Compagnie LE PHALENE

Contemporary magic has been undergoing something of a boom in France over the past few years. Thierry Collet is one of the foremost mentalists on the subsidized theatre circuit. His solid reputation in France’s various national and regional theatres has been built up due to an average of around 150 performances annually.

For Thierry, magic tricks are not an end in themselves but an instrument of an author’s intentions. These shows, which are both joyous and disturbing at the same time, question our freedom of thinking, and look into our need to believe. They question what happens when we consent to things and the way we submit to authority. “I don’t do magic to make people fall asleep, but rather to wake them up.” says Thierry Collet.


A small-scale magic and theatre show based on mind manipulation, created by Thierry Collet and Michel Cerda

Performed by Thierry Collet

The 12cm nail really is going into the person's nose. True/False (Delete as appropriate) 

How is it that we all look in the same direction How is it that we all dream about the same things? How is it that we manage to see something that does not exist? Can we live in a society, or be part of a group without all thinking the same way?

True/False is a show that uses mind magic in an interactive and theatrical way. The show kicks off in a way similar to a scientific conference. The ensuing optical illusions amuse and intrigue the audience, and bring illusion into the realm of cognitive psychology. However, the psychological experiments and magic effects rapidly take on a more worrying, disturbing tone. The mentalist starts to guess words chosen in secret by members of the audience, reveals their memories and innermost thoughts, and predicts their choices in advance. In this way, the show brings into question what conditions us in the making of our choices and forming of our opinions and beliefs. As the show comes to a close, questions addressed to the audience in a humorous way then show that if the audience as a whole has experienced the show in a similar way, each spectator has his or her own radically different perception and interpretation of it. Who is right ?

Somebody who can feel the touch of a feather, without it touching her, is mad. True/False (delete as appropriate)

Mentalism or the art of power.

Magic is about the seizing of power and exercising of authority. The magician exerts an influence on audience members and submits their judgement according to his or her own rules. What makes mentalism so fascinating is that it reveals much about our eternal need to believe, and the blurred boundaries between knowledge and belief. Similar to political or religious propaganda, or marketing, the magician uses language in order to create a system of beliefs. In True/False, the art of the magic effects is to enable us to question our critical faculties and sense of free will in a playful manner... waking us up rather than sending us off to sleep.

Click here to download presentation pack of the show


Thierry Collet, creator and performer

After training in sleight of hand techniques with various masters,
Thierry Collet took a detour via university and the faculty of psychology before turning to theatre and gaining a place at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique in Paris. He took an interest in the notions of character, situation and narration and began to give new meaning to his work as a magician. From then onwards, he began, via his own shows, but also through teaching and advisory work, to renew the codes, aesthetics and dramaturgy of magic as an art form in order to render it more in touch with today’s human, social and political issues. In other words, a contemporary form of magic. As an actor he has been directed by Eric Vigner, Lisa Wurmser, Eugène Durif, Jean Lacornerie and Roland Auzet. As creator and performer, his first four shows were very narrative (L’Enchanteur in 1995, La Baraque des prodiges in 1998, Maître Zacharius in 2000, and L’Ombre in 2004). He then initiated a new cycle of work with Même si c’est faux, c’est vrai (2007). In this new cycle, the magic effects were no longer directly linked to a text but given the space to resonate freely and intuitively around the question of the fragility of the ways in which we perceive what is real. TRUE/FALSE (Delete as appropriate) and Influences in 2009 delved deeper into these more psychological and political themes by looking at the question of mind manipulation. From now on, a form of magic that dealt with what is real was the way forward. Thus, Qui-Vive (2012) and Je clique donc je suis (2014) looked into the techniques used for obtaining and using our personal data. Thierry frequently works in an advisory capacity on magic effects in stage shows, and also directs workshops for actors and circus performers, in particular at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique.

Michel Cerda, creator

For the last twenty years, Michel has been fully committed to artistic practice of a wide-ranging nature, an activity which he relishes. His work in directing pieces of contemporary theatre goes hand in hand with his role in accompanying the work of other artists (circus performers, singers, dancers, and magicians) and passing on of knowledge in dramaturgy. As a director, his sense of play is never far away, both in relation to himself and those around him. His sees his link to the stage and the creation of contemporary works as a fundamental part of what he does. His 2015 projects in term of artistic collaboration include : Compagnie A, spectacle Made in China (Pékin-Angers-Charleville Mézières), Julia Christ with her show le Coin de l’âme (Cie W/ Jean-Baptiste André), Compagnie La Boca Abierta, with the show «Une aventure», and revival of Compost, Compagnie le Vardaman and Regards et Mouvements / Hostellerie de Pontempeyrat’ coproduction, with Miguel Pereira et Odile Darbelley, which had been first product in 2013 by le Théâtre des Bernardines.


