Compagnie La Comédie des Ondes tells the story of science in theatre

Paris theater company Waves comedy invites Nobels, the last creation of the troupe and missed the appointment of the forgotten Nobel laureates. A mock ceremony on set rehabilitates twelve female scientists nominated in three categories. Author and actress Anne Rouge In 2011, she founded the company in 2011 with the goal of bringing the history of science, especially the place of women in this field, to a wide audience. Meet the founder.

In recent years, there has been a phenomenon of re-evaluation of the place of women in all fields, but despite this, stereotypes remain significant. Sciences are no exception to this invisibility. For some, this discipline, which is intended for the elite, and for others, a very serious and boring field, has been neglected by young people in recent years. was established in 2011 by Anne Rougescholar by education, Waves comedy is one of the theater companies that puts cultural and scientific mediation at the center of the creative process. Purpose: to explain the history of science, especially the place of women in this sector.

Anne Rouge

We feel a stronger and stronger desire to meet women, but I still have work to do “, he presents with humor Anne Rouge, founder of La Comédie des ondes. From a family of scientists, the author, actress and scholarly mediator followed a clear path from childhood to adolescence, branching out and blossoming into an activity that excited her—theatre. After working for several years in a medical imaging company, the former research engineer decided to continue his studies for the DEA in the dissemination of science and technology at the University of Paris-Sud and ENS de Cachan (2001). Under the direction of Daniel Raichvarg, one of the pioneers of science theater, Anne follows in the footsteps of her research director and follows the same path.

According to the university professor, Science rhymes with rigor, rigor with pedagogy. But with the show? With fun, entertainment, emotion, passion, laughter and tears, pleasure and anxiety? These findings and questions will inspire him to develop his own approach that combines science and drama. First was the creation of the company Wave carriers then in 2005 Waves comedy In 2011, it was dedicated to mediating science through the performing arts for the widest possible audience. With provocation and humor, the company’s first work, Are female geniuses rare?tells the story of three women scientists, starting with Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist known for her work on radium.

“I am interested in our attitude to science and the emotions it creates. »

It’s not so much the popularity that matters Anne Rouge rather than cultural and scientific mediation. ” During my studies at DEA, I became interested in the history of science, science and society issues, especially the role of women in science. Often in the silly, comic, burlesque, even caricature scene, Waves comedy tells the story of science by calling on scientists to place their work in scientific truth and consistency. for Clowns talk through their noses, a detective investigation dealing with olfactory perception, the group met in a research laboratory. “ We had everything at our disposal, we could go and meet the researchers whenever we wanted as the work progressed. We were really in their environment “, he recalls before certainty: ” Reading is important, but I like interacting with people », and there is no better inspiration than the people who do these things and teach their knowledge on a daily basis. “ for Born Light [2015], we met with the scientists and filmed them, certain parts were acted out on stage with expressions and gestures. It’s much more interesting and more alive when you start with real people. »

a light red year was born
Born Light, Comedy of Waves, 2015

The latest creation using the codes of the official ceremony Nobels (2021) is a figure extending the reflection Waves comedy around the place of women in science. based on research by Coraline Loiseau, A science journalist in charge of documentary research, the show looks like a caricature of twelve female Nobel Prize winners from antiquity to the present day. It is divided into three parts: the presentation of the nominees, the speech of the honored guests and, of course, the famous award ceremony. Amidst misfires and comical responses, the mistress of ceremonies, dressed all in black, opens the ball and introduces three categories: “transvestite nobels,” “nobels in shackles” and “stolen nobels.” Accompanied by live music and sound, various tableau creatures then narrate the lives of the candidates. “The goal was to present women through their bodies and gestures. »

Thus, the public is invited with lightness and irony to a missed meeting with Nobel Prize-winning women scientists. Among them is Marthe Gauthier, who died on April 30, 2022. It was only after his death that we talked about him in science, although his discovery of trisomy 21 occurred 50 years ago. He is one of the victims of the so-called “Matilda effect”. The term refers to the repeated and systematic denial, undermining, or minimization of the contribution of female scientists to research, often attributed to male colleagues. He met Jérôme Lejeune, the head of the laboratory, his skills Martha GauthierIt wasn’t enough, leading him to discover trisomy 21. ” She was an outsider and a woman, we didn’t give her a chance. This is similar to the atmosphere in which Rosalind Franklin, the British physicist-chemist who shaped the helical structure of DNA, lived. Both reached the position, but they paid the price of the patriarchal system. ” We put obstacles in their way because they should not succeed. »

The show ends on a high note with the last named, astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell. During his thesis work, the student discovered the first pulsar, an astronomical object that produces a periodic signal from milliseconds to several tens of seconds. Despite the skepticism of his thesis supervisor, Anthony Hewish, he continued with his experiments. Finally, in 1974, he became the director of his thesis, which received the Nobel Prize. He reacted very positively. It was normal for the thesis supervisor, not the student, to receive the award, and he was delighted that, for the first time, the Nobel Prize in Physics honored work in the field of astrophysics. “, the actress teaches us. ” What they say in the play is what they say in life. What punished her was not so much the fact that she won the Nobel Prize, as she later had other awards, but rather her life as a married woman and mother of children. Humble and at the service of her discipline more than her fame, Jocelyn Bell received the 2018 prize in fundamental physics, but she bequeathed the $3 million prize to the Institute of Physics at the University of Oxford. students from underrepresented categories in physics.

Played more than 40 times in a year, Nobels it is also a participatory theater work. ” We have prepared in advance and scheduled times when students can intervene “, he clarifies. Before the show, supervising groups receive a preparation kit to prepare their participation in the performance, volunteers can prepare speeches that they will later sing on stage. “ Hearing students’ thoughts on the topic brings us freshness and innovation every time. We feel that there is an awareness, they are really mobilized. » After the performance Anne Rouge revives the time for public debate on gender equality and sexist stereotypes in career choice.

comedy of noble waves

With scientific theater sauce Comedy waves is proving to be a real gateway to science that will help reduce the disinterest in science among young people, especially girls. Because the latter are only boring and far from serious. Anne Rougée proves it in every new show.

Unfortunately, there are no dates planned in Brittany, but the Nobel Prize ceremony will soon take place at L’Avant Scène de Laval (53) on February 2nd.

Find all Nobels release dates


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