Théorie des Prodiges (Theory of Wonders)


Système Castafiore

Directed by Karl Biscuit

Choreographer: Marcia Barcellos 


26th Oct. 2018, 21:00

27th Oct. 2018, 14:30/19:30

28th Oct. 2018, 15:00

WHERE: Wuzhen Grand Theatre

Duration: 60 minutes (without intermission)

Performed in French, with Chinese and English subtitles


A poetic show of rare quality. Theory of Wonders is an enchanting journey to the source of earthly life, in the immensity of the cosmos, within a vertiginous infinity that defies our understanding. But a journey extremely poetic and philosophical, where only elements made magical by the force of the word and the image serve as guides or landmarks.

— Raphael de Gubernatis, Le Nouvel Observateur

The Castafiore Company creates, always and again, magic. Theory of Wonders is one of those mesmerizing shows that transport the assembly into an enchanting, almost cosmic universe.

— Manon Garrigues, Vogue

So beautiful and poetic. A very personal approach to the history of the universe in which neither the mystery of our origins nor that of quantum theory are forgotten. And it is so beautiful, that it does not matter if one does not understand all the mathematical theories displayed. Because everything forms a perfect, smooth, light and poetic ensemble, which transports the audience into total delight.

— Annick Manbon, Nice Matin

A perfect mix of dance music and visual arts. …In a cottony, delicate atmosphere, System Castafiore perfectly combines dance, music, and the plastic arts. A mixture of surprising, poetic and even funny images, accessible to all.

— D.R., La Provence

About Theory of Wonders (Théorie des Prodiges)

In the beginning, there is the discovery of a 16th century manuscript, which compiles the miracles and different wonders that occurred in ancient times: passing comets, five-footed sheep, demons and marvels. Where has that magic gone? The mystery of the cosmos, of nature and living things?

In the past, magical thinking was substituted for shortcomings in knowledge.

Meaning was given to unexplained phenomena using fanciful interpretation and the elaboration of mythologies, populating the heavens with divine creatures and the Earth with fearsome monsters.

Fortunately, today, we explain everything. In a rational manner.

Yet we understand next to nothing.

We have replaced magic with images. And in the end, this double reversal deprives us of imagination.

When everything is shown, we no longer see anything. We wish to see nothing, because it is too ugly.

Ugliness could eventually take over the world!

Where, then, does magic hide? Under the mask of the last agonizing god’s avatar?

To hell with beliefs from a former time, relayed by the enterprise of religion, and its procession of obscurantists!

Here’s to reason! And science! As well as technique! For us the delights of immanence!

But we miss those magical worlds! We want the beyond, transcendence, phantoms and unicorns!

We need miracles! So then, Art is here. An attempt to re-enchant: that is the project.

To tell the world as it is not. To narrate the story of modern legends.

Reality: that which does not exist.

About Karl Biscuit & Marcia Barcellos 

Karl Biscuit

Composer and Director

Associated with the movement of Northern European experimental music, he is one of the artists on the "Crammed Discs" label.

Close to members of the young French dance movement that emrgedin the 1980s, he wrote music for Philippe Decouflé (Un Vague Café, first prize at the Bagnolet competition), and Dominique Boivin (Strada Fox).

He studied choreographic composition with Alwin Nikolaïs, where he met Marcia Barcellos, with whom he founded Système Castafiore in 1989. The two have created 24 choreographic works together.

Marcia Barcellos


Born in Sao Paulo, she studied dance with Halina Biernacka, a soloist from the Warsaw Opera who emigrated to Brazil after the war.

At 17, she had the opportunity to come to France to audition. In 1978, Alwin Nikolaïs asked her to participate in a summer workshop in Chartreuse-les-Avignons, at the end of which he encouraged her to study at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers. There, as a member of a performing group chosen by the choreographer, she danced in works choreographed by Alwin Nikolaïs. After her training, she moved to Paris where she danced with Quentin Rouiller.

In 1981, she co-founded, with a group of young artists (among them Dominique Rebaud, Alain Michon and Santiago Sempere), the collective Lolita, responsible for a number of creations— notably Zoopsi Comédi—which toured in Europe and abroad.

In 1986, Marcia joined the group Tuxedomoon, as a singer, for the European tour of Holywars.

In 1989, she founded Système Castafiore with Karl Biscuit. At present, they have created 24 works together, including commissions from national ballet companies.


Director, Music, video design: Karl Biscuit

Choreography: Marcia Barcellos

Costumes: Christian Burle assisté de Magalie Leportier

Graphics: Vincent de Chavanes

Decoration: Jean-Luc Tourné

Light: Manon Leboucher

Sound and video: Arnaud Véron

Dancers: Tuomas Lahti, Daphné Mauger, Mayra Morelli, Sara Pasquier, 

               Agalie Vandamme

Chanteuse: Lise Viricel

Actor: Florence Ricaud

Interpreter: Wang Jing

Système Castafiore is supported by the DRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the Conseil Départemental des Alpes-Maritimes, the Région Paca and the Ville de Grasse.

About Système Castafiore

Système Castafiore has no equivalent in the French performing arts scene. Combining dance, sophisticated images and sound installation, their theatrical representation of reality reflects the madness of our world.

The Système Castafiore process, rich with divers savoir-faire, is crafted to serve their playful imagery. This is no doubt due to the infectious joy of the masters-at-hand: choreographer Marcia Barcellos, and director-composer Karl Biscuit, who co-direct this impressively creative company.