How was born the idea of Notre Parole ?

The breeding-ground for the project is my love for Valère Novarina’s work. I was flabbergasted when I discovered it at the Conservatoire of Grenoble. I was both bewitched and lost for I didn’t know this kind of language. It sometimes feels like a torrent of words. Every time, Novarina’s words deeply move me. Together with the theatrical company L’Oiseau-Mouche I put on a show seven years ago called Sortir du corps. It was a montage of Novarina’s texts I chose for the actors of the company. It took me some time to decide to put on another show inspired by this playwright’s work, for it represents a tremendous challenge every time. I was beating about the bush and couldn’t find an angle. And then, some time ago I read a newspaper article called Notre Parole. It was an article published in Libération in the late 80s in which Novarina talked about how concerned he was about the way the media were taking over the language world, the public space. He showed how oppressive it was becoming… If we lose the strange and « animal » relationship to language, that is the amazement of the first words, the instinctive poetic relationship (in which we reconstruct and play with language),  if this relationship gets destroyed, a part of our humanity is denied. And it is very dangerous… This text, Notre Parole talks about language, it is a highly political text.

I was very surprised by this text. It is a crystal-clear ruthless torrent of thoughts. I was also very moved. When Novarina wrote this text almost thirty years ago, there was no Internet, smartphones or rolling news and in-depth coverage yet… In a way, it was quieter than today… So yes, it is quite moving to see how visionary this poet was, for the threat he broached in Notre Parole has got much worse today. This article is in keeping with the main reason why I do theatre : to find a space allowing freedom of speech.

This article was a reason to enter once again Novarina’s world and put on a new show.

How will the show look like ?

I adapted the text (the article wasn’t intended for the stage) and grouped excerpts from Novarina’s theatrical world : sequences of verbal acrobatics, a fake journal, a dancer monologue broaching the conflictual relationship between body and speech, songs, dancing… In fact, lots of moments when language is challenged like the actors get challenged in their relationship to words. The newspaper article is a common thread and sequences play the role of arguments. It tells without explaining.

There will be three actors on stage – a mysterious and strange narrator or coryphaeus telling the story to the audience, and an actor and an actress who’re being messed around by the narrator in scatterbrained verbal experiences.

With Novarina, everything about words is joyful, crazy, incredible. It is like children learning to speak. We are amused by their discoveries or the importance given to such and such word. This is the kind of primary crazy relationship to language I’m looking for in Novarina’s world.

Another article written by Novarina is wonderful. It is a list of bird names, fictitious ornithological names. 1 111 names he invented. Novarina told me that some of these words accidentally correspond to real bird names. So he had to remove them from the list and replace them. Listening to this list is unbelievable. It’s like rediscovering language. It does sound familiar and yet it’s not. You feel like when you’re in a foreign country, when you listen to people speaking and you try to understand something, a sound, anything… It sounds strange and yet known. Only a great man could write such a list ! I’d really like to give the audience the opportunity to experience Novarina’s word and amazing list.


avec Olav Benestvedt, Céline Milliat Baumgartner et Rodolphe Poulain
scénographie Pierre Nouvel

lumière Eric Da Graca Neves
composition musicale Manuel Peskine
costumes Sophie Hampe
régie générale Eric Da Graca Neves
régie son, vidéo en cours
administration La Magnanerie, Julie Comte, Anne Herrmann, Victor Leclère, Martin Galamez
production Compagnie La Traversée
coproduction Campus décentralisé Amiens-Valenciennes (pôles européens de création le phénix scène nationale Valenciennes, la Maison de la Culture d’Amiens), Ma scène nationale – Pays de Montbéliard, Le Bateau Feu – Scène Nationale de Dunkerque

Cédric Orain est artiste en résidence à Ma scène nationale – Pays de Montbéliard, il est artiste accompagné par le phénix – scène nationale de Valenciennes dans le cadre du Campus du Pôle européen de création
la compagnie la Traversée bénéficie du soutien du ministère de la Culture, Direction régionale des affaires culturelles Hauts-de-France, au titre de l’aide aux compagnies conventionnées elle est soutenue par la Région Hauts-de-France pour ses projets avec le soutien de la Spedidam

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