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January 28, 2019 | Theatre,

The Career of Raphaëlle Boitel, Creator of When Angels Fall

Raphaëlle Boitel began her career at a young age when her family decided to, quite literally, join the circus. Her family’s involvement in the arts helped guide Boitel towards her career in performance art and theater. Her passion for the aerialist artform and contortionism continued to grow, alongside her talent. In 1992 Boitel joined the National School of Circus Arts Fratellini, an internationally esteemed institution that focuses specifically on educating emerging circus performers and artists, an integral part in the start of Boitel’s career as the theatermaker and circus performer we know today.  The school is incredibly unique, from its foundation based on development and cultivation of young circus artists, to it’s curriculum that focuses on strengthening performance and research skills in their students.

After completing her schooling, Boitel began collaborating with international artists like James Thierrée. Thierrée created la Compagnie du Hanneton, an award winning production company that focuses on integrating music, acrobatics, theater, and circus performance into it’s shows. Together, Boitel and Thierree created the The Junebug Symphony, one of the very first productions attached to la Compagnie du Hanneton. The Junebug Symphony was an groundbreaking piece that premiered in 1998 and combined the magic of symphonic music, circus performance, and ballet. Boitel was both a collaborator and a cast member of the piece, her performance hailed as “bedazzling” by critics. From there, Boitel went on to work with James Thierrée on a piece called La Veillée des Abysses, a beautiful fantasy piece in which Boitel also performed.

Following her success as an artist in Europe, Raphaëlle Boitel brought her art to the United States in 2016 with her performance, and directorial debut, of The Forgotten. Being her first solo created production, The Forgotten defined Boitel’s career as a director and visionary. In this piece, Boitel and the other six performers tell the story of a woman going through a dreamlike world, trying to find the man she loves. Broadway World hailed The Forgotten as an “extraordinary new frontier in entertainment where theater, circus and dance joyously embrace”. The success of The Forgotten lead to even more success with Boitel’s work in acrobatics and contortionism.

Finally, Boitel’s most recent piece, When Angels Fall, brings the praised artist to Boston. This production provides audiences with a riveting tale of flightless angels surviving a global collapse, where the resilience of the human spirit is pitted against the sterile and mechanical. When one survivor refuses to settle into this bleak new universe, a rebellion ensues that threatens to turn a hopeless situation even worse. According to Boitel herself, “When Angels Fall is a dystopia, a fiction of anticipation. To speak of the future is, I think, the best way to speak of the present”. In line with her other works, When Angels Fall combines circus performers, acrobatics, and exquisite imagery, creating a signature Raphaëlle Boitel piece that will “leave every audience member free to take their own interpretation. ArtsEmerson is thrilled to showcase Boitel’s latest work and welcome her story to our stage.

Don’t miss the New England premiere of When Angels Fall at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, FEB 20 -24 and experience the genius of Raphaëlle Boitel first hand!

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