuelle Delpech and director Guillaume Servely with sound design by Jorge Cousineau.
Photos: Peggy Baud Woosley.
$20 general / $14 member (Join today!)
$15 student + 25-and-under
About Emmanuelle Delpech
Emmanuelle Delpech is an actor, teacher and director. As an actor she was classically trained at the Ecole Superieur d’Art Dramatique de la ville de Paris, and then studied physical theatre at l’Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq. She recently graduated from Temple University and earned an MFA in Directing. A former member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, she has been a performer/co-creator of such productions as Gentlemen Volunteers, Flop!, Hell Meets Henry Halfway (Barrymore nomination for best supporting actress) and James Joyce is Dead and So Is Paris (Barrymore Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical). She received a Best of Philly 2011 by the Philadelphia Magazine as Best Theater Artist. She has taught at University of the Arts, Swarthmore College, and Temple University, as well as Clown workshops for the Volcano Institute in Toronto. She is a faculty member of the Headlong Performance Institute and of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Training
Interview with Emmanuelle Delpech
FringeArts: Why is the title Spinning Immigrant?
Emmanuelle Delpech: Well, I am an immigrant and when I thought about the show I was just starting to get interested in deejaying, aka spinning. Also spinning is a sensation, like my head is spinning and I definitely have felt like a spinning immigrant in many situations. And I know others have too. So it’s a play on words. It’s kind of the essence of the show. I think as immigrants we always navigate different waters, worlds and it’s complicated. It’s like nausea, you might not actually throw up so you will never get the relief. You just don’t feel good. You’re spinning on an endless dilemma.
FringeArts: Can you tell us about some of the steps from initial inspiration to production?
Emmanuelle Delpech: I have always been an immigrant and my identity is rooted in the fact that I am French, but more specifically that I am a French woman in the United States and in Philadelphia. I meet easily with other immigrants and I get along with them often quite quickly. We share an instant intimacy, even if we’ve just met. That’s rarer with Americans. Somehow we immigrants are united by the fact that we are foreign and we therefore feel similar things and have a similar eye on American society. We observe people and their habits. We notice differences because we are different. While I am interesting to Americans—I am French, an actor—other immigrants are invisible. They are unknown, and sometimes people don’t even know where one’s country is on the map. I am tired of that. I want people to have a voice, to be seen and to be understood. There is a poetry of the exiled that I want to share with the American audience. It might tap into their own feelings of exile.
Deejaying is a thing I went to because I am an immigrant. I don’t think I would have gone there if I were in France. I am not sure why, but being here gives me the audacity to try new things and deejaying is one of these things. It’s also okay for a woman who is forty-two to do that, nobody questions me, nobody is judging me, people are rather seduced and encouraging, which isn’t always the case in France.
I want to take a trip into people’s hearts and minds and joys and questions. I want to share that with the audience so they might become visible. I am a body for these voices. I want to be more and more intimate with my own struggle and by interviewing people and spending time with their story, I might understand mine better. I also want to make visible intimacy and how that is actually what matters. And when you are not “home,” it is quite hard to find. You seek it, you look for the familiar, the known. I have been here for a long time but it took me very very long to feel safe and at ease. To feel at home again.
FringeArts: Who are you on stage?
Emmanuelle Delpech: I am myself. And Wonder Woman!!! Well, as myself. I will also be a support for the recorded voices of other immigrants. I am not really doing characters, but rather what I call shadow of characters. I am a body that allows the audience to hear and see, but mostly to imagine, feel, and enter a different world, an intimate confession from someone they don’t know. I become them, but subtly. I am not acting, I am transformed by the voice, I am at the service of the voice.
FringeArts: What will the stage be like?
Emmanuelle Delpech: I will be deejaying and doing my own sound. There is a lot of audio in the show and a bare stage. There are a few elements to create new spaces but mostly the audience is asked to listen and imagine. To follow the words, to get familiar with the person, and then I enter as a body, a support for it. I will also be deejaying songs from their collection and mine.
FringeArts: Why tell these stories in this way?
Emmanuelle Delpech: I cannot do a show with ten people who are from different places! So I chose to record them and to tell my own story as well. I also really like the intimacy of an audio interview. Mixing is what an immigrant does in a way. We have to be in the groove, to start on the same beat, to layer in and out to find wholeness and create our new music.
In a way, the big question of the show is, how different are we as immigrants? We all come from different places and backgrounds and social ranks etc. We all came for different reasons, but are there sensations that unite us? Who feels the same way in the States though they are Americans (not from a first generation immigrant’s family)?
I also love music, I started to listen to French hip hop a lot because I was here; I missed my words, my people, my problems. Music is identity. Music is comfort. “Music is the weapon” of survival. Music brings us home. And home sweet home is not just a saying. It’s a fact.