The Emigrants

Based on W. G. Sebald

  • Show cancelled
The 2023 archive Show cancelled

Krystian Lupa

Poland - Switzerland / Created in 2023

Can one piece back together a world made of rubble? An adaptation of W.G. Sebald’s work, in which exile redefines the border between men and history...

The Emigrants, shooting photo, Krystian Lupa © Nikodem Marek


Spectators in possession of tickets for 'The Emigrants' will be informed as soon as possible of the arrangements for refunds or exchanges for other shows.

What does a human life weigh? And how to tell its story without betraying its mystery? A man lies down one morning on the train tracks outside a small town in Germany. On the east coast of the United States, another checks himself into the psychiatric asylum where, twenty years earlier, his partner died... And years later, those who knew those ghosts try to drag them back out of oblivion, summoning them through the gaps of their memories. But can we one piece back together a world made of rubble? Three years after Austerlitz, Krystian Lupa returns to the work of German writer W.G. Sebald. In a world in ruins where ghosts stand alongside the living weighed down by remembrance, The Emigrants explores the mechanics of memory and the trauma of uprooting. Through the fate of individuals marked by their experience of exile, we are witness to the dilution of identities and perceive in them the trauma of the 20th century and of the Holocaust. Polish playwright, scenographer, and brilliant director, Krystian Lupa has spent the past forty years creating a "total theatre". Here, he continues his exploration of the borders between the individual and history... in order to reach, maybe, the essence of our humanity.

The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald © Eichborn AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1992 All rights reserved 

Interview with Krystian Lupa


With Pierre Banderet, Monica Budde, Pierre-François Garel, Aurélien Gschwind, Jacques Michel, Mélodie Richard, Laurence Rochaix, Manuel Vallade, Philippe Vuilleumier
Based on the stories 'Paul Bereyter' and 'Ambros Adelwarth' in W. G. Sebald's The Emigrants
Text W. G. Sebald, Krystian Lupa
Adaptation, direction, scenography and lighting Krystian Lupa Translation Agnieszka Zgieb
Music Bogumił Misala
Video Natan Berkowicz
Costumes Piotr Skiba
Painting Noëlle Choquard, Lola Sacier, Eric Vuille
Locksmithing Wondimu Busy
Assistant director and dramaturgy Maksym Teteruk
Set Design Assistant Terence Prout
Lighting Assistant Arnaud Viala
Video assistant Stanisłas Paweł Zieliński
Costume Assistant Karine Dubois
Stage Manager Valérie Oberson and Benjamin Vicq (alternating)
Set Manager Mansour Walter
Lighting Manager Alexandre Bryand and Serge Levi (alternating)
Sound Manager Léo Marussich
Video Manager Charlélie Chauvel
Production director Julie Bordez
Production Manager Gautier Fournier
Distribution Emmanuelle Ossena
Production Assistant Elyse Blanquet


With the participation of the children Giacomo Andreatta, Benjamin Breguet, Emile Brunet, Mathilde Charles, Clair Cimatti Fournier, Pierre Egger, Albert Faurax, Loïc Gonsolin, Julien Graf, Nathan Hertig, Teofil Koutchoumov, Clio Poullou, Adam Rivolta, Tom Rouchaleau-Nuellec and the dog Seppi
Director Krystian Lupa
Director of photography Nikodem Marek
Assistant director Jean-Laurent Chautems
General management Margaret Labbé
Reproduction Guillaume Phan
Sets and props Terence Prout
Sound Masaki Hitsui
Lighting Romain Schaer, Nina Refondini
Machinery Sophie Poncin
Dressing Maria Muscalu, Karine Dubois
Make-up Nathalie Tanner
Catering Martine Bornoz
Reinforcements William Ballerio, Kim Crofts, Jessica De Oliveira, Juliette Mouteau, Valérie Oberson, Frederico Ramos Lopes
Acknowledgements Liliane Boesch, Guillaume Boissenot, Mauro Brunetti, Philippe Chapuis, Jacques Delorme, Greg La Brocante, Ginette Gruaz, Olivier Gürtner, Laurent Laluc, Alessandra Moresco, Charles Pictet, Ariane Poussière, François Schilliger, Hervé Vitry, Nicole Vogt, Marc Weisenberg


Production Comédie de Genève
Coproduction Festival d'Avignon, Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe (Paris), Maillon Théâtre de Strasbourg Scène européenne (in progress)
Construction of sets Workshops of the Comédie de Genève
In partnership with France Médias Monde
The theatrical adaptation rights to W. G. Sebald are represented by The Wylie Agency (UK) Ltd.

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