Age : from 12 years upwards. This is not a children’s show.

Running time : 1h

Seating capacity : 50 people on chairs. Possibility to increase with our technical agreement only.

Installation : 2h are needed to settle magic effects in the place before starting the show.

Technical contact : Patrick Muzard // +33(0)6 85 07 29 34 //


Le Dauphiné Libéré, Thursday, May, 3rd, 2012


Yesterday, Rémy Berthier, a magician with the Le Phalène company, performed a magic show entitled “True or false, delete as appropriate”. The show took place inside the Champeret Art center .During the hour-long show, the mentalist magician engaged the audience’s attention with the help of art of lying techniques and mind manipulation.

Playing on our senses

The show kicked off with a series of very effective optical illusions. He then continued with other experiments, in particular games using colour, bringing into play the way we perceive things, either through sight or touch. With the aid of audience participation, the magician forced us to look again at the trust we put in our senses and to question the role of our imagination. As the show came to a close, a discussion about mentalism started up between the magician and the audience. In conclusion, the drive of the show is, as Thierry Collet, director of the La Phalène company says, to determine “whether seeing is believing, or whether it is the other way round: believing is seeing”.

Compagnie Le Phalène does perform other magic and theatre shows, which are actually proposed in French. Discover them on our website :

Please find below what press says about these !


Le Figaro, 11 April 2011 : "From telepathy, medicine, and cheap gags to tours de force, Collet, in the role of a social behavior psychologist, blends these various elements together with extraordinary ease, scrambling all our usual points of reference."( on INFLUENCES )

Télérama, 16 April 2011 : "With his keen interest in cognitive psychology, and expert knowledge of statistics, Thierry Collet endeavors to reveal to us hidden agendas of various kinds, and in doing so to make us more aware of commercial or political manipulation. His performance is thoroughly unsettling, and throws a whole new light on segment charming... " ( on INFLUENCES)

Libération, 23 April 2013 : "By virtue of Thierry Collet’s virtuoso performance, the show’s willfully humorous and affable aim continually shifts. He is a true master of deception" (on QUI-VIVE)

Le Télégramme, 18 October 2014 : "With his mastery of magic tricks and manipulation, of which only he holds the key, Thierry Collet prompts us to leave our habitual points of reference behind, and to cast doubts on everything we thought we knew. He does this in order to make us think about the dangers of artificial intelligence, particularly when individual liberty is put in jeopardy or when it is driven by profit alone. " (on JE CLIQUE donc JE SUIS)

Le Figaro, 11 March 2014 : "During this hour-long show, Collet and his cohorts put our different senses to the test, and turn common sense on its head. Little by little, the wonder element sets in, and we are soon under the spell. Words and graceful gestures become our only guide. The art of lying has never been so beautiful." (on QUI-VIVE)

Télérama, 27 November 2012 : "The aim of this show is very smart indeed, and is also highly relevant to today’s world. The frequent bouts of audience participation also make it very funny. Outstanding.” (on QUI-VIVE)


True/False (Delete as appropriate)

Devised by Michel Cerda and Thierry Collet

Magic effects created and performed by Thierry Collet

Executive Producer : Le Phalène Commissioned by Arc-en-ciel/Théâtre de Rungis and Forum/Scène Conventionnée de Blanc-Mesnil. A coproduction by Le Vardaman company as part of Michel Cerda’s residency at Forum/Scène Conventionnée de Blanc-Mesnil Le Phalène is a company which receives support from the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles d’Île-de-France / Ministry of Culture and Communication. Le Théâtre des Bergeries, at Noisy-le-Sec, welcomes the compagny in residency with the Seine-Saint-Denis District Council support. Le Phalène is in partnership with Théâtre Firmin Gémier/ La Piscine at Châtenay-Malabry Thierry Collet has been Associate artiste at the Comète theatre, Scène Nationale de Châlons-en-Champagne since September 2014.

Photo credits : Nathaniel Baruch

Translation of presentation pack : Jonathan Waite

Presentation Pack : Baptiste Lequiniou


Compagnie Le Phalène / Thierry Collet

2 Henri CHEVREAU street - 75020 Paris - FRANCE

Tel : +33(0)

Company Administrator : Britt Harnisch /

Production Coordinator : Antoine Derlon /