Communique n° 10
April 2014 SF ARTS MONTHLY
Written by Jean Shiffman
If “Communique No. 10” presents a bleak panorama of violence and chaos on the outskirts of the big city—where, in Europe, the have-nots live—neither is it exactly futuristic or apocalyptic in a science fiction kind of way. “If we’re imagining it taking place in America,” says Melrose, “it’s got to be a few years from now. What if Occupy Wall Street really became a threat and every young person joined it, and all of a sudden they were burning the streets?” Still, the play is slightly abstracted, and Melrose likes that aspect of it. “It makes me think about where our theater is located, in the middle of the Tenderloin,” he says. “It’s not hard to imagine the kind of urban blight [the characters are] experiencing being somewhere in the Tenderloin.”
“It’s rare to encounter a play that climbs so insidiously into your psyche, whose impact you don’t even reckon until your unconscious alerts you to its presence. Honoré had crafted such a piece…”
– Kimberly Jannarone, Translator – Death of a Young Man
READ THE BLOG!
Translator’s Kimberly Jannarone and Erik Butler on Christophe Honoré’s ‘Un jeune se tue’ – Death of a Young Man
Christophe Honoré’s work has been haunting this translator for years, although I didn’t know it until I woke up in a panicked sweat in an apartment in Paris last Fall, rushing to turn on the lights, trying to shake off the most intensely frightening dream I’d had in years… READ MORE!
Six Playwrights both French and American; Anthony Clarvoe, Léonore Confino, Prince Gomolvilas, Riad Gahmi, Liz Duffy Adams, Jon Bernson and DJ Michael Falsetto-Mapp – will create a new play together in 48 hours, and perform it live with the audience and artists dancing to their favorite tunes between scenes. The six Playwrights cooperatively decide on a set-list of six songs that would make even the dead get up and boogie, and together they develop an interactive story that involves the city of the day, the mood of the moment, or a current event that inspires them.
This season’s “DES VOIX… Bal Littéraire” is on Friday, May 9, 7 PM at The French American International School at150 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
WELCOME TO DES VOIX … A FESTIVAL OF NEW FRENCH PLAYS AND CINEMA
Amy Mueller and Jennifer Welsh
Welcome to the Des Voix Festival … Biennial 2014. We are thrilled to welcome you to our transatlantic multimedia tour – a whirlwind joyride to Paris – all happening within several city blocks of San Francisco. Hold onto your scarves! Revolution is in the air, new ideas are taking root, and the streets are alive with possibilities!
Choosing the 2014 plays from among nearly two dozen sent by our partners, The Maison Antoine Vitez (French translators dedicated solely to dramatic literature), required passionate dialogue, with many questions and numerous points of view. Is Confino’s new tech-inspired language, pop cultural references, and use of French adolescent slang (created by saying words literally backwards) translatable? Will Gahmi’s shocking poetic language and strategic use of racial stereotypes be mitigated by the work’s absurdist humor? Does Honoré’s highly cinematic sensibility and atmospheric brilliance hold the same power in another language? After much debate, our answer to all of these was a resounding YES!
DES VOIX … FOUND IN TRANSLATION Biennial 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: David Hyry (415) 864-3547 email@example.com
AN INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL EXCHANGE INITIATIVE
PLAYWRIGHTS FOUNDATION, TIDES THEATRE & CUTTING BALL THEATER PRESENT
DES VOIX… FOUND IN TRANSLATION Biennial 2014
A Festival of New French Plays and Cinema-San Francisco May 1-25, 2014
NEW TRANSLATIONS OF PROVOCATIVE PLAYS BY CHRISTOPHE HONORÉ, LEONORE CONFINO, RIAD GAHMI AND SAMUEL GALLET May 8-11, 2014
New French Cinema May 4, 18 & 25 2014
A Rare US “Bal Littéraire” On Friday, May 9, 7 PM
With Nathalie Fillion member of La Coopérative d’Ecriture
In Partnership with The Consul General Of France In San Francisco
and Maison Antoine Vitez, Paris, France
American Playwrights’ Work Presented In Paris May 25, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO, CA U.S.A. – Playwrights Foundation (PF) Cutting Ball Theater and Tides Theatre announced the Des Voix…Found In Translation Biennial 2014, a Festival of New French Plays and Cinema in San Francisco May 1-25, 2014. Des Voix…Found In Translation is an international exchange project that initiates the translation of vanguard French and American playwrights, supporting the presentation of their work to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Des Voix…Found In Translation features new play readings-May 8-11 at Tides Theatre and also includes: A Festival of New French Cinema May 4, 17 & 25 featuring some of the most dynamic French screenwriters in this generation, concurrently at Tides Theatre; A rare “Bal Littéraire” A New Play Nightclub on Friday May 9 at 7 PM , Hosted with Nathalie Fillion of La Coopérative d’Ecriture (Cooperative Writing) at The French American International School. Go towww.desvoixfestival.com for the full schedule.
