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Creativate Productions


Conceived, directed and performed by: Julien Mellano
External perspective: Etienne Manceau
Lighting and stage management: Sebastien Thomas
Sound advice: Gildas Gaboriau
Music: Olivier Mellano, Mauricio Kagel
Production: Collectif AÏE AÏE AÏE

A cross between Jacques Tati and Black Mirror, under the watchful eye of Alan Turing, Ersatz is a frozen shard from an already present future.’ 

Ersatz is Julien Mellano’s freely fantasised projection of a future man. A potential monster, this man is the absurd result of the alchemy between humans and machines. The solitary specimen in Ersatz seems to be a remnant of a disenchanted future, as he suffers the consequences of a technological revolution that has not entirely regained its footing.

In this non-verbal piece, Mellano manipulates concrete objects to explore virtual reality. Moving between humour and disturbing farce, Mellano invites the audience to be part of a comical and mysterious treasure hunt, where symbols come together to create an allegorical tableau that is strangely reminiscent of 17th century vanitas paintings. Far from being a neatly organised narrative about the future, Ersatz is a journey into the troubled world hidden within ourselves, and it delves into our most deeply buried roots.

Stage director and performer Julien Mellano creates shows where conventions are toppled and narratives are cleverly scrambled. AÏE AÏE AÏE came together around his projects. Since 2007, the collective has been connecting creative minds in France and around the world.

Coproduction: Festival 11, a biennial for puppets and manipulated forms; Scène Nationale Sud Aquitain. AÏE AÏE AïE is supported by the Ministry of Culture – DRAC of Brittany, Regional Council of Brittany, County Council of Ille-et- Vilaine, City Council of Rennes and Rennes Metropole. With the Financial Support of the French Embassy in South Africa and Spectacle Vivant en Bretagne during the National Arts Festival.

This production forms part of the Creativate Digital Arts Festival programme, supported by Standard Bank.

Creativate Digital Arts Festival 2019



  1. mayas 29 June 2019 at 9:14 am

    Incredible show. Mind blowing & inventive. Every moment crafted & meaningful. Excellent!

  2. Siyandanorman112 30 June 2019 at 5:55 pm

    apparently ersatz means like something else but inferior. this play was like nothing you have ever seen before and one of the best we have ever see. Thank you NAF for bringing this exceptional theatre to our festival.

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