Les Diptik

Les Diptik
© BAK/Gneborg

Les Diptik

An ingenious clown duo

Nominated for the Schweizer Kleinkunstpreis 2020

Les Diptik are Céline Rey, who was born in Fribourg in 1986 and grew up in the city, and David Melendy, who was born in California in 1990 and grew up there. Céline Rey initially studied educational sciences and then attended a one-year drama course at the Conservatoire de Fribourg. After leaving high school, David Melendy studied the art of clown at the Circus Center of San Francisco. The pair met at the Scuola Teatro Dimitri, where they completed a Bachelor’s degree in physical theatre. After graduating, they were invited by the Swiss Circus Monti to develop a clown duo for the 2013 season. During 250 performances in 8 months at 40 different venues they honed their characters and their onstage interactions. In May 2014 they were invited to appear at the Young Stage international circus festival in Basel, earning themselves a Bronze Star in the process. In autumn 2015 Les Diptik wrote their first full-length theatrical clown show “Hang Up”, followed in 2018 by “Postscriptum”, a sideways look at the issue of stress.

“Hang Up”, which the duo perform in French and German, remains an enduringly popular feature of the Kleinkunst scene. It was jointly developed with Marjolaine Minot, a theatre practitioner also working in Fribourg who was nominated for the Schweizer Kleinkunstpreis in 2019. The dynamic duo, featuring the tender and rebellious “Garlic” and the melancholy and unpredictable “Dangle”, is an absurdist poem, an investigation into the purpose of being (or not) that falls somewhere between the worlds of clown and theatre. The unique quality of their double act lies in the chemistry between them: a subtle blend of humour and cynicism, tenderness and absurdity. In addition to performing together, for example with a ‘commedia dell’arte’-style show in 2014 as part of the Origen Festival Cultural in Graubünden, the duo also appear in variety and at private functions, with a mixture of music, acrobatics, play-acting and absurdism.

“An award can be viewed as the culmination of an artist’s career or an incentive to develop it further. In the case of Les Diptik, it’s a bit of both. On the one hand, this is a clown duo who, despite the brevity of their collaboration to date and their youthfulness, have already achieved a remarkable degree of quality and success; on the other, the two artists, Céline Rey and David Melendy, are well aware that they haven’t yet reached where they want to be. That fact, manifested in tireless theatrical experimentation combined with inquisitiveness and a thirst for knowledge, means we have many surprises still to look forward to.”

Demis Quadri, jury member