Gerda and Kay.
Téqui and Téoù.
Brévalaire and Lénaïque.
Brice and Katia.
A demiurge surrounded by his colourful creatures.
Adolescents hanging out with none other than Antigone.
And so on …
On the French Theatre stage this season, the Other is never far away. We sense it, we bump into it and every now and then we trip over it. We approach hesitantly, engage gleefully, try out a little pas de deux.
Each play in the season is unique: it contains its own universe, its own cast of characters, its own subtleties. No two stories are alike. And yet, by a marvellous coincidence, through some mysterious and inexplicable synchronicity, the notions of meeting, friendship and loyalty shimmer within each one, like an intuitive and luminous pattern woven into the core of the narrative.
There’s always a risk of bringing out the sentimentality or, worse, a kind of political correctness in these well-worn themes, especially in plays for young audiences. And yet sharing a living space, being curious about people’s similarities and differences, searching for fulfilment are so many elements of an essential life skill: knowing how to live together in harmony—with all the compromise, confrontation and inevitable friction that entails. And great happiness, too, of course.
We live in an age when personal connections are deteriorating: they are threatened, insidiously eroded by mistrust and fear, but also by the search for individual happiness at the cost of a sense of community. Now more than ever, willingness to approach the Other—which also means being open to what may at first seem different, unfamiliar or foreign—must be valued, moved into the light, onto our stages and into our lives.
Theatre has the power to fire our imaginations, make the abstract real, and construct narratives. It’s also an ideal place to reframe the world and redefine our relationship to it and to our human community. In a series of dazzling duos, unconventional encounters and dynamic matchups, the artists in our upcoming season offer some possibilities and starting points for ways to understand and shape our lives and our surroundings.
What if we went to the theatre to strengthen our connection to each other and to the world?