A live trio of French musicians intertwine playful modern compositions and the fantasy of the legendary filmmaker Georges Méliès, father of cinema and the inventor of special effects. French composer Jean-François Alcoléa and his fellow musicians use sound and image to create a universe as inventive as the filmmaker’s creations were this August to add to a richly diverse Fringe programme. Jean-François spoke with The Fountain about the show and their plans post-Fringe.

TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?

Presenting your own show every day for a month, at the same time, sharing your daily routine with your team, meeting the public and professionals is a rare and very rewarding experience. It is a unique artistic, human and social performance! I love being in such excitement. These are very special moments during which I feel a little like in a bubble, with the sole objective of meeting our show with the audience. I also like to be among all the other artists where real encounters are born. And coming to present our show at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh is all the more exciting because it is the world’s largest and most renowned live performance event, located in a beautiful city. The Fringe is also an opportunity to meet the people of Edinburgh. And I am very excited about this new meeting between the people of Edinburgh and Right in the Eye. We’ve been talking about it and working on it for months, now I can’t wait to be there! 

TF: Right in the Eye certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise? 

Right in the Eye can intrigue at first sight by the originality of its orchestration. However, very quickly we feel the spectators embarked by the show and the magic operated by the true symbiosis between music and images. After 450 performances in France, in Romania, in the USA, in Canada, in Morocco, in Belgium and in Luxembourg, I can really see the surprise of the audience, children and adults alike, at the end of the show. A surprise that leaves room for joy. And I am always very happy to see the audience with a smile after the performance. Intriguing, yes, but joyful ! Just like Méliès’ genius and creativity ! From the moment the show was written, I set out to give a real identity to each film, initially through music and sounds, then integrating them into a scenic design. Right in the Eye is a real show that takes place on stage and on screen ! 

TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie? 

In creating Right in the Eye, I wanted to go back to the origins of images and cinema. Thinking also of the young audiences, I found it interesting that they see these first films, while 3D is in our homes. There is such inventiveness and creativity in Méliès’ films that they seemed to me, paradoxically, very modern. The idea was also to associate these cinematographic gems with music from today, to create a show like Méliès’ universes and my owns: current, poetic and playful ! I believe that this show is the crystallization of many influences that animate me. There is no influence as such, but music that give life to universes. So there are moments of pop, jazz, rock, classical, sound effects, that form a whole with the image. 

TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh? 

As we have seen when presenting it in many countries, our show is universal, there is no language barrier. It is for all, for beginners and a knowledgeable audience alike, but also for all ages. We hope by coming to the Edinburgh Fringe festival for the first time, to meet the British audience, festival-goers, but also professionals from the United Kingdom, with a view to considering future tours. We presented Right in the Eye several times at the Avignon Off Festival, in France. I have the impression that it is a festival that works in much the same way as the Fringe. I hope that we will have the chance to be able to meet our audience, as was the case in Avignon, but also the professionals of the performing arts. Since this is the first time I’m presenting a show at the Fringe Festival, I prefer not to get involved in advising other artists, I could be talking a lot of nonsense!

TF: And what are your future plans beyond Right in the Eye

Beyond the Fringe, Right in the Eye is continuing its formidable journey with some very beautiful dates in France but also a two-months tour in 2020 in the USA and in Canada. I also work on other creations, which I call In Situ Creations . These are shows with monumental projections, mapping, which are linked to a place, a theme, a monument, more for events. We have several In Situ Creations planned in France. I have also created an artistic proposal around literature and music, Les Inattendues, it is a multicast installation, in the heart of which the audience is immersed. Several new components will be created next year, with todays’ authors. I will also work on the creation of a new Live Movie-Concert that will be released in 2020… for now it’s simmering !

You can see Right in the Eye at The French Institute from 2nd – 25th August (Not 5th or 15th) at 13:30 and 20:00. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com