The 2012 Des Voix Festival…Found in Translation is over, and it was a great success. But it’s not totally over. As previously posted, the Des Voix Festival, was recorded and streamed live on #NEWPLAYTV. The Bal Litteraire: New Play Nightclub and the Two Part Des Voix Colloquium were recorded and streamed live.
If you missed the live streaming of either of these events or would like to see them over and over and over and over again, then the good folks at #NEWPLAYTV have archived the video so you may watch it over and over and over again.
All the videos of the Bal and the Colloquium can her found: here
By CHLOE VELTMAN
“Lies like truth”
Writer & Broadcaster
May 27, 2012
There are times when it’s good to go into a cultural happening with a strong sense of what one’s letting oneself in for and there are times when a lack of knowledge provides the best possible ammo.
I had no idea what to expect when I showed up on Friday evening at Z Space Theatre in San Francisco’s Mission district for an event that the French consulate, which hosted the soiree, was calling “Un Bal Litteraire.” I didn’t bother to read much about it. The short description that Ivan Bertoux, the Deputy Cultural Attaché for the French consulate here in San Francisco, gave me a few weeks ago was enough to pique my interest: “It’s a new play nightclub,” Ivan simply said.
I had a ball at The Bal. It was one of the most unusual and gratifying arts experience I’ve had in a while, in fact. Why? Because the entire auditorium — audience and performers alike — danced. A lot.
Never has a night at the theatre been so communal…and so incredibly sweaty.
Here’s how The Bal bounced:
Three French playwrights — Marion Aubert, Nathalie Fillion and Samuel Gallet — arrived in San Francisco earlier this week to take part in a Franco-American drama festival entitled Des Voix: Found in Translation. Productions of their plays are being produced in town this weekend.
The Bal was the kickoff event for the festival. To prepare for the happening, which has been produced several times in Europe in recent years but has never before now been experienced by US audiences, the playwrights participated in what might best be described as a “theatrical hackathon.”
Six dramatists — the three French visitors plus American playwrights Marcus Gardley, Octavio Solis and Liz Duffy Adams — gathered on Wednesday afternoon with a bunch of their favorite songs at their disposal. They came up with a storyline involving San Francisco and a set-list of ten songs that they felt best described the story, and would encourage people to get up off their seats and boogie.
Then, over the next 24 hours, each playwright developed a section of the narrative. They reconvened to read the pieces out loud together. After that meeting, the French writers’ pieces were sent off to a team of (caffeinated!) translators to be turned into English overnight. The translators included Dan Harder, Aubrey Gabel and Ivan Bertoux.
On Friday evening, a crowd of at least a hundred people showed up at Z Space for the Bal. A line of microphones had been set up on an otherwise empty stage. Some audience members sat in the regular seats out front. Others of us sat in chairs to the side of the stage, flanking the mics.
After introductions, the playwrights assembled on stage (as pictured above) and started doing a reading of the new play they’d just created. As soon as the first scene ended, the music started. A few people rushed the stage. With about 30 seconds, most of the audience was up on its feet, shaking around to the pop song that was booming through the theatre’s the sound system.
When we sat down again and the dramatists returned to the microphones to continue with their reading, most of us didn’t bother returning to our seats. We sat on stage.
The dance party occurred throughout the evening because each of the ten scenes in the play was interspersed with a song. The styles ranged from rock to pop to hip-hop and were all equally compelling to move to.* After the closing scene (which saw the protagonist, a young French woman, and her lesbian lover from San Francisco, going happily off together into the sunset) there was yet more dancing. And then we all repaired, breathless and happy, to a very sweaty reception in the Z Space lobby.
Not only was the incorporation of the dancing a wonderfully absurd addition to an evening of play-going and fitted well with the quirky, feelgood comedy being narrated on stage, but it also helped to break up the action and melt traditional barriers that usually separate the performers and audience members. Plus it was simply great to let off some steam.
One doesn’t usually go to the theatre to lose weight. But burning calories is clearly a natural consequence of attending A Bal Litteraire.
*For some reason I’m having trouble recalling the song titles from the evening today. The Cyndi Lauper hit, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was one of the tracks. The rest will hopefully come back to me soon. Or I’ll ask Ivan for the set-list and post that at some point…
by Emily-Jane Cohen
Translator of Out There (along with Michelle Haner)
This week has been intense and amazing. It’s been a treat to be there as Amy (and Nathalie) work with the actors and to continue to learn about Nathalie’s vision of the play and its staging. Last night’s Bal was such a success. It surpassed expectations: the energy of the actors, the public, and all the festival folks was tremendous and it was a joy to be a part of the collaboration by bouncing around on the dance floor. The playwrights really meshed, and not only as writers, but (and I take this to be part of the exceptional status of it all)as performers. I can’t wait to get to the readings!