|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
CONTACT: David Hyry
|February 20, 2014||
THREE OF THE HOTTEST SAN FRANCISCO INDIE THEATERS COLLABORATE ON
A MONTH-LONG CULTURAL EXCHANGE INITIATIVE
Playwrights Foundation, Tides Theatre, and Cutting Ball Theater Present
THE 2ND BIENNIAL DES VOIX / FOUND IN TRANSLATION
A Festival of New French Plays and Cinema
In San Francisco May 1-25, 2014
PLUS: American Playwrights’ Work In Paris May 25, 2014
A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CONSUL GENERAL OF FRANCE IN SAN FRANCISCO
AND MAISON ANTOINE VITEZ, PARIS, FRANCE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA U.S.A. – Playwrights Foundation (PF) [LINK TO: www.playwrightsfoundation.org], Cutting Ball Theater, and Tides Theatre announced that they are spearheading the second biennial international exchange project, Des Voix…Found In Translation [LINK TO: www.desvioxfestival.com] that supports the translation of vanguard French and American playwrights and promotes their work to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. The San Francisco festival will feature new translations of wildly provocative new plays by four of the most innovative playwrights working in France today: Christophe Honoré, Leonore Confino and Riad Gahmi will showcase new play readings; and Samuel Gallet (whose play was translated during the 2012 Des Voix Festival) will receive a U.S. premiere as part of The Cutting Ball’s 15th Anniversary season. All four plays will be performed in English at Tides Theatre during the month-long Festival. Running simultaneously at Tides will be a Festival of new French Cinema featuring NAMES OF SCREEN WRITERS/DIRECTORS.
Festival events are scheduled throughout the month of May 2014 at three venues within the Market Street corridor, the hub of the city’s artistic and cultural action.
The translation project is a collaboration between Playwrights Foundation, a highly regarded new play development organization in San Francisco, The Cutting Ball Theater, regarded as one of the most risk-taking local theater’s, and The Tides Theatre, an innovative newcomer that has quickly made their mark on the SF Theater scene, and the Maison Antoine Vitez (MAV), [LINK TO: www.maisonantoinevitez.fr], an International Centre for Drama Translation in Paris in order to exchange ideas and perspectives of today’s world, and to increase and deepen cultural exchanges between France and the U.S. that began in 2012.
Playwrights Foundation’s Artistic Director Amy Mueller comments on the collaboration: “It takes a village to build a bridge across cultures, and we are thrilled to be working with two of San Francisco’s most globally minded Artistic Directors – Rob Melrose of The Cutting Ball Theater and Jenifer Welch of The Tides Theatre – and one of the foremost translators in the world, Laurent Muhleisen, to build this project that connects the Left Bank with the Left Coast.” Collaborator Rob Melrose, an acclaimed translator and director observes that “These four works are simply extraordinary plays, theatrically brilliant and singular in the ways each story tackles the culture-quake of the 21st century – using a quintessentially French lens to express the universality of the current cultural zeitgeist in the West .”
The Festival will feature The Cutting Ball Theater’s U.S. premiere of Samuel Gallet’s Communique No. 10, a post-apocalyptic future set in the explosive, rebellious world of Paris’ Banlieues, opening May 1, and playing throughout the month. At the heart of the Festival in mid-May will be the Des Voix Festival itself, a non-stop weekend showcasing three brand new translations: Leonore Confino’s newest work Les uns sur les autres, a fast talking, fast sleeping, fast eating, non-sensical family satire driven by an over abundance of electronic devices – the world of a proper family connected to everything but itself; Christophe Honoré’s Un jeune se tue, a disturbing and tragic night-time ghost story about love, death and unearthly beings; and Riad Gahmi’s darkly comedic work Où et quand nous sommes morts, which satirically confronts European xenophobia, anti-Arab racism and media’s sensationalist conjuring of empathy, which results in social division rather than social unity. Running concurrently, every Sunday evening will be a series of new French cinema. Featured films are NAMES OF FILMS AND FILM MAKERS.- quote from Jennifer about the Tides Film Series “In the interest of expanding the scope of the festival, and of deepening the cultural exchange, we are curating a series of contemporary French films that will speak to American audiences.”
