Feuillets d'Hypnos

by René Char

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  • Show
The 2007 archive

Frédéric Fisbach

Vitry / Avignon / Created in 2007

Feuillets d'Hypnos © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


Frédéric Fisbach was born in 1966. When he left the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique, he worked as an actor with Stanislas Nordey's troupe at the Théâtre Gérard-Philipe in Saint-Denis, and also at the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre. In 1996, he decided to become a stage director. He developed a rapport with the theatre based on certain guidelines and has remained faithful to them: he places research on an equal footing with production, the audience is central to his work as a stage director (involving spectators before and during performances for example), he seeks to add force to his work by using a mixture of artistic practices and forms which are adapted to the texts being presented on stage, and he has always sought styles and techniques outside of France which challenge the Western approach. The new theatre forms which came out of his guiding principles are what have made Frédéric Fisbach's work original in the French theatre scene since his L'Annonce Faite À Marie (The Tidings Brought to Mary) by Paul Claudel in 1996, followed by Vladimir Mayakovsky's Un Avenir Qui Commence Tout De Suite (A Future Present) and August Strindberg's unfinished work, Island of the Dead/The Tomb Keeper.
After being awarded the Villa Medicis Prize Japan in 1999, Frédéric Fisbach began to establish close ties with Japanese theatre which led him to direct actors from Tokyo in Nous, les Héros (Us, The Heros) by Jean-Luc Lagarce. He went on to direct Tokyo Notes by Oriza Hirata in 2000 and a new production of Les Paravents (The Screens) by Jean Genet with puppeteers from the Japanese Yukiza Theatre in 2002. His next production was again with Japanese actors, and again an Oriza Hirata play, Folk of Seoul, in 2005. Along the way, Frédéric Fisbach met choreographer Bernardo Montet, and together they created a “Performance Academy” for a production of Jean Racine's Bérénice where dance, song and music each play a role alongside drama. With stage director Robert Cantarella, Frédéric Fisbach has worked on two projects, one on Molière and the other on Corneille, the latter culminating in L'Illusion Comique (The Comedy of Illusion). For Roland Fichet's Animal some of the rehearsals took place in Cameroon, with the recurrent idea of being open to others.
Frédéric Fisbach has also directed operas, with his usual curiosity leading him to stage contemporary operas – Forever Valley by Gérard Pesson, libretto by Marie Redonnet, in 2000; Kyrielle du Sentiment des Choses by François Sarhan with a libretto by Jacques Roubaud in 2003, Shadowtime by Brian Ferneyhough, libretto by Charles Bernstein in 2004, as well as a baroque opera by Haendel, Aggripina, in 2003. His unusual career path has also led him to head the Studio-théâtre de Vitry (2002 to 2006). Today, he is co-director of “104” with Robert Cantarella, which is a new cultural centre established by the Paris City Hall and open to all forms of art.
In taking up the post of director at “104”, Frédéric Fisbach pursues the predominant issues in his work as stage director, i.e. creating a place which is attentive to the relationship between artists and a general public that is firmly rooted in its social and cultural environment.
At the Avignon Festival, Frédéric Fisbach has already played in Vole Mon Dragon (Fly, My Dragon) by Hervé Guibert in 1994 directed by Stanislas Nordey, and has been present as a stage director with Jean Racine's Bérénice, co-directed by Bernardo Montet, in 2001, L'Illusion Comique by Pierre Corneille in 2004 and Gens de Séoul (Folk of Seoul) by Oriza Hirata in 2006.

To write in the midst of the storm and to collapse. To write in order to stay awake with one's contradictions, doubts, worries and certitudes – this is what the poet René Char (1907 - 1988) did when he was in the French Maquis underground. He joined the Resistance in 1940 and the French Fighting Forces in 1943 as departmental chief in the Lower Alps. He decided not to publish but to recount, to bear witness so that he could remain as close as possible to what is human while facing the most horrible dehumanization. Feuillets d'Hypnos (Leaves of Hypnos) are 237 written moments which Frédéric Fisbach brings to the Pope's Palace Courtyard of Honour. The language is a mix of aphorisms, poetical fragments, experiences and accounts of daily life. Words used to combat uncertainty, to express commitment, love and desire.
The decision to make this text public was not without reason. Frédéric Fisbach's focus goes beyond the historical aspect. It touches different dramaturgical strata which are at work in the text, and uses this approach as a way of observing how they affect the world today. He places the text at the centre of a theatrical and scenographic apparatus which explores the poet's language through what it says about our era.
If these words have the same force today, it is because they carry within them the very essence of our most closely hidden doubts. This because they also ask fundamental questions about our rapport with politics, with social issues, with art, with culture, and indicate exactly where there may be personal commitment: a far cry from conventional formulae which can be dangerously populiste.
As he often does, Frédéric Fisbach describes a space and time which go beyond the walls of the theatre and the performance running time. He prefers to approach theatre as a place for experimentation bringing together spectator and actor. He brings ordinary life to the stage through René Char's immediate and incredibly lively language, and through the nearness of the acting space. The space is conceived as alive and for living in, a space which the public can discover in the daytime. They can come in the morning for breakfast and a workshop with the actors or in late afternoon and meet a guest expert. This is Frédéric Fisbach's way of exploring a type of theatre in movement, lasting longer than just the instant of the show, to look at what reality and performance may have in common. The 237 written fragments of Feuillets d'Hypnos are put before us in this light to reveal, in the language which transports that most particular thing in men and women, the disturbing relations between these two periods of time.


During the day, the public can visit the stage area in the Pope's Palace Courtyard of Honour, guided by the performance crew. Open to all ticket holders for this production. Details in the Festival Spectator's Guide available in July.

mise en scène: Frédéric Fisbach
avec: Wakeu Fogaing, Pulcherie Gadmer, Johanna Korthals Altes, Nicolas Maury, Benoit Résillot, Stéphanie Schwartzbrod, Fred Ulysse
avec la participation :de cent amateurs de la région d'Avignon et de Vitry-sur-Seine
collaboration artistique et scénographie: Laurent P. Berger
lumières: Daniel Lévy
costumes: Olga Karpinsky
régie générale: Gonzag
assistants à la mise en scène: Alexis Fichet, Lucie Nicolas
administration: Christine Chalas, Emmanuelle Favre-Bulle
Feuillets d'Hypnos (1946) in Fureur et mystère Éditions Gallimard


coproduction :Studio-théâtre de Vitry, Festival d'Avignon
avec le soutien: du Théâtre Jean Vilar de Vitry-sur-Seine, du Théâtre de Cavaillon - Scène nationale et de la Région Île-de-France
Le Festival d'Avignon reçoit le soutien: de l'Adami pour la production

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