Events  Café-Théâtre “Ils s’aiment”
31/03/201400:00 HK Theatre Association

How would you describe this play to people who has never seen before?
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder- Producer/ Director/ Coach): Close to reality, hilarious, nasty – because people like to do nasty things to each other when they like each other. 
Lenny- Baptiste Conil (6th year student): These are the situations that are all experience to certain extent in our private life. It’s quite funny to pin point this side of character. When we performed it in front of some audiences, some of the audiences were relating the story to one another. It was fun watching them pointing at one another. 
Which part do you think you could relate to this play?
Lenny- Baptiste Conil (6th year student): I think the driving license part is the most relatable. Shouting at the driver is something most people would have experienced. 
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): I’ve lived that with one of my ex boyfriend. I would rather see my self more relatable to the last skit. One that starts with a dinner, and a guy forgets about it… turns into an argument and finally the dinner turns out to be cancelled and it seemed useless to argue. It’s an exaggeration from the writer’s point of view on how couples would react. 
If I haven’t experienced it, one of my friends would have experienced it. 

Why did you choose to play “Ils s’aiment”?
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): We were looking at the schedule of the year. We had one play in April and one of the biggest show in June. Basically, we have a school calendar starting in September, and by November, we will do one classical piece to promote the association and give an opportunity for older students to be on stage.
After a few years, we have become very good in terms of performances and we tried to do more and more.
With “Ils s’aiment”, I got excited about the idea of Café-Théâtre because my friend is actually the owner of the bar and when I go there for live music, I have always enjoyed it.
I have been in Hong Kong for 11 years and I created another production company in which started with Café-Théâtre production. Mainly in English first and then in French…
It hit me when I saw the stage and I spoke to him and asked him what he thinks about it. He then came to see the “Prenom” and other couple of shows and he enjoyed it and thought it was a good opportunity for us to collaborate.

How do you choose your actors?
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): Everyone is welcome! Amateur, professional, any one! Usually I look into my older students that have been practicing longer with me.. When I have a play, I will discuss with them and after the first reading of the script, I usually have a general idea who would take the part.
When I have new students, I would usually try to look for what we could use/ improvisation of that certain students. It really depends on each people.
Is there a place for improvisation in your play?
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): Of course! Even tonight, we were improvising through the line! 
All in all, we try not to improvise. We try to follow the sketch.  It’s not just about the actors but it’s also related to the technical teams. 
For Café-Théâtre, we have less technical needs and also prop needs so it’s a different interaction with the audience… so I personally encourage the actors to interact with the audiences.
We don’t really know how audiences are going to react to this, but this is where our acting skills come out. 
However, it’s not that there isn’t any room to improvise, but as an actor, doing live performances aren’t perfect. It’s not a movie. There isn’t any editing system.
That’s why I would like to use the oldest students for harder production because they are trained to be on stage and built to be on stage.
Lenny- Baptiste Conil (6th year student): The way we build our characters, we are able to be whatever character we want during our rehearsals and eventually, this will allow us to build our own characters. It helps us channeling it back to our characters.
In a play that requires lots of interactions with the audiences, it really requires lots of improvisation skills. You have no idea how your audience will react. They may like it or dislike physical contacts.  

Would you consider easy to have less props during the play?
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): Not really. Nothing is really accurate when we have imaginary objects, and it gets frustrating, as it’s easy to forget. Visually, if you were not well organized, people would easily point out what you’ve missed. 
Lenny- Baptiste Conil (6th year student): It gives more freedom to us. For example, the scene in the car, we act based on our imagination. 
Why are you located in Hong Kong? Is there a specific reason that this association is in Hong Kong?
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): I’m still wondering why I’m location in Hong Kong.  I came to visit my sister after receiving my diploma.
I believed that I would be the next Bruce Lee because I was doing a lot of martial arts at the time.
Being a foreigner, a French, and being an artist, was very difficult but I dealt with it and stayed in Hong Kong. It was true that I would have been much more difficult to pursue the same dream back in France.  
Day by day, it grew to be a proper company, and it settled. The more it grew, the more I believed that Hong Kong is the location… and as years went by, the French community in Hong Kong grew!
By having acting talents, do you use your talents in everyday situation?
Bertrand Leduby (3rd year student) : In my case, I would use it in professional situation. Like for example, you would always need to pretend/ act as your role as a certain position within your company. It helps to behave in front of people you don't know.
It helps us prepare for unexpected things. The worst or the best! you can never know what can happen but you can always train to respond accordingly.  
Lenny- Baptiste Conil (6th year student): Being able to speak loud in front of people you don't know is really helpful. People would see you as a good speaker, based on your speech.
Emilie Guillot (HKTA founder): The good thing is that it helps us improvise in our own lives too. It’s not that actors are much better liars, but we learn how to appreciate and accept different situations in life.
What is one thing you fear during your act?
Lenny- Baptiste Conil (6th year student): Not remembering your lines, having a blank face. It happened to me once in the past. I was just standing there not able to remember anything but fortunately, there were subtitles, which really helped in that situation.
I then used my improvisation skills to look at the script and go back to the play. I would have been in real trouble if it were to happen in another play.
Another thing that I would point out is to have an audience in the front row that is obviously not interested in your play. I have no problem with interacting with the audience, but it really affects me as an actor.

HK Theatre Association Ltd (HKTA) is an organisation that aims to support and enrich art and cultural development in Hong kong. Founded in 2007 by Emilie Guillot, HKTA aims to train and encourage emerging artists to nurture their creativity and express themselves through bold new works that push the creative envelop. The Association helps individual, amateur actors to gain control over their work, teaching them to rely on their own instincts, imagination and choices. Our scene study and group classes produce confident person, actors who bring an original voice to every production. IN fact, the most distinctive thing about one of our member is how different each one is. We train amateur actors to speak in their own artistic voice- producing characters that are rich and layered, They become the artist they always wanted to be.

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