The French playwrights will be in residence in San Francisco for the duration of the Festival in May, and will participate in the rehearsal and performance process of their newly translated plays. Translators include Kimberley Jannarone and Erik Butler (Un jeune se tue), Michelle Haner (Les uns sure les autres), and Rob Melrose (Communique & Où et quand nous sommes morts) who also directs his translations. Each of the three new plays will be performed as staged readings during the festival by the Bay Area’s finest actors and directors. The San Francisco Festival will also feature a “Bal Litteraire” a New Play Night Club [Link to their Web Site], an event that is popular throughout France. It is a unique hybrid of flash plays, club dancing and literature, created the week of performance by six writers – three French and three American. For the erudite scholarly theater-goer, the festival will also include a colloquium entitled “The Left Bank Meets The Left Coast: Transmigration of Theater and Culture”
The Paris festival is being produced by the Maison Antoine Vitez, and will be presented May 25, 2014 at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord founded by Peter Brook, and known worldwide as the place to see the most current and interesting new work. The Paris festival will feature translations of exceptionally gifted, early career American playwrights Rajiv Joseph, Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo, Marcus Gardley, every tongue confess (as a radio play) and Liz Duffy Adams, The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It, or, The Train Play performed in French. Commissioned to translate these three works are Dominique Hollier (Gardley), Laurent Muhleisen (Joseph) and Isabelle Famchon (Adams).
The producers are working closely with the Cultural Services of the French Consul General in San Francisco on the presentation of the American festival.
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!
In preparation for the Des Voix Festival, we were able to round up some special production photos of one of our three plays, Out There (A L’Ouest) by Nathalie Fillion. As described by Lauren Gallagher in an article about Des Voix in the San Francisco Examiner, Out There ”exposes a family dealing with multiple divorces thrown into greater crisis by the 2008 recession, and circumstances complicated by a patriarch high on antidepressants and a grandfather with Alzheimer’s”.
Before all three plays, Out There, Communiqué N°10, and Pride, Pursuit, and Decapitation, came to America for the Des Voix Festival they were having full productions in France. Luckily for us, we were able to get our hands on some production photos of the full French production of Out There. Enjoy! (more…)
A short interview with Des Voix playwright Marion Aubert
In the midst of rehearsals and hustle and bustle of the lead up to the Festival, we at Playwrights Foundation sat down with Marion Aubert, playwright of Pride, Pursuit, and Decapitation for a short interview.
What inspires you to write and create your characters?
Everything is liable to become a source of inspiration. A book, a scene in every day life, a memory. The scene of the “fat whore” was inspired both by a dead drunk couple in a train and by a writer-friend’s play… (more…)
How do you want the play to affect the audience?
I hope that audience members will be able to hear the differences in the points of view that drive the play, [to see] that things are many-sided. I would like them to see what is at stake in my theater, more than a denunciation of a global political system… (more…)
by Samuel Gallet
Playwright, Communiqué N°10
I write. On the difficulty of inhabiting this world, of orienting oneself in it, of relating to it, on this general sense of being in a gradually unreal world, on the indifference of some to the lives of others that coexist in the same time, on the unhealthy fear of conflict and violence in an essentially violent society, on the tension between resignation and attempted emancipation. That’s what I am writing about, that’s where I am writing from. From even more than about.The contemporary world is described and lived in my plays like a transition period where one story ends before another hardly begins. The industrial wastelands on the outskirts of cities and other urban ghettos which are often found in my work are more than just a realistic setting to express myself, they are a place of ruin where there is nothing really recognizable or viable, a place where abuse reigns, where one wanders aimlessly – and yet, are the place where everything can still be re-invented, re-named, invoked, a vacuum into which forms can be reborn. A fallow landscape where the old dies and the new remains hypothetical. The beings that inhabit my plays are spinning in circles, and are incapable of escaping, stuck between expectations and this sense of general breakdown. They are characters on the margins, excluded from history, lost in history, having no history, orphans and beggars of an actual historical experience, in the limbo of permanent present are try to find ways of taking over the world, are trying to find a place where they can be. (more…)
What inspires you to write?
Many things … My questions, my angers, my dreams, my doubts. All I that I do not understand, everything that escapes me. The complexity of human beings, their mysteries, their darker sides. The vitality of contradictions within every individual. Also history, the relationship between small and great history. The relationship between the individual and the collective, the inner self and politics – and vice versa. Historical amnesia, lies. …