Le Cas de Sophie K.

by Jean-François Peyret et Luc Steels

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2005 archive

Jean-François Peyret

France / Created in 2005

Le Cas de Sophie K. © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


After having worked ten years (1984-1994) with Jean Jourdheuil and producing about fifteen plays written by Montaigne, Lucretia, Shakespeare and especially Heiner Müller whom they introduced to the French public, Jean-François Peyret founded Compagnie tf2. A university lecturer, translator, writer and director, Peyret took off on an unusual adventure of offering contemporary theatre that is open to the most recent philosophies and scientific knowledge. In the seven episodes of "Le Traité des Passions", the three episodes of "Le Traité des Formes", and with the aid of leading scientists, he questions the "here and now", tries to understand new technologies, to find a link between theatrical imagination and scientific imagination. He calls on the audience to join in some theatrical dreaming, like in the philosophy salons of the 18th Century, a cross-disciplinary, poetic dream-time that breaks down barriers between ways that are mistakenly considered as being contradictory. Jean-François Peyret does not want to put knowledge on stage, he just wants to exchange ideas, his is not a didactic form of theatre, but it asks questions, is curious, has suggestions to share, it is living theatre that uses all its arms and all its conventions. At the Avignon Festival, Jean-François Peyret has previously presented Le Retable des Merveilles et Autres Pièces by Cervantes (co-directed with Jean Jourdheuil) in 1983 and Le Cas de Müller I,II and III in 1991.

Jean-François Peyret, with insatiable curiosity and contagious enthusiasm, has for several years led a concomitant exploration of artistic and scientific imagination to give his audience works of delightful vitality. Wending his way with philosphers or scientists he meets en route, together they traverse mathematical thought and cloning, Darwinism and artificial intelligence, genetic manipulation, composing theatrical works as they go. They summon science onto the stage and leave it to the imagination of the actors, the scenographer and the musician, confronting it with theatrical conventions to which Jean-François Peyret remains profoundly attached. This time he constructs his poetical dreams around the exceptional personality of Sophie Kovalevskaiya. This Russian woman was born in 1850 and is fascinating because of the range of her interests. A mathematician interested in the spinning-top, an auto-biographical novelist, a committed feminist during the Commune de Paris, a critic and playwright, she travelled through 19th Century Europe and appeared where one least expected her, following her whims and refusing the place that was reserved for women in society. Taking literally Jean-paul Sartre's idea the "one enters death as one would enter a mill", Jean-François Peyret seeks to go around inside this heroine's brain and her different imaginings, accompanied by Luc Steels, a specialist in artificial intelligence. Far from being a biographical drama, the actors do not play Sophie K., instead they express her words and examine theatre to find out what it can make out of such an extraordinary character. Perhaps only the stage can present a voyage such as this into romantics, science and politics through the life and the imagination of a fascinating being, to bring together practices that some would prefer kept separate in order to use them and manipulate them by creating increasingly insurmountable barriers between them. Jean-François Peyret's invitation to share his curiosity is also an invitation for us to reapproriate the world which is being fabricated under our own eyes.


Stage direction : Jean-François Peyret
Cast : Olga Kokorina, Elina Löwensohn, Alexandros Markeas, Nathalie Richard, Graham F. Valentine
Dramaturg : Marion Stoufflet
Scenography : Nicky Rieti
Music : Alexandros Markeas
Lighting : Bruno Goubert
Costumes : Cissou Winling
Web : Agnès de Cayeux
Producer : Claire Béjanin


En compagnie : de l'Adami
Production : tf2 Compagnie Jean-François Peyret
En coproduction avec : le Centre national des Ecritures du spectacle - La Chartreuse de Villeneuve lez Avignon, le Festival d'Avignon, le Théâtre national de Chaillot
Avec le soutien : de la Direction générale de la Recherche de la Commission européenne, de la Région Île-de-France, d'Ars Numerica et de la Muse en Circuit
Avec la participation artistique : du Jeune Théâtre National
Avec l'aide : de l'ENST et de l'université de VUB AI Lab

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