The Ice Hole - A cardboard Comedy



Length: 1H20Min





Starring —

Olivier Martin-Salvan

in rotation with Jonathan Pinto-Rocha and Pierre Bénézit

Starring —

Pierre Guillois

in rotation with Grégoire Lagrange and Baptiste Chabauty


An imposing Shakespearian actor tells (in incomprehensible English, even to an inhabitant of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564) of one man’s (his ancestor, perhaps?) incredible centuries-long journey through Europe; a man who, by the banks of a fjord in the remote Faroe Islands (in a particular year which has probably long since been forgotten) is cursed by a mermaid he’d absent-mindedly caught in frozen (yet salty) waters under the paradoxically wonderful auspices of the Northern Lights, which were bejewelled, at that very moment, by a late flight of cranes on their way to Africa.

That’s how the story begins. The man then crosses land and sea, making one journey after another, perhaps becoming a king (but more likely a beggar), and probably being hanged, drawn and quartered or subjected to the Catherine Wheel in some barbaric land; or maybe he becomes a confectioner in a country with a steaming-hot climate; unless, in the end, he simply comes home to die an easy (yet anticlimactic) death one fine spring evening, amid the buzz of midges and horseflies, welcomed by his old mother (who’s almost more heroic than him), and, as he’s not really had the time to do so until now, ponders the meaning of life.

The actor (of undeniably large proportions) is accompanied by a flunky (a stage manager or supporting actor) whose competence is certainly questionable and who is as puny as his companion is portly; who strives (half naked, poor man) for more than one hour, with the help of hastily-scribbled cardboard signs and other boxes (all cardboard and of varying quality), to help us understand the meaning of this journey, which no-one would describe as a maiden voyage, but whose symbolism has been so well-digested over the years that all that remains of this long circumnavigation is the impression of a pointless search for happiness that this over-satisfied gentleman was clearly never going to attain.

Press review

The show in picture


Technical direction
Colin Plancher

Cardboard design
Charlotte Rodière

Prop master
Emilie Poitaux

Sound designer
Loïc Le Cadre

Costume adviser
Coco Petitpierre

Tour assistant
Thylda Barès 

Production management
Colin Plancher in rotation with Jérôme Pérez, Cyril Chardonnet and Coline Senée

Stage management
Emilie Poitaux in rotation with Elvire Tapie and Lorraine Kerlo Aurégan


Production Attachée
Christelle Fleury

Séverine André Liebaut
Séverine Diffusion

Sophie Perret

Administrative assistant
Fanny Landemaine

Production assistants
Margaux du Pontavice and Louise Devinck

Anne-Catherine Minssen, ACFM les Composantes

Compagnie le Fils du Grand Réseau


Compagnie Le Fils du Grand Réseau

Files to download

The project

After 14 years of friendship, Olivier Martin-Salvan and Pierre Guillois dreamed of doing a two-man show. The pair — who are not exactly clowns and draw inspiration from Anglo-Saxon slapstick — wanted the project to help them reach larger and more diverse audiences.

During their first rehearsal, they began writing with thick black markers on cardboard boxes found in a corner, imagining the props and sets for a story whose infinite possibilities suddenly blossomed, thanks to this time-tested creative process.

Drawing on their experience of prop management from Fish Bowl and the poetry they perceive in this aspect of the theatre, Olivier and Pierre gradually developed the absurd journey of a man who, without ever moving, crosses Europe and will probably make it around the world with the help of his companion. This sidekick, though puny, manages to produce, behind the traveller’s back, images of the landscapes, people and objects he encounters along the way.

The nerve centre of this show is the contrast between the immobile traveller — played by Martin-Salvan, a virtuoso of invented language — and the bumbling, fumbling prop man, played by a hyperactive Guillois whose desperate efforts save the day.