It’s often been said that one should never send a man to do a woman’s job, and when it comes to telling the story of Camille Claudel, that is very true. In recent years, the story of the rebellious sculptor has been told on stage through spoken word and dance to various degrees of success. Indeed, when Wendy Beckett and Meryl Tankard’s Claudelwas last performed in 2019, it was one of two productions at the Festival d’Avignon that dared tackle the fate of the rebellious sculptor and muse to Auguste Rodin.
Claudel. Photograph © Daniel Boud
To understand where Beckett and Tankard have succeeded, one must also acknowledge where others have failed. Since Camille’s death in 1943, much of her life has been left to conjecture. Did she really go insane? In her relationship with Rodin, who carried the greater creative influence? Did Rodin really take steps to sabotage her career? Beckett and Tankard make their own assumptions in answering those questions in Camille’s favour, but their greatest success is finally placing her centrestage.
In 2011, choreographers Boris Eifman and Peter Quanz both created...