You don’t usually go to the theatre to have thoughts thrown at you at the speed of lightning, but with Pamina de Coulon, a Swiss artist who defies every Swiss cliché, brains spring wings. Hold on to those thoughts and they might carry you into the next year.

Such is the power of evocation of the young woman who operates like a geyser, sending one image after another into the sky, to then allow them to come back down again and settle into your consciousness.

She takes us to the comfort of an abyss, knee-high in sediment, but, guess what, you’ve just reached the bottom and can rise again.

She invites us to sail along migration trails and Tectonic plates, sink with the Titanic, marvel at the insolence of water, the only liquid that can carry its solid state…

She manages to make us feel noble when we espouse her amused anger against the many things that are wrong (and right) in the world.

A new form of standup sitdown comedy

Pamina de Coulon has invented a new form of stand-up comedy, except that she is sitting down, and the laughs we hear are not at what she says, but the sudden dawning of what it means to us.

How on earth does she get away with more than an hour of intellectual fireworks that are never boring? How can subversion be so charming, because don’t think you can just walk away from the evening thinking you’ve had a good time, although there is something of that too. Some of the things you’ve learned will continue to tick in your mind.

Fire of emotions

Is it theatre? Of course, it is, because out imagination requires her physical presence. She is inviting us to plunge into different seas.

Is it worth discovering Pamina and her live-wire intelligence and spring freshness?

Only if you like being taken somewhere where you have never been before.

The show is called: Fire of Emotions: the Abyss and was given at the premiere avant-garde venue, Arsenic, during the Lausanne performing arts spring festival, Programme Commun, on 15-18 March 2018, including a session in English.

Pamina de Coulon

Pamina de Coulon © Dorothée Thébert-Filliger

Michèle Laird, née Haffner, was an international arts administrator (visual arts and theatre), successively in Paris, New York and London, before moving to Switzerland and becoming an arts journalist.

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