French performance artist Morgane Gauvin on hosting a one women show in Dubai: “Being an expat gives you a good heart”

Je Joue Donc Je Suis a One Woman Show by Morgane Chauvin. Courtesy Alliance Francaise Dubai
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Je Joue Donc Je Suis – I Play Therefore I Am – is the lucidly appropriate title of Morgane Gauvin's starkly personal solo show.

The touring French performance artist is in Dubai to present a one-woman drama/dance/comedy spectacle, hosted at Alliance Française Dubai every Wednesday until November 30 – a sort of autobiographical therapy series-come-artistic residency.

Born to an expat family, the 29-year-old spent her early years moving from the Philippines to Malaysia, Singapore to Gabon, and from Lebanon to Dubai. Alone on stage, she dances, sings and laughs about her expat life and wonders: am I the result of a globalised and rootless generation?

Performing in French, Morgane believes that, like a good cheese, a show matures when played several times. Hence, her decision to host eight weekly performances, rather than one.

Tell us about your one woman show, Je Joue Donc Je Suis.

This show was created one year ago in Paris. It is about my life journey, from the little French girl I was to the woman I am today, travelling to different places and trying to understand how the world turns. I am trying to mix comedy and emotions, because this is how I see the world – full of joy and full of sadness, and we are all together all in this.

Why a two-month residency? Will every show be the same?

The Alliance Française gave me a great and wonderful opportunity to present myself in their auditorium for two months, which means that people have time to come and watch the show and the show has time to fully exist in Dubai. The more I play, the happier I am. And I really wanted to be available for the audience, to give them the time to come and find me. Everything goes very fast today, so I wanted to take the time for once. And yes, every show is the same.

How did living in several countries inspire this work?

It is a privilege to travel, even more during your childhood – I mean, it is crazy thinking our origin country is the only country that can make us happy. The world is rich and I am inspired by the best of every different culture I have had the chance to discover. Every day I think about how to be more happy and each day I realise that I need to open my heart and my mind more and more. I think we need to be curious about how other people live their life and how we can be inspired and connected to each other. Dubai is a great city for that, you can speak and meet many different cultures, it is a model of tolerance compare to other countries.

How does the experience of being an expat shape a person? What can all the UAE’s expats learn from the process?

Being an expat opens your mind. It changes your way of thinking, living and seeing other people for the best. It gives you a good heart, because you are not scared, you become tolerant because you can see how big the world is and how small you are compared to all this. You learn how to open your heart and avoid prejudice.

But I would say that if you stay too long in one country you could forget all this, because this country can become your home, and close you to others again. The thing is to always get out of your comfort zone, to not withdraw into yourself and enlarge your heart as much as possible. Because that’s what matters most, right? Being open-hearted, and I think people who travel are like that.

I have the high school French skills of a substandard UK education system. How much of your show will I understand?

You will understand! In addition, I talk loud and I articulate. I dance, I sing, I laugh, I cry... so the words are one thing, but the emotion is another thing, and it has no language barriers ... so I wait for you!

Morgane Gauvin’s one woman show Je Joue Donc Je Suis takes place at the Alliance Française Dubai Auditorium, every Wednesday until November 30, at 8.30pm. Dh80 for adults and Dh40 for children.