A little girl, 6-10 years old, is with her grandfather during a harvest day in Lavaux. They are having a break after a long day of work. On the table, where the family and workers are having a snack, lie objects and things that will come to life before her. During the show, the grandfather will guide her on a journey through the life of the winegrowers. This Fête will put the winegrower/labourer and his achievements at the centre of the story. We therefore leave out the gods and references to pagan traditions, in order to really get into the spirit of this region, the winegrowing tradition, the canton and the art and know-how that the Confrérie protects. Through twenty scenes and as many other moments of transition, we will move through the seasons – not the four traditional seasons, but rather the seasons that govern the life of the vine, which last for weeks and months. The seasons that nature and its changes produce one after the other, bringing to life the calendar of precise actions that winegrower/labourers follow over the course of the year. At harvest time, there are some stages where you must treat the vine with care and skill. There is the moment where you pull out, prune the vine, and all these periods come one after the other following weather changes, whilst hoping that the balance between cold and hot, and rain and sunshine can link together harmoniously. The spectacle doesn’t miss out the scenes which are known and loved by the public, and which form an integral part of the liturgy of the Fête des Vignerons. I’m thinking of the Foire de la Saint-Martin, the weddings, the Hundred Swiss or the Armaillis.
The show begins with the energy of a grape harvest day, with the noise and action taking over the whole arena. We thought of this arena as a gigantic nest in which the audience will be immersed and surrounded by the pictures, choreographies and theatrical actions. A large central stage surrounded by four other stages will allow us to build large stage movements, but also to keep and protect certain aspects which require intimacy and poetry. There will be a very sophisticated sound system which will also allow us to “see with our ears”.
In order to touch and move our audience, we will immerse them in the lives, battles, solitude and silences that form an integral part of the lives of those who work in the vineyards. This world will unfold before the eyes of a child guided by her grandfather. He will plunge her into a world that is both magical and dreamlike, inhabited by figures she will learn to recognise and understand. The grandfather and the little girl will be immersed in the wisdom, little secrets and stages that are the basis of the calendar governing the lives of winegrowers.
Each time of the year corresponding to precise actions carried out on the grapevine will be interpreted and told through stage games, mass choreography and pictures capable of amazing the eyes of children. Through music and song lyrics, we will try to reach the hearts of the audience.
As the grandfather and the little girl, we will take the audience by the hand and lead them into a magical and emotional world where human and earth or human and nature come together, confront one another and dance together. This show is also aimed at people who come from elsewhere by putting them in touch with the culture and life of the people from here. This will therefore be a show in which the layers of understanding will come together in a very profound and delicate way.
Just like Alice in Wonderland, the little girl will use her imagination to transform cards, scissors, little insects and a thousand other things; these will suddenly come to life through gigantic choreographies and enormous parades. We will alternate between full scenes with 2,000 to 2,500 actors present, and very intimate moments. We will look for poetry and emotion in each aspect, in every gesture, costume, song and word. During this journey, the grandfather will guide her by providing an explanation to everything that will magically appear before her. He will explain the work, the love and respect for the earth and the attention focused on certain tasks that must be carried out with care, skill and love.
The show begins with a day of grape picking and ends with another day of grape picking, as if the whole journey had only lasted a moment, just a break in the feverishness and excitement of the work. We will begin with a scene in a totally empty arena and finish with the same emptiness, and emptiness that I want to be filled with echoes, pictures and emotions to be forever fixed in the hearts of our audience.
The meaning of this journey, conceived with my partner Julie, who passed away a few years ago, is beginning to take shape. We also wanted to bring the award ceremony to the centre of this Fête, in order to restore the winegrowers/labourers to their true place as well as the whole Confrérie, which monitors the knowledge and skills of these men who, every day, scrutinise the skies and the lake and speak to the vines.
Words of Daniele Finzi Pasca