What should you play in the Cour d'honneur when you are invited there? “A great theatre poem”, Stanislas Nordey replied without any hesitation, proposing a new staging of Walk about the Villages, a play he considers among the most essential of the 20th century in Europe. Wanting to communicate, in the enclosure of the Palais des Papes as everywhere else, the theatre he has always defended, that is, the theatre of words as Pasolini defined it, he chose Peter Handke's work, which presented itself to him like a “wave carrying off everything in its wake, sweeping away the world, the family, as well as hope in art”. Based on a meeting between two brothers and a sister when they inherit a family home, the Austrian author sketches another story. That of a return to the homeland, that of a past which, bursting forth, reveals the gap hollowed out between two worlds: the rural world of labourers, of those who remained in their parent's home, that of Hans and Sophie, opposed to the urban world, the elsewhere where their elder brother Gregor went to live. The world of labourers confronted with the world of intellectuals. A partly autobiographical play, acknowledged in the preface by the author, who spells out for the actors: “It's me who's there”, Walk about the Villages very broadly goes beyond the personal to embrace the evils and confusion of our society and to recall, in these tormented times, the urgent necessity of art. Here, the labourers speak like poets and reality is transcended by the power of words, which reigns supreme on stage. Director but also actor, Stanislas Nordey will himself slip into the skin of one of the play's central character, Hans, the labourer. He will carry his words like “an ode to the humiliated and the offended” that it is more important than ever to him to have ring out. To join with him in this artistic adventure, he asked actors who make up a family with him, the one he has created through his various projects: his mother, Véronique Nordey, his brother in the theatre, Laurent Sauvage, and his loyal fellow travellers, Emmanuelle Béart, Moanda Daddy Kamono, Raoul Fernandez and Richard Sammut, as well as two newcomers in his world, Jeanne Balibar and Annie Mercier. United soloists, they will do a theatre that rejects what the philosopher Gilles Deleuze called “the terrorism of the signifier” to communicate, as close as possible to Peter Handke's words, the song of hope of an author who eloquently asserts the power of poetry and, through it, that of the theatre. JFP
“I considered the theatre as it existed a relic of the past. Even Beckett and Brecht didn't have anything to do with me”, Peter Handke wrote in reply to the question: “Why write for the theatre?” That old theatre that arouses in him “a joyous aversion” must therefore give way to a theatre that fits with its time. In 1966, the Austrian author published his first play with the provocative title Offending the Audience, a Sprechstück or “spoken play”, which trusts completely in words and refuses to impose images. He regularly wrote for the stage in the years that followed, then went back to novels (The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, A Sorrow beyond Dreams, The Left-Handed Woman, The Fantasies of Repetition, My Year in the No-Man's-Bay), essays and film scripts, notably with Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders. Walk about the Villages is a partly autobiographical “theatre poem”, staged for the first time in France by Claude Régy in 1982. This text concludes a literary series that begun with Slow Homecoming, The Lesson of Mount Sainte-Victoire and Child Story. The most recent works by Peter Handke published in France, The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez and Still the Storm, were respectively brought to the stage by Luc Bondy and Dimiter Goltscheff.
direction Stanislas Nordey
artistic collaboration Claire ingrid Cottanceau
scenography Emmanuel Clolus
lighting Stéphanie Daniel
music Olivier Mellano
sound Michel Zürcher
direction assistant Anthony Thibault, Yassine Harrada
with Jeanne Balibar, Emmanuelle Béart, Raoul Fernandez, Moanda Daddy Kamono, Olivier Mellano, Annie Mercier, Stanislas Nordey, Véronique Nordey, Richard Sammut, Laurent Sauvage
production Festival d'Avignon - MC2: Grenoble
coproduction Compagnie Stanislas Nordey, La Colline-théâtre national (Paris), Espace Malraux Scène nationale de Chambéry et de la Savoie, Centre dramatique national Orléans/Loiret/Centre, MCB° Bourges, La Filature Scène nationale Mulhouse, Théâtre de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Scène nationale, Le Parvis-Scène nationale Tarbes-Pyrénées
with the support of Région Rhône-Alpes
Through its support, the Adami helps the Festival d'Avignon to get involved in coproductions.