Janitor of Lunacy: a Filibuster
The filibuster is a tactic for a member of the opposition party to block passage of a law in the United States Senate. By speaking until the end of a day’s voting session, a Senator thus forces the vote’s delay, essentially “talking a bill to death.” When delivering a filibuster, US senators must speak constantly. They may not leave to go to the bathroom. They may support themselves on a table or lectern with their hands, but not with their elbows. They are allowed to drink water and milk, and may only eat hard candies from a bowl on the desk of the senior senator from Pennsylvania. Many senators undergo physical training and wear sneakers and diapers in concession to the demands of this choreographic restraint, written into US-American legislative process.
I am writing and performing a filibuster. For this performance, I will submit myself to the same physical, verbal, and dietetic constraints as a senator giving a filibuster; I will speak continuously, standing, wearing a diaper (under my trousers). The text that I deliver will be a combination of written and improvised material. It will last for eight hours in its fullest version, the length that the library of the United States Senate requires for a speech on the Senate floor to be documented as a filibuster. As a durational performance, the vulnerability of my organism, its fatigue and its rushes of adrenaline, will be part of the score. While it is suggested that audience members come for the beginning, they are entitled to come and go as they please throughout the performance.
The filibuster that I deliver will treat a multiplicity of ways that politics interacts with the body. Any given body likely finds itself at the crosswinds of many biopolitical currents crafted by nation-states, corporate entities, and religious and ethical philosophies. These vectors influence our behaviours and desires, manipulating the body itself in order to discipline, exploit, or distract. In Janitor of Lunacy: a Filibuster, I speak from the my own point of view as one of these bodies. Contrary to a senator filibustering one law in particular, I speak to the network of oppositions and alliances that constitutes how one defines and positions oneself in this complex terrain of agencies. The audience, who does this same work when reading the news, going to the doctor, or breaking the law, may see themselves mirrored.
Concept, Text and Performance Bryan Campbell
Outside Eye (for the French version) Loup
Outside Eye (for the English version) Jacob Peter Kovner
Technical Direction Géraldine Michel
Musical Arrangements Jo Seilman
Executive production Météores
Administration, production Charlotte Giteau
Production, touring Sandrine Barrasso
Les Bazis (09) ; Le Pacifique CDCN Grenoble Auvergne Rhône Alpes ; CN D Centre national de la danse (Pantin)
With the support of
Espace Pasolini Valenciennes ; Antre Peaux (Bourges) ; Montévidéo, Créations Contemporaines - Atelier de Fabrique Artistique ; La Métive, lieu inter-national de résidence de création artistique ; Théâtre Le Vent des Signes with the support of la Ville de Toulouse ; Théâtre Garonne ; workspacebrussels ; Centre national de danse contemporaine Angers ; La Tierce in the frame of Praxis # 8 ; La Manufacture Atlantique in the frame of Déprogrammation ; La Zouze ; Pact Zollverein ; Honolulu-Nantes
This project benefited from the writing aid of the association Beaumarchais – SACD.
Showings of the Work in Progress
March 16, 2017 – Praxis #8 / La Tierce – La Manufacture Atlantique – Bordeaux
July 20, 2017 – Lazy Life – Vienna (Austria)
November 18, 2017 – Déprogrammation – La Manufacture Atlantique – Bordeaux
May 30, 2018 – Les Mercredis de Montévidéo – Montévidéo – Marseille
June 8, 2018 – Théâtre du Vent de Signes – Toulouse
October 12, 2019 – Théâtre Garonne – Toulouse
March 14, 2020 – Festival (DÉCA)danse – Théâtre de Vanves – cancelled
November 5, 2020 – Emmetrop – Bourges
June 19, 2021 – Festival Camping – Centre national de la danse – Pantin – premiere
November 20, 2020 – Next Festival – Espace Pasolini – Valenciennes
December 11, 2020 – Le Pacifique CDCN Grenoble-Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Grenoble