A young man returns to Berratham, a place he left just before the war, leaving Katja behind. He is obsessed with the idea of keeping the promise he made her to come find her again. But he doesn't recognise the place where he spent his childhood, now little more than ruins, or the people still living there, left to their own devices... With this creation, Angelin Preljocaj returns to the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des papes, for another collaboration with novelist Laurent Mauvignier. Writing the libretto of this choreographic tragedy, he asks fourteen performers, dancers and actors, to be the witnesses of the repercussions of war on consciences. It isn't the first time the choreographer, born in France to Albanian political refugees, marries love to violence in one of his ballets. From Romeo and Juliet to “N” or And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace, his work is haunted by the dark metaphors of history. A theme that artist Adel Abdessemed knows perfectly well, too; his artistic practice, sometimes deemed radical, is a permanent questioning about violence and its cognitive power. For the show, he has come up with a zone able to multiply the dramatic intensity of those places where the men and women of Berratham need nothing more than a glance to survive.
The current director of the Centre chorégraphique national d'Aix-en-Provence, Angelin Preljocaj is a central figure in French dance. After training with Karin Waehner, herself a pupil of German legend Mary Wigman, he went to New York to work with Merce Cunningham, another giant of the discipline. Back in France, he moved to Montpellier to dance for Dominique Bagouet, the great French reformist, and created his first play, Black Market, which was then followed by forty-eight works at the crossroads between contemporary music, visual arts, and literature. The man who once said “I will never be done questioning the body, movement, and human passions,” has created a body of work at once sensual and abstract, always in touch with the world, which is now part of the repertoire of many a prestigious institution (La Scala in Milan, the New York City Ballet, or the Ballet de l'Opéra national in Paris...). In 2012, he calls to mind social violence and the body as a victim with Laurent Mauvignier's What I Call Oblivion, with whom he is again collaborating for this creation in the Cour d'honneur.
A French artist born in 1971 in Constantine, Algeria, Adel Abdessemed studied at the High School of Fine Arts in Batna and Algiers before coming to France to attend the École nationale des Beaux Arts in Lyon. After living in the Cité internationale des arts in Paris, he left for New York for a resience at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center. He now lives and works in London. The author of a protean body of work (sculpture, drawings, photographs, video), Adel Abdessemed uncompromisingly shows the atrocities of our societies and the convulsive movements that go through our modern world.
Born in 1967, Laurent Mauvignier is a graduate of the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts of Tours, his hometown. In 1999, his first novel, Loin d'eux (Far from Them), is published by the Éditions de Minuit, which will remain his publisher throughout his career. In 2011, he publishes What I Call Oblivion, a novel based on a true story, which has already served as the inspiration for a ballet by Angelin Preljocaj. His texts, translated into several languages, reject silence and never forget “the wounded beings who try to resist the flow of History” (Marine Landrot, Télérama). Autour du monde (Around the World) is his latest novel.
Choreography and direction Angelin Preljocaj
Text Laurent Mauvignier
Scenography Adel Abdessemed
Light Cécile Giovansili-Vissière
Sound creation 79D assisté de Didier Muntaner
additional music Georg Friedrich Haendel, Fatima Miranda, Abigail Mead
Costumes Sophie Gehllert
Assistant at the artistic direction Youri Aharon Van den Bosch
Choreology Dany Lévêque
With Virginie Caussin, Laurent Cazanave, Aurélien Charrier, Fabrizio Clemente, Baptiste Coissieu, Margaux Coucharrière, Emma Gustafsson, Caroline Jaubert, Émilie Lalande, Barbara Sarreau, Niels Schneider, Cecilia Torres Morillo, Liam Warren, Nicolas Zemmour
Production Ballet Preljocaj
Coproduction Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Grand Théâtre de Provence,Théâtre des Salins
With the support of Association Beaumarchais-SACD, Adami
The Festival d'Avignon receives support of the BNP Paribas Foundation for the representations of Retour à Berratham