EN DIRECT / Exposition Clémentine Adou, Daddy long legs’ hands, septembre 2023, Tonus, Paris

Documentation : Jade Fourès-Varnier

The Puppeteer, Guignol and the Cops.

(A prank to read out loud, hands tied)


—> <—

Hired as Puppeteer by day, hired as Croupier by night, promise yourself never to confess the first skills to your second patrons, Or they will charge you for cheating.

As far as you manage the prank to appear as sheer entertainment, you are still holding the line, tense and vertical,

you handle the gravity,

pull the wires as if there were none, all in.

From here, eyes height, It’s quite convincing,

you even manage to catch the dubious brows.

You throw a fiction to feed their dreams, you offer desire,
you harass what you despise,


Even if enacted by others, with no frown, you strike the rules,

and, consequently, here are the ones on stage:

A hero,
his fellows,
and a bunch of bad guys.

Or in other words:

– The fool that pleases everyone, « guignol » the flute player, – dozen of accomplices, mere citizens,
– and the cops, maintaining order.

As for chronology, long story short: A calm situation,
then a conflict,
then a resolution.

To maintain respect, you should make them believe they already solved the plot before it started, and hold their breath.

As for language features:

in puppeteer tongue, « control » is the other label given to the cross, an alternative appellation for your puppet-handle.

And please, avoid us your shrug, you knew.


You knew that at the very end of the wire your figures are far from being free, a loose relation you say, but indeed, a relation.

Their autonomy ? Not even relative : a sheer joke,

cause maintaining weakness takes part of the dramaturgy.

Thus with control, you please the audience.

You hold the cross, the cross holds your audience, you hold the audience,

a trap.

And here is the plot:


Well, let’s say we skip to serve the plot : no matter the conflict we first and foremost aim at a resolution,

the final scene is the one for which everybody is paying an entry, and you have to concede, it should be as follow:

what a joy to see a hero and his fellows being punished by the cops’ club.

Even if the hammering tool is a plastic-made prop which produces a terrible high-pitched sound that only makes the youngest laugh,


while adults, sharp smiles stamped on their face, fist tighten to this effect of fiction that park them at a secure distance, here, like behind the wired glass where they can be reassured that the threat is far from being their business,

« it’s them, not us », they say.

« Tender cowards »
(it’s how you judge them from above),

and you have no intention to ignore their audience’s scorn: fairness first, wires pulled for ethical purposes,


you take advantage of the night shift, you pull the croupier : re-shuffle the cards, add a trick in the plot, a bone in the chronology,

and, in a sec:

what a joy to see the cops being punished by the cops’ club.

And now that the matraque is proudly hold by the fool you cannot hear this horrible sound anymore, it is now part of the whole symphony.

Now the prank is a lure and at last, a scene close to the reality you always fantasized,


but boy, the children are crying.

You naive, master puppeteer,
did you dare think they will let you rewrite their shameful behaviors ?

Customer is king while you stay blind to the intangible line of their impossible-to-defeat-power, symbolic indeed,

but still a line you have crossed.

Face the reality of their privilege: they cannot not win.

They rule the mechanism behind the glass of the Christmas frenzy display, a slow machinery that will never get duped,
an assembly of cogs processing reality thousands times way better than you.

Your supercherie cannot stand in here.

As the worst lobbies, the machine re-establishes the reality, as it should be,

cancel the eccentricities, pleasing the audience. For you now, even the sound of the flute is a violence.

It is a prank in which even the red noses whispers that you are getting fooled, well fooled, silently shouting at you that you can swallow your hope for insurrection.

Et c’est à nouveau guignol qui s’en prend une.

from Barto to Adou, 2023