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Pulling Focus: Stéphanie Jasmine & “Terrasse”

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Stéphanie Jasmin sits down to discuss her creative process in designing set and video projections for Terrasse, opening May 15th at La Colline in Paris. The play by Laurent Gaudé explores themes of survival and trauma in the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

All of Jasmin’s projection footage is shot in Paris, where she takes to the streets donning film cameras, seeking inspiration.

For Jasmin, the challenge of Terrasse lies in conveying the emotional depth of the text without resorting to flashy special effects. Given the sensitive subject matter, she opts for a minimalistic set, featuring a black stage with four large moveable floor panels which rise and sink, reminiscent of tectonic plates, creating an atmosphere of instability and introspection. Jasmin meticulously balances the minimalistic set design with video projections, aiming to capture the intimate nature of the text without overwhelming the emotional weight of the survivors’ stories.

The video projection serves as a parallel film, capturing everyday details in Paris that complement the onstage drama. Jasmin emphasized her preference for filming reality, presenting a raw and genuine perspective that aligns with the poetic yet concrete nature of the play’s subject matter.

Her creative process involves exploring her surroundings with a keen eye as a means of  finding the right visual language. Filming details, such as chairs or subway tunnels, becomes an empirical yet essential aspect of her work. The projection design remains in flux allowing for evolution during rehearsals where she adjusts with the performers, ensuring the coherence and emotional resonance of the piece.

Stephanie Jasmin’s approach to video projections for Terrasse combines a minimalistic yet evocative set with emotionally resonant visuals, showcasing her commitment to authenticity and a nuanced emotional understanding of the play’s themes. Her integration of video as a living, evolving element enhances the theatrical experience, adding layers of emotion and depth to the narrative.

Terrasse opens May 15th at Theatre National La Colline and runs until June 9th.

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