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The Moles by Philippe Quesne at NYU Skirball

NYU Skirball welcomes French theater director and visual artist Philippe Quesne, who invites you into a parallel universe where there are no humans and no words. In this mysterious underground world, larger-than-life moles are not solitary creatures, but the architects of something between a utopian community and a punk rock band.

Philippe Quesne studied fine arts, visual design, and stage design in Paris. In 2003, he founded Vivarium Studio. His many works, which have been presented to great acclaim internationally, combine scenography with visual art and performance. Since 2014, he has been artistic director of the Nanterre-Amandiers theatre in France. In his work, Quesne creates spaces that function like ecosystems, where the performers explore the dynamics within a community. In addition to his work for the theater, he creates performances and interventions in public spaces or natural sites and displays his installations in the context of exhibitions. In 2019, he was named artistic director for the Prague Quadriennal. nanterre-amandiers.com

Parade of the Moles
Thursday, September 12 | 2pm

In this free event, the Moles will venture forth from NYU Skirball to explore the great outdoors and Greenwich Village landmarks. The public is invited to join in this informal parade as the Moles explore the NYU neighborhood.

Night of the Moles
Friday, September 13 & Saturday, September 14 | 7:30pm

A burrow. Seven giant moles emerge from cardboard tunnels. They dig, cook, draw, copulate, give birth, and even form a punk-rock band. A disconcerting microcosm that could only have come from Philippe Quesne’s imagination. Wordless theater of the ecological and philosophical underground, this is an improbable journey to the center of the earth.

Appropriate for ages 16+.

Afternoon of the Moles
Saturday, September 14 | 3pm

In this family-friendly performance, the Moles remain chaste but perform all their other daily tasks, from digging to forming a punk band that rocks their underground world. There will be a pre-show activity for children and their families.

Recommending reading: NYU Professor Phillip John Usher's essay on The Moles : The Night of the Moles is “like getting a very satisfying injection of materialist philosophy cut with something vaguely psychotropic, leaving the spectator with the impression that she now understands something we might call Mole-Paw-Being.”


This project is supported by FACE Contemporary Theater, a program developed by FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States with the support of the Florence Gould Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Institut français-Paris, the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors.

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