Nin in the mirror

By Agnès Desarthe

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2022 archive

Élise Vigier

Rennes - Caen / Created in 2022

Actors rehearse a cabaret act centered on the figure of Anaïs Nin. Her ghost eventually answers their call to haunt their words…

Nin in the mirror, Élise Vigier, 2022 © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


The action takes place on a theatre stage where lies a caloge, a hut cobbled together from the wreck of a fisherman’s ship. There actors meet to rehearse. At the heart of their cabaret act: the life and work of Anaïs Nin, the French-Cuban writer and major figure of contemporary literature. A personality they explore together. Who was she? Was she as free and provocative as we have been made to believe? When, all of a sudden and as if called by magic, she appears. In this dreamlike and almost supernatural direction inspired by the writer’s fantastique short stories, the ghost of Anaïs Nin possesses each of the actors and recasts their roles as images of her immortal journey unfold before our eyes. How to say if the action is real or pure imagination? Anaïs Nin and Élise Vigier alike investigate the real through their keen awareness of the relationship between dreams and the very texture of everyday life. Working with writer Agnès Desarthe, the director offers an original text whose principal motif is a eulogy for art, a fulcrum that lets one invent or change one’s own destiny.We’ll find ourselves in the laboratory where experience is turned into fiction, the same way, in our everyday lives, our days are shaped—whether we realise it or not—by our dreams.

A passionate lover, Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) was a novelist, short story writer, and poetess, known as one of the first women to write erotic fiction. She owes her fame to her diaries, a record of her romantic and artistic encounters and a deep reflection of her times.

Born in 1966 in Paris, Agnès Desarthe has written many books for children and teenagers and novels for adults, including Dans la nuit brune (Prix Renaudot des lycéens 2010), Ce cœur changeant (Prix Littéraire du Monde 2015), and, more recently, La chance de leur vie (2018) and L’éternel fiancé (2021). She has translated more than thirty books from English to French, including short story collections by Alice Munro, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.


With Ludmilla Dabo, William Edimo, Nicolas Giret-Famin, Louise Hakim, Dea Liane, Makita Samba, Nanténé Traoré, Élise Vigier
In the film Marc Bertin, Marie Cariès, Hannarick Dabo, Ôma Desarthe, Marcial Di Fonzo Bo, Mia Saldanha (in progress)
And the musician Marc Sens

Text Agnès Desarthe
Direction Élise Vigier
Music Manusound and Marc Sens
Set design Camille Faure and Camille Vallat
Light Bruno Marsol
Video Nicolas Mesdom in collaboration with Romain Tanguy
Costumes Laure Mahéo
Accessories and make up Cécile Kretschmar
Magic effects Philippe Beau in collaboration with Hugues Protat 
Assistant direction Nanténé Traoré

General and set management Camille Faure
Video management Romain Tanguy 
Sound management Manu Léonard
Set management Naoual El Fannane
Dresser Marion Régnier 

À l’image Mia Saldanha, Marc Bertin, Marie Cariès, Ôma Desarthe, Hannarick Dabo (in progress)


Production Les Lucioles (Rennes), La Comédie de Caen Centre dramatique national de Normandie
Executive production Les Lucioles (Rennes)
Co-production Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne Centre dramatique national, Comédie de Colmar CDN Grand Est Alsace, La Passerelle Scène nationale de Saint-Brieuc
With the artistic participation of the Jeune Théâtre National
With the support of the Spedidam, Spectacle vivant en Bretagne
Set construction, costume making Ateliers de la Comédie de Caen Centre dramatique national de Normandie
Residency Comédie de Caen, Centre dramatique national de Normandie, La Chartreuse-CNES de Villeneuve lez Avignon

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