by François Bon

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2004 archive

Charles Tordjman

France / Created in 2004

Daewoo © DR


This is a story of artistic collaboration, of political friendship, of the common pursuit for a “citizen's theatre”. In 1995, stage director Charles Tordjman invited François Bon to write a play for the Théâtre de la Manufacture (Centre Dramatique National de Nancy Lorraine) of which he was head at the time. The offer was initially turned down, but later became a series of literary contributions from the writer in a region hit by industrial crisis and a decline in the working-class population. Bon has untiringly travelled through this terrain with his writing workshops that began in 1982 with Sortie d'Usine, his first work. From within the theatre, injecting his words with the demands of the stage, François Bon, has been able to find his path to stage writing. His works commissioned and staged by Charles Tordjmann include Fariboles (1998), a renaissance of farce and a festival of language based on Rabelaisan folly, Bruit (2000), memories of the homeless from beyond the tomb, Vie de Myriam C. (1997), and keeping the funereal watch, Quatre Avec La Mort (2002). Charles Tordjman himself, who has directed works by Marguerite Duras, Serge Valetti, Anton Tchekhov and Bernard Noël, also directs a theatre which is strongly committed to its region.

One Saturday evening, four women get together for a bitter party, a sad celebration. They indeed dance, but on the ruins of the working class “as if the anger had passed.” A year earlier, their factory had closed, chucking them out on the street, just like all the others made redundant and alongside whom they had bitterly fought. One of their friends has gone. Others try to find a way out; scouring the small ads, drawing on the strength of their friendships and their memories to try be able hang on. They try to “reposition” themselves, cope with emotional ups and downs, the anguish of being “found out”, the shame of being seen in the supermarket: joblessness has shaken them to their most personal core. Composed for four women as if for a string quartet, this poignant and burlesque incarnation of shattered resistance fighters was inspired by an event that was a tragedy for the Lorraine region – the closure there of the South Korean company, Daewoo's plants. Three factories, each with about a thousand staff – most of them women shut down. Three firms which were symbols of our modern times set up with the support of media hype and government aid, producing symbolic objects – assembling microwave ovens and cathode tubes. Out of this tale of fierce economic pursuit, François Bon has created this partition - a caustic comedy about pension funds and job re-training, a farce about mobility and lay-off schemes, “rooms sound-proofed with bottles of mineral water.” Struggles and hostage-taking, factories set on fire and uncontrollable explosions of laughter. Each woman's voice embodies the true human resources in a world which is being turned into a gigantic and grotesque television set.


stage direction Charles Tordjman
cast : Christine Brücher, Julie Pilod, Samira Sédira, Agnès Sourdillon
scenography : Vincent Tordjman
lighting : Christian Pinaud
music : Vicnet
costumes : Cidalia Da Costa
make-up : Sophie Niesseron
assistant director : Yedwart Ingey


production : Théâtre de la Manufacture, Centre dramatique national Nancy-Lorraine
avec le soutien : de la Communauté d'agglomération du Val de Fensch et de “Beaumarchais” / Sacd
avec l'aide de : l'Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine et du Centre technique de la Ville de Nancy

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