Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu'elle broute
Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu'elle broute
Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu'elle broute
Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu'elle broute
Creation 2018 On tour seasons 21-22, 22-23, 23-24, 24-25

Où la
chèvre est
il faut

Ten individuals assigned female at birth, practicing football with the team 'Les Dégommeuses' or having a performative practice of the body in effort, come together on a common field: sports and art performance. During the game and with its codes, they engage in a narrative typically seen as belonging to men. They reclaim a sport that has often been taken away from women and tell a political story of bodies, female identities, and football. An intersectional approach to the discrimination faced in society, combining performances, live music, and poetry.

I borrowed this title from a popular expression, taken from a book by Guillaume Bouchet called Les Sérées (1598). It talks about the obligation to conform or adapt to the state or situation one finds themselves in. La chèvre in the Dico du Parler Foot by Baptiste Blanchet and Jean-Damien Lesay is an analogy for a player ‘who simply treads the grass on the field without bringing anything to their team’. For me, in La chèvre and in this expression, there is an animalization of women and a reminder of the homophobic remark made to women who ‘graze the grass’, so to say ‘carpet munch’.

I discovered football by accident. As a form of provocation, I immersed myself in it, a Black, lesbian, plump, 30-year-old woman artist, with the desire to venture into a space where it seemed my body didn't belong. However, I seemed to fit perfectly into the stereotype of women who love football, the 'probably lesbians,' the 'tomboys’.

That's how I approached the Dégommeuses team, how I integrated myself into it, participating in training sessions, post-training gatherings at the local sports bar, and the games where, from the stands at Charléty, we unfurled the LGBTQIA+ flag... I embraced the world of women's football with the passion of a girls' band fan. The Dégommeuses were, with this team, in a completely unexpected place, as they intentionally displayed their sexuality, lesbian and bisexual, and welcomed some transgender men. In France, no female player has come out of the closet. So, the Dégommeuses are a tease. The team is diverse in age, class, and race, and it welcomes refugees, undocumented individuals, exiled activists, promoting their integration through sports. The activism of the 'Dégo' led me to an intersectional examination of discrimination and a necessity to address the intimacy of bodies and sexualities in a sporting context that is both physical and political.

One of the recurring phrases that came up a lot in the beginning, during the first workshop with the team, was 'I want to work on the exhaustion of bodies.' A body that we see persist, struggle, suffer, and then collapse. Quickly, the memory of the endurance race, a torture in middle school, where I aimlessly circled around my gym, exposed to the gaze of a man with his stopwatch who remained still, came back to me. I exposed myself to the gaze of the other students; I was part of a mass that ran, and we had goals based on our genders and heart rates. I found it absurd, but I obeyed. Running with no other purpose than to discover one's personal endurance. I wanted to start from there.

To tell the experiences of individuals who endure in sports and in life under the gaze of others, through my perspective and what I know about them, and at times, intersect my voice with theirs through improvised interviews. I immediately wanted to mix real sports practitioners with stage practitioners to create a sense of disquiet (there are, in fact, double trajectories within the team) and build a team of performers. This team aims to question discrimination in football on stage, and therefore, on a larger scale, in society. Presenting ten individuals assigned female at birth, in their complexities, their paradoxes in relation to this sport, on a minimal playing field: a rectangle of earth, a fantasized locker room, and the stands at the centre of attention.

Discrimination means violence and domination. Today, football is not an inclusive sport; it's governed by men, by a capitalist system that commodifies it, which exacerbates violent nationalism. I wanted to address sexism, racism, LGBTQ+ discrimination, ableism, ageism, and all these areas of hierarchy among individuals while preserving an intimate narrative. Football is well-suited for this exploration of female identities. It allows us to question the diversity within the community of women, to examine the necessity of non-diversity, and to show the individual within a group of peers. What does it mean to be a fan, an amateur player, a Dégommeuse, a professional player? During the performance, I embody the isolated character, the one who doesn't play but endures, nonetheless. I am the referee, the coach, the manager, the man/the woman who watches women play, the individual facing the group. It's the all-seeing gaze of the director/author who follows and makes us follow the unfolding show.

Rébecca Chaillon

Text and staging Rébecca Chaillon
Artistic collaboration Céline Champinot
Assistant staging Élisa Monteil
Team Rébecca Chaillon, Elisa Monteil, Adam M, Adèle Beuchot-Costet, Marie Fortuit, Patricia Morejon, Audrey le Bihan, Yearime Castel y Barragan, Mélanie Martinez Llense, Etaïnn Zwer
Music composition and Live performance Suzanne Péchenart
Song/anthem of the Fifoune Anouck Hilbey
Light design and operation / Sound design / set design Suzanne Péchenart
General management, sound and video Marinette Buchy
General management Gaëlle Grassin
Development / production,
L’oeil écoute - Mara Teboul & Elise Bernard
Production, Cie Dans Le Ventre

Co-production CDN de Normandie-Rouen, La Ferme du Buisson – Scène Nationale of Marne-la-Vallée, Mains d’Oeuvre, Le Phénix – Scène Nationale of Valenciennes, 232U Théâtre de Chambre. Soutien, Carreau du Temple, Cultural and sports facility of the City of Paris.