The Great Descent

Vertical Tightrope / Performance

A man climbs a monument, high, perilous, unexpected … and goes down a rope.

A man goes up and down a monument, high, perilous, unexpected.
For this performance, the circus act is « reduced » to its greatest simplicity: a descent on the rope that is also a journey from a point called « dangerous » to a point of apparent « safety ». This radical gesture, of great physical intensity, is kind of an infiltration into the landscape without any other form of narrative than the need to find the ground after having defied the heights.


During his research, Fragan has developed a very personal practice of the rope (found in « The Void ») that evacuates the knots in favor of acrobatic figures and balances found by the mere agility of the body on the fixed points formed by his hands along the rope.


The « Great Descent » is an extreme form that poses the intention of a vertical walk inspired by the tightrope walker. By its length, it merges with reality: there is no representation, there is the presentation of an act.


Rope, Fragan Gehlker

Violin and drums, La Volte
Rigging of the rope, Adrien Maheux

Officeology, Roselyne Burger & Anna Tauber


Duration: a performance of about 15 to 20 min
Public: all audiences
Capacity: a public space that can gather 3000 to 20 000 people


Characteristic of the building:

> outdoor place, rope hung on a crane, a bridge, or a very high building, lights depending on the time and place chosen

> a hanging point that supports 500 kg

> a height of about 25 to 35 m

> a dressing room nearby



> 1 rope from 25 to 35 m

> optional lights depending on the context
> a sound system adapted to the space


Set up in the morning for the afternoon or evening


The Great Descent is like an artistic intervention in the public space in the sense that it takes hold of a place in the urban or rural landscape and brings the population to live a special experience following the dizzying progression of the artist .

We imagine it as an intervention announced in the form of a « surprise », so that the performance appears improvised in front of the public. The idea is to propose the Great Descent as part of festivals or exceptional events that gather a large audience.


It can be associated with the presentation of the show The Void – circus attempt or be programmed independently.


Fragan Gehlker has already made this performance twice, in Les Utopistes in Lyon (2013) and in the Festival Scènes de rue in Mulhouse (2014)