Albert Camus / Stanislas Nordey
EXCLUSIVE NORTH AMERICAN ENGAGEMENT
War drama by Albert Camus, directed by Stanislas Nordey, with Emmanuelle Béart, Vincent Dissez, Raoul Fernandez, Damien Gabriac, Frédéric Leidgens, Wajdi Mouawad, Véronique Nordey, Laurent Sauvage.
Produced by Théâtre National de Bretagne, Compagnie Nordey, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, and Théâtre National Populaire de Villeurbanne (France).
Presented with the assistance of CulturesFrance.
Can it be that the peaceful beauty of September will be shattered by a wave of terror unleashed on the nation’s capital, dragging in its wake the hideous spectre of the tragic events of Black September 1970? Not a chance. That would be most unlike the National Arts Centre French Theatre!
True to its vision, French Theatre will hoist high the red standard and open its 2010–11 season with a direct appeal to our souls and consciences! Driven by a sense of urgency, artistic director Wajdi Mouawad has enlisted the help of a few JUST souls with the courage of their convictions to join the war against the “kitsch that is eating us,” insidiously and steadily nibbling away at us through self-righteous attitudes and overly conventional, insipid and saccharine clichés.
The National Arts Centre (NAC ) is delighted to present the exclusive North American engagement of Les Justes, by Albert Camus, September 28 to October 2 in the Theatre. This trenchant drama invites us to question, both emotionally and aesthetically, what is acceptable when it comes to political and terrorist activism.
Moscow, February 1905. A tiny revolutionary cell is plotting a terrorist attempt on the life of Grand Duke Sergei. Inspired by actual historical events, Albert Camus (1913–1960; 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of his death) raises one of the big questions of the modern age: In the war against injustice, is political crime justifiable?
This spare and elegant play, where the language and its expression through the actors’ bodies is an end in itself, raises the thorny issue of whether crime and violence can be justified in the name of an idea or a cause, and addresses the risks inherent in the objectification of sacrifice and the abuse of security measures. It’s a welcome lesson in lucidity in a world assailed by fanaticism of every kind! As well, as Camus himself fervently hoped, it opens the possibility “of using theatre to deal the death blow to our illusions and misunderstandings.”
Stanislas Nordey (who directed Incendies and appeared in Ciels) shares Wajdi Mouawad’s passion for new and unconventional adventures. His work reveals the deepest meanings of texts by authors both classic and contemporary, including Camus’ Les Justes which he is directing for the first time, with a truly impressive cast.
Stanislas Nordey is a passionate advocate for socially engaged theatre, and indeed for a genuine civic conscience. In this play he finds a resounding echo of his own fundamental beliefs and the artistic impulse he has followed ever since the episode of the brutal expulsion of several hundred African refugees from the Église Saint-Bernard in Paris in 1996, and his unconventional artistic choices as head of the Théâtre Gérard-Philipe in Saint Denis, France.
September 28 to October 2, 20102010
Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
RUNNING TIME: 2 hours, no intermission
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING
“This intelligent, nuanced play... conveys the pulsing of hearts, of bodies. It’s harsh and acerbic, like the violence that is planned, interrogated, refused, submitted to, inflicted, punished, until finally the only thing left to hope for is death.... Stanislas Nordey, with his unerring talent for theatrical oratorio illuminated by brilliant flashes, torn apart by profound movements, directs his actors like a group of soloists bound together by the moral intensity of the work.”
Armelle Heliot, Le Figaro (Paris)
“The dimensionality of the characters is all intellectual, the embodiment of pure ideas. Stanislas Nordey opts for he form he has been exploring since he first became a director: the theatrical oratorio.... And suddenly Camus’ text reveals a grating irony that resets our expectations and suggests a new approach to the work.”
René Solis, Libération (Paris)
“This amazingly intelligent Les Justes will stay with us for a long time. Step aside, Les mains sales....
Thanks to Stanislas Nordey, Camus finally trumps Sartre.”
Philippe Chevilley, Les Échos (France)
“The protagonists’ ideological debate is captivating, thanks to Stanislas Nordey’s meticulous direction, where every gesture is a palpable manifestation of the high tension holding the group together.... The director subtly implies the characters’ degree of compassion, of violence, of fallibility in the face of their differences with regard to the notions of commitment, murder, justice, responsibility, love and forgiveness; and the text—supported by theatrical staging stripped of all artifice—pulsates and circulates relentlessly among the actors.”
“In a sober, thoughtful performance/ceremony, the chorus of this Justes is embodied by actors who are completely immersed in a script/meditation rendered quasi-poetic by delayed cadences and slowed rhythms.... They are mesmerizing.... Nordey mingles traditions to portray these extremist characters as the cantors of a world on the brink of extinction, sustained by dreams and hopes for the future.”
Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama (France)
NEW FORMAT FOR FRENCH THEATRE’S RENCONTRES DU JEUDI!
Fans of the Rencontres du jeudi, French Theatre’s popular Thursday-evening post-performance talkbacks, will be happy to discover our new format. It’s designed to encourage more focused, more in-depth, and most of all more fruitful exchanges between audiences and artists. Each Rencontre du jeudi will have a specific theme, and details will be posted in advance on our Facebook page (Théâtre français – Wajdi Mouawad) to give you time to prepare for each session and think of any questions you’d like to ask the company and the creative team.
This season’s themes are:
• Thursday, September 30: Must the infernal machine of terrorism and invasive security be stopped?
• Thursday, October 21: What are the essential works of Italian art in all its frolicsome glory?
• Thursday, November 25: What’s the view through a window overlooking the Land of the Rising Sun?
• Thursday, December 9: What rhymes with ”challenging, unconventional theatre”?
• Thursday, February 17: What can we expect on the last night of exile?
• Thursday, March 10: Africa at 50: independent, lively and elegant, or...?
• Thursday, March 31: How do you spell “obsessive-compulsive”?
• Thursday, April 14: [ ? ]
NAC BOX OFFICE
53 Elgin Street, Ottawa
10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Live Rush™ $12
GROUPS OF 10 OR MORE
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613-947-7000, ext. 384
FACEBOOK: Théâtre français –Wajdi Mouawad
(Ms.) Aude Rahmani
Communications Officer, French Theatre
613-947-7000, ext. 396
Cell : 613-558-1322