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2007 Media Release - Imagine Toi

Issued Monday, 7 May 2007


“With an air of Chaplin … Cottereau plays in turn with the audience and their emotions, giving French mime a hint of poetry and genius.” 20 Minutes

“A finely drawn, modern homage to mime.” Le Figaro

"Tender, poetic and above all, funny.” Le Figaro

Sydney Opera House presents French clown, Julien Cottereau in the Playhouse from 14 August – 1 September.

Last seen in Sydney as Eddy the Clown, star of Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco, Julien Cottereau performs a witty and original solo, Imagine Toi using his extraordinary skills that draw on theatrical traditions all the way back to Chaplin, Keaton, and even commedia del arte.

Cottereau, a modern ‘Harlequin’ is an extraordinary actor, clown and mime and perhaps his most astonishing skill is his ability to create an entire soundscape using his own voice. Cottereau draws the audience into his invented world of play and improvisation – with his mischievous smile and funny hat, he is like a street urchin that has stepped straight out of a cartoon.

Cottereau takes the audience on a whimsical imagined journey populated by wild beasts, irritated dogs, flies, princesses and evil rivals. Through the art of mime, which he masters to perfection and his genius with sound effects, Julien Cottereau ignites the imagination of the audience. He makes objects and people spring out of nothing, creating moment after moment of theatrical magic.

Like a child who does not like to play alone, Cottereau gently coaxes audience members into games displaying wonderful theatrical tomfoolery. Without saying a word and showing disarming tenderness, he manages to play with the audience, laugh about them without ever mocking, and for a few moments reconnect them with their childhood spirit.

In a funny, poetic and engaging performance that is free of agendas, subtexts, politics or messages, Cottereau offers pure entertainment of joyous simplicity.

After training at the renowned Rue Blanche School of Theatre, Cottereau was discovered by Cirque du Soleil while performing on the streets of Paris, and subsequently spent twelve years travelling the globe with the world’s most renowned circus.

In 2004, Cottereau left Cirque du Soleil to undertake a more personal adventure and create this one man show. A brilliant vehicle for his extraordinary skills, Imagine Toi was a great success at the 2006 Avignon Festival and comes to Sydney after a seven month sold out season in Paris.

"Woodring is fantastic… his stuff will outlast all but one in a thousand of his peers… a revelation."Understanding Comics

"Frank is such a strange creation… wordless, timeless, placeless and existing on its own bizarre terms. It offers tableaus of tenderness and bloodshed, cruelty and sacrifice, love and betrayal, terror and bliss… wrapped like candies from another planet."
Francis Ford Coppola

Meet one of the most revolutionary artists to change the face of comic books as we know them. For the first time in Australia the creator of the comic books Frank and Jim, Jim Woodring, will appear in a specially crafted show at The Studio, Sydney Opera House

Featuring select cuts from Visions of Frank a collection of Frank animations by Japan’s most audacious film makers, the show also includes some of Australia’s most unique musicians - Jeff Lang, Michael Lira and Peter Hollow - performing live musical reflections of other Frank comic strips and original paintings by Woodring. An exclusive question and answer session with the artist himself will close the show.

Jim Woodring’s mind re-programming comic work has received critical acclaim across the globe. He has been labelled as the most important cartoonist of our generation and his work has been exhibited across America, Japan and Europe.

Born in Los Angeles in 1952 he tuned his craft in various 'underground' publications before becoming a full-time freelance cartoonist primarily for advertising agencies and public relations companies but also working on whatever projects came his way, such as student films and other collaborative art.

In 1980 he self-published the first issue of his ‘illustrated autojournal’, JIM, containing comics, drawings and stories drawn from his childhood experiences. JIM was subsequently published as a 32-page magazine by Fantagraphics Books at which stage he left animation and embarked on a career as a full-time cartoon artist.

Woodring’s work has been featured in many publications that deal with comics and culture, from the high-brow Kenyon Review and World Art Magazine to Francis Coppola's Zoetrope, as well as the Frank comics.

In 2006 he and guitarist Bill Frisell were awarded a United States Artists Fellowship for their collaborative stage shows. In 2007 a large solo show of work from all phases of his career was the centrepiece of the International Comics Festival in Angouléme, France, and he has been invited to participate in the Toys and Comiix exhibition, due to open in November at the Louvre.



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