Les Éphémères

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The 2007 archive

Théâtre du Soleil / Ariane Mnouchkine


Les Éphémères © DR


Ariane Mnouchkine formed the Théâtre du Soleil troupe in 1964, and collectively they staged a number of productions including La Cuisine (The Kitchen) in 1967, Le Songe d'une Nuit d'Été (A Midsummer Night's Dream) in 1968 and Les Clowns (The Clowns) in 1969. In 1970, the Théâtre du Soleil settled in the Cartoucherie which has become a legendary venue for the creation of theatre.
Several tens of thousands of spectators watched the performances of 1789, 1793, L'Âge d'Or (The Golden Age) and Méphisto from 1970 to 1980. This period was followed by a return to the source of drama and the important forms of story-telling at the meeting point of arts from the East and from the West. In this period the troupe put on three Shakespeare plays – Richard II, Twelfth Night and Henry IV.
A clearly stated desire to broach the major issues of the contemporary world became evident with L'Histoire Terrible mais Inachevée de Norodom Sihanouk, Roi du Cambodge, (The Terrible but Unfinished Story of Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia) which was the first time writer Hélène Cixous worked with the troupe. The relationship continued with L'Indiade, ou l'Inde de Leurs Rêves (Indiade, or the India of their Dreams). From 1990 to 1992, the Atrides series marked a return to the origins of theatre, and preceded a leap back to contemporary dramatic work about France's tainted blood scandal called La Ville Parjure ou le Réveil des Erinyes (The City of Betrayal or the Awakening of the Furies), an epic fable written by Hélène Cixous. Tartuffe, Et Soudain des Nuits d'Éveil (Sudden Sleepless Nights), Tambours sur la Digue (Drums on the Dyke) et Le Dernier Caravansérail (Odyssées) (The Last Caravanserail - Odysseys). Each one, in their own way, dealt with the major themes of concern in our times – religious fundamentalism, Tibet, the fate of refugees all over the world. Ariane Mnouchkine is also a film-maker and directed a film of 1789 as well as Molière, La Nuit Miraculeuse (Miraculous Night), Tambours sur la Digue et Le Dernier Caravansérail (Odyssées).
At the Avignon Festival, Ariane Mnouchkine presented Les Clowns in 1969, Méphisto in 1979, La Nuit des Rois (Twelfth Night) and Richard II in the Courtyard of Honour in 1982 and 1984 respectively, Henry IV in the Courtyard of Honour in 1984, Tartuffe and La Ville Parjure (The City of Betrayal) in 1995. She was scheduled to present Le Dernier Caravansérail (Odyssées) in 2003, the film of which was screened in the Courtyard of Honour in 2006.

Ariane Mnouchkine and the Théâtre du Soleil, since their beginnings, have only been moved by an “imperious necessity” to share their doubts and questions with the audience by proposing, with each new adventure, a different artistic form which is adapted to their message. For Les Éphémères, we are invited to see morsels of “miniscule lives”, moments of daily life where we can recognize ourselves, moments which have been filtered by memory, moments of joy, or sorrow, emotional moments, moments of hatred, moments of tenderness, all the different moments in a woman's or a man's life.
They parade before us in their simplicity and in their complexity, never sentimental, disturbingly true and immensely intense in their accuracy, while avoiding voyeurism or gratuitous sentimentality.
The actors move around on mobile sets describing, in stylised manner, the interior of an apartment, a garden or a beach. The players are the heroes of a saga about “private life”, an epic of memories. They rapidly become our sisters and brothers in humanity and a bond is woven between them and us, the spectators, who become confidentes to personal confessions exposed by the grace of mastered theatrical art at its most demanding.
Ariane Mnouchkine's film maker's eye can be found in the incredibly flowing movement of the decors, in the continuous movement of the stages from one place to another, enabling us to see at all times, the various possible angles of the scene being played. It is also like animated photography when a curtain opens and the action begins; like a hyper-realist painting in these sets which reconstitute every little detail to place the period in which the tale occurs, all in the space of a few seconds. Above all, it is a great tale of little nothings which sweeps across the bi-frontal seating area which could be just as easily an arena as an amphitheatre in a medical school, in the department of dissection and autopsy. In the midst of the laughter and the tears, Ariane Mnouchkine provides a moment of art: generous and collective art.


épisodes rêvés, invoqués, évoqués, improvisés et mis en scène par: Shaghayegh Beheshti, Duccio Bellugi-Vannuccini, Charles-Henri Bradier, Sébastien Brottet-Michel, Juliana Carneiro da Cunha, Virginie Colemyn, Olivia Corsini, Delphine Cottu, Marie-Louise Crawley, Eve Doe-Bruce, Emmanuel Dorand, Maurice Durozier, Astrid Grant, Émilie Gruat, Dominique Jambert, Jeremy James, Marjolaine Larranaga y Ausin, Virginie Le Coënt, Jean-Jacques Lemêtre, Elena Loukiantchikova-Sel, Vincent Mangado, Alexandre Michel, Ariane Mnouchkine, Serge Nicolaï, Seietsu Onochi, Pauline Poignand, Matthieu Rauchvarger, Francis Ressort, Andreas Simma
et les enfants :Alba Gaïa Kraghede-Bellugi, Galatea Kraghede-Bellugi, Paco Falgas, Iñaki Falgas, Emmie Poinsot, Emma Zinszner, Balthazar Perraud, Rebecca Jodorowsky, Alice Le Coent, Ruben Delgado, Nathan Agranat, Raquele de Miranda, Orane Mounier, Lucien Jaburek, Simon Rousteau, Nina Gregorio
la proposition :Ariane Mnouchkine
la musique :Jean-Jacques Lemêtre
l'espace:Ariane Mnouchkine
mis en œuvre par: Everest Canto de Montserrat
peint par :Elena Antsiferova
les décors:les comédiens sous l'œil attentif de Serge Nicolaï, Duccio Bellugi-Vannuccini, Sébastien Brottet-Michel, Jeremy James, Olivia Corsini, Francis Ressort, Eve Doe-Bruce, Seietsu Onochi, Astrid Grant
l'assistant à la mise en scène :Charles-Henri Bradier
la lumière :Cécile Allegoedt, Cédric Baudic, Nil Tondeur, Elsa Revol
le son :Yann Lemêtre, Judith Marvan Enriquez, Virginie Le Coënt, David Santonja Ruiz
les costumes, tentures et tapisseries :Nathalie Thomas,Marie-Hélène Bouvet, Annie Tran, Chloé Bucas
coiffures et perruques :Jean-Sébastien Merle Barreau
chargée des tournées :Elaine Meric


production :Théâtre du Soleil

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