Created and directed by Gisèle Vienne
Dramaturgy Dennis Cooper
Original music Peter Rehberg and El Mundo Frio by Corrupted
Patrick Riou

Created in collaboration with, and performed by Jonathan Capdevielle
Recorded voices Catherine Robbe-Grillet and Serge Ramon
Stylism Stephen O’Malley and Jean-Luc Verna
Puppets Gisèle Vienne and Dorothéa Vienne Pollak
Make-up Jean-Luc Verna and Rebecca Flores
Costumes making Dorothéa Vienne Pollak, Marino Marchand and Babeth Martin
Ventriloquy training Michel Dejeneffe

Translatation from English-American to French Emmelene Landon

Acknowledgements to Atelier de création radiophonique de France Culture, Philippe Langlois and Franck Smith, Sophie Bissantz for the sound effects. Voices and sound effects have been recorded for Atelier de création radiophonique.

Acknowledgements to Justin Bartlett, Nayland Blake, Alcinda Carreira-Marin, Florimon, Ludovic Poulet, Anne S – Villa Arson, Thomas Scimeca, Yury Smirnov, Scott Treleaven, la galerie Air de Paris, Tim/IRIS and Jean-Paul Vienne

With the technical support fo Quartz Scène nationale Brest
Technical director Nicolas Minssen
Light manager Christophe Delarue


Executive producer DACM with the collaboration of Quartz Scène nationale Brest

Coproducers Le Quartz Scène nationale Brest // Centre Chorégraphique National de Franche-Comté à Belfort dans le cadre de l’accueil-studio // Centro Parraga –Murcia

With the support of Ville de Grenoble, Conseil Général de l’Isère and Ménagerie de Verre in the frame of Studiolab


From a novel by Dennis Cooper

“Jerk” is an imaginary reconstruction – strange, poetic, funny and somber – of the crimes perpetrated by American serial killer Dean Corll who, with the help of teenagers David Brooks and Wayne Henley, killed more than twenty boys in the state of Texas during the mid-70s.
This show sees David Brooks serving his life sentence. In prison, he learns the art of puppets, which somehow enables him to face up to his responsibility as partner in the crimes. He has written a show that reconstructs the murders committed by Dean Corll, using puppets for all the roles. He performs his show in prison for a class of psychology students from a local university.

Due to the violence and humor of the text, there is an underlying fierceness to the performance. The glove puppet theater is in fact the traditional form used to enact violent illicit subjects. And “Jerk” unabashedly mingles sexuality and violence in the vein of gore aesthetics, thus harking back to the glove puppet repertory.

The text has been staged as a solo for puppeteer, who uses glove puppets and also acts the role of con artist.
The story, however realist it may be, seems to border on unrealism. The play’s apparent realism stems from its linear narration, as well as from its basic true story and from the trickster-puppeteer’s total identification with the fictive character of David Brooks.

“Jerk” merges three plays that were produced in collaboration with the American writer Dennis Cooper: “I Apologize” (2004), “Une belle enfant blonde” (2005) and “Kindertotenlieder” (2007). In these three plays, the links between fantasy and reality are being constantly probed, thereby altering our perception of reality. The more realist “Jerk” puts forth a consistent linear narrative, generating the credibility that undeniably stems from this form. And it is this undeniability that is reexamined by way of our different formal experiences.


Jerk, a radioplay – in the framework of the Atelier de Création radiophonique de France Culture

Premiere June 17th, 2007

The radio play “Jerk” was commissioned by Frank Smith for France Culture and the Atelier de Création Radiophonique. It focuses on the deeply schizophrenic nature of the puppeteer’s art by conveying the puppeteer’s mindset and viewpoint. The radio form enables this experience to be intimately shared.