The Daughter of Mars

based on Heinrich von Kleist

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2017 archive

Jean-François Matignon

Avignon - Grenoble / Created in 2017

Penthesilea is reborn after the Trojan War and remembers the bodies that fought in it. There, she fought Achilles: a deflagration of love for which the law of the Amazons had not prepared her.

The Daughter of Mars © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


“So many things stir in the hearts of women that are never meant to see the light of day!”

On the stage, the Amazon Penthesilea appears. She tells a story that took place long ago, the story of the siege of Troy. There she fought Achilles, who died out of love for her, when the goal of the war was only to take prisoners so that children could be born. Penthesilea and Achilles are dead now. It is there, near the bodies of the two lovers, that she comes back from after the disaster to tell its story. She tells of the history of her people from their origins, of the law of the Amazons, of the last words of her mother Otrera, of her meeting Achilles, a blinding encounter on the battlefield, and of the upheaval it caused and how it led her to neglect her duty. Penthesilea remembers the “shockwave,” the bodies struggling in lust, the scorched earth, a vibrant zone of stridency and screeches. Till the end, thanks to the power of words, she will replay this deadly love, under the watchful eye of her confidante and lifelong friend Prothoe. The words of Heinrich von Kleist, translated into French by Julien Gracq, give us to hear the desperate song of a woman torn between the culture that made her who she is and the white hot burn of the first man she ever met.


Text Heinrich von Kleist
Translation Julien Gracq
Artistic collaboration Valérie Paüs
Direction Jean-François Matignon
Dramaturgy Michèle Jung, Valérie Paüs
Stage design Jean-François Matignon, Jean-Baptiste Manessier
Lights Michèle Milivojevic
Video Laurence Barbier
Sound Stéphane Morisse

With Johanna Bonnet, Sophie Mangin, Julie Palmier, Pauline Parigot, Thomas Rousselot, Sophie Vaude


Production Compagnie Fraction
Co-production Festival d'Avignon
Artistic residences La FabricA du Festival d'Avignon, Le Cube - studio théâtre d'Hérisson, La Colline Théâtre national, Théâtre de L'Épée de bois (Paris), Théâtre
With the support of Fijad, Spedidam

Penthésilée by Heinrich von Kleist, translation Julien Gracq, is published by Editions José Corti.

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