Could you tell us more about your last show Il pourra toujours dire que c’est pour l’amour du prophète ?
Real life is the cornerstone of my work. How to make two realities work together, how to connect people and build stories ? The relationship to storytelling is important. I tell stories that really happened to real people. As far as Il pourra toujours dire que c’est pour l’amour du prophète is concerned, I met people who had to leave their country. Mostly because it echoes back to my own story and because this is what really matters to me. How can someone make the decision to suddenly leave everything behind and go ? All the people I met didn’t leave because of war or repressed revolutions, even though they all come from Middle-East and experienced such things.
The main reason for leaving was that they weren’t allowed to be themselves where they were born. Whether because of political, cultural beliefs or because of life choices or sexual « identity ».
I met about thirty people. I went from Beirut to Athens. They are the gates of Europe, the place where your fate is decided on. I spent a month and a half there and collected travelling stories, love stories, stories of torture, both beautiful and harsh stories.
These stories will be told as oratorios. I’m working with Lucien Gaudion – he composes the score of all my shows. To me, the text represents only 30% of the whole work. Then comes the score highlighting the text. Electro-acoustic music accompanies the words. I wanted to highlight music as I didn’t want the show to be all about words. Fourteen actors perform first-person stories, sometimes two, three or four actors performing at a time on stage.
Some words get lost – this is a very important idea to me, as the stories I collected represent only a small part of millions of other stories. What people told me are slices of lives and I only told a small part of these very slices. So yes, some words do get lost. We work on sound effects, mixing. Every time one voice is highlighted, sometimes it is another, sometimes two stories overlap. The audience constantly needs to pay close attention to choose which story to listen to. People often close their eyes, I really enjoy it. I don’t describe my work as direction as it implies to make the stage invisible. Things do happen though… The smallest movement becomes spectacular.
interview by Natacha Borel
by Gurshad Shaheman
sound design Lucien Gaudion
scenography Mathieu Lorry Dupuy
light design Aline Jobert
dramaturgy Youness Anzanze
search and direction assistant Alexandre Chardaire
choreography and costumes Angèle Micaux
executive production Les Bancs Publics / Festival Les Rencontres à l’échelle