Comedy, magical show, objects theater, automaton


Writer-performer: Jonas Thomas
Script and direction: Marion Nguyen Thé and Jean-Noël Masson
Music and sound design: Gabriel Westphal
Automaton animation: Gabriel Westphal
Lighting design: Pierre Berneron
Illusion design: Philippe Carles et Jonas Thomas
Prop creation: William Brossard (Artimachines) and Jonas Thomas
Set design: Sophie Arlotto (Le hangar « O » Gorilles) and Jonas Thomas
Production supervisor: Caroline Constantin


Voice / sound effects : Marion Nguyen Thé and Jean-Noël Masson
Singing : Lily Westphal and Mariette Westphal
Guitar : Antoine Laudière
Upright bass, bass, guitar, mandolin : Arthur Henn
Composition, arrangements, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, percussions, singing, sound effects, additional instruments : Gabriel Westphal


As a self-taught juggler and diabolist hailing from the Lozère in France, Jonas Thomas founded the Compagnie du Grand Hôtel in 2004, and went on to create several shows and routines with them. He builds his own world, drawing inspiration from real life, hunting down the building blocks in thrift shops and recycling centres. He has always had a passion for do-it-yourself, trying out new ideas, new mechanisms with ever-more sophisticated technology, relying as much on simple mechanics as on electronics, programming and 3D printing. Little by little, he has created the persona of a magician, an inventor, one who uses his stage machinery to bring a burlesque feel to his creations.


Atelier 2000 is a solo performance, put on by the Grand Hôtel company. Jonas, playing himself, is called in for his first day of work in the 2000 workshop at a company called Brainlinks. Too much of a dreamer, his character is clearly not cut out for this mechanized world in which everything is spelled out for him, down to the letter. Despite his best intentions, Jonas ends up throwing the huge machine that surrounds him into disarray. The machine malfunctions to the point of taking on a life of its own, leading the spectator into an imaginary world that is both burlesque and poetic.



“The burlesque nature of the character up against an austere, mechanized world pushed me to look for the same ambivalence in the soundscape. Between sporadic audio sources and automated effects, the soundtrack, working as a thread running through the performance, underpins the character and leads the audience into a cold, mechanized atmosphere.
Four notes played on a toy piano in the opening moments serve as the leitmotif for the entire musical soundscape written for the show. This music emphasizes the intention of placing the character out of sync with the world around him.
The meeting of these two worlds, one austere and mechanized, the other poetic and melodic draws its inspiration from the soundtracks of films that Jacques Tati ou Terry Gilliam might have imagined, melodic, noise-driven, mechanized but equally quite comforting.”


“In parallel, a major part of the task for Jonas and myself consisted in designing the complex architecture of these automatons that he had built and giving them a role within the performance. Electronics, 3D printing, programming and creative tinkering all help to repurpose objects retrieved from thrift shops and recycling centres and give them a new lease of life. Just like a puppet master, I animated all of Jonas’ inventions and programmed them to run independently.
This automated universe comes to life in spite of itself throughout the performance, from a simple door opening on its own to an orchestra of appliances coming alive. All through the story, the spectator and the performer share in the surprise of discovering these one-of-a-kind machines.”