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Cie Non Nova: Immoral Tales Part 1 – Mother House

LIFT 2020

French artist Phia Ménard, who plays Athena stands atop a destroyed cardboard structure surrounded by smoke. Photo by Jean-Luc Beaujault

Part sci-fi punk, part warrior, Athena spares no effort in building a new Parthenon only to be thwarted by a deluge in this amazingly poetic, highly physical performance without words. 

Using just scotch tape and poles, our heroic builder painstakingly assembles a pile of cardboard, stabilising the rickety structure and shaping it with a chainsaw until a European landmark emerges. But as soon as the temple is complete, a foreboding cloud appears on the horizon, leaving us with stark images of creation and destruction. 

French artist Phia Ménard, who plays Athena, developed Immoral Tales Part 1 – Mother House in response to the Greek financial crisis, refugees being housed in tents and turbulent changes across Europe. Showing how quickly something can collapse, there are visions of a society facing ruin in this tension-filled, visually arresting show.  

1 hour 30 mins, no interval
Age guidance 12+

There is no spoken dialogue in this piece 

Post-show talk, Wed 17 Jun
Free to same-day ticket holders

No performance on Thu 18 Jun

Co-presented by the Barbican and LIFT. Produced by Compagnie Non Nova. Co-produced by documenta 14 – Kassel and Le Carré, Scène nationale et Centre d’Art contemporain du Château-Gontier. This production is supported by Institut français du Royaume Uni.



‘Somewhere between choregraphy and art installation. This slow-moving tableaux dwarfs any human presence, leaving audiences with enigmatic, elemental images.‘
The New York Times
‘A performance of rare quality‘
Libération (France)
‘Powerful symbolic force‘
Scene Web (France)

Barbican Theatre