Juliette Cahin and Coraline Pardeau, theatre professionals from France, will be conducting a workshop on theatre

The call of the theatre is never far for Parisians Juliette Cahin and Coraline Pardeau, even when they are so far away from home. Juliette, who works in theatre administration, and Coraline, a theatre actor, came to Kerala to train in French language teaching at Alliance Française de Trivandrum. The 24-year-olds, both of who are part of Le Collectif du K, a well-known drama company in Paris, led by theatre director and artiste Simon Falguières, are set to share their experiences in theatre with a workshop (from October 12).

“Le Collectif works on the principle of collaboration. It’s really a vibrant laboratory where the members are encouraged to create and produce their own works, exchange ideas on art and collaborate on a joint production. So all of us would be involved in all aspects of production, lending a hand with lighting, set design, make-up...,” says Coraline. Juliette, the better versed in English of the two, adds: “We do all manner of theatre productions from street plays and puppetry to burlesque and full length productions. One of our latest was a pantomime – Le Songe du Reverebere (Dream of the streetlight). Working with the company has enabled us to think originally, think laterally.”

Both the women say that they have been theatre enthusiasts since their childhood days. While Coraline has been an actor since she was 14, Juliette’s tryst with theatre began when she was eight. “It started off as fun, then it grew into a passion. Theatre is a very vibrant medium in France. It is one of the main extra-curricular activities for school children; the others being music and dance. As such it’s very easy to get involved. If you want to, there are also plenty of opportunities to turn professional,” says Juliette, who grew up near Montmartre – Paris’ bohemian arts district, home to many theatre conservatories including Le Collectif.

In the month-and-a-half-long workshop, the duo aims to help participants work on their physical acting skills and experiment with mute burlesque. They will be taught to improvise on gags and absurd situations.

The workshop will also focus on building self-confidence to perform in front of an audience without stage-fright and how to be aware of the space and people around.

The duo has themed the workshop on travelling. “A number of our students at Alliance mentioned that they are migrating to Quebec (the French-speaking territory of Canada) and wanted to hear everything about French culture and lifestyle. As we ourselves are exploring a completely new culture we thought the theme was a prudent choice,” says Coraline.

Meanwhile, the pretty youngsters are thoroughly enjoying their stay in Kerala – Juliette even looks as comfy as can be in a kurta-pyjama. “It’s been lots of fun; Onam, particularly. We made pookkalam and had a crepe party. We also saw boat race in Alappuzha, and visited Kochi and Varkala.” They add that when they go back home in December, they hope that their experiences in Kerala will inspire them. “Kerala’s aesthetics in terms of colour, nature, climate, people, and so on is very arresting. I’m busy storing images in my mind,” says Juliette.