PREMIERE IN APRIL 2015 AT THE CNSAD IN PARIS, PERFORMED AT LA COLLINE NATIONAL THEATER (2016) AND AT THE THÉÂTRE DE LA CITÉ INTERNATIONALE (2017)
"A child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath. He walks and halts to his song. Lost, he takes shelter, or orients himself with his little song as best he can. The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilizing, calm and stable, centre in the heart of chaos. Perhaps the child skips as he sings, hastens or slows his pace. But the song itself is already a skip: it jumps from chaos to the beginnings of order in chaos and is in danger of breaking apart at any moment. There is always sonority in Ariadne's thread. Or the song of Orpheus."
- Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, A thousand plateaus (trans. by Brian Massumi)
Fifty actors. Thirty-eight languages.
Fifty voices make up the polyphonic and polyglot fresco that is Théâtre. This choral journey through time and space combines song, scores, words and improvisation. One travels through sounds and senses. The present is shared, as well as shattered into shards and sparks of different worlds and scenescapes that are blended or juxtaposed with each other…
The audience is placed at the heart of our staging (in both the literal and the figurative sense) and plunged into darkness. Silence and listening are characters in our piece. The voices resonate and spread out into the prism of spaces.
Fifty actors. Thirty-eight languages. No set. No costume. No lights. No stage… and an infinite number of possibilities.
« Incoherent and disjointed fragments, however with associations, like dreams. Perfectly harmonious poems with perfect words; without logic or coherence, with just a few stanzas that are intelligible. These must be like shards of the most diverse things. True poetry can only have at best a larger allegorical meaning and produce, much like music, an indirect effect.” » Novalis
Concept, staging, musical direction and vocal preparation: Marcus Borja
Artistic collaboration: Tristan Rothhut
Assistant director: Alexandra Cohen (2015) & Raluca Vallois (2016-2017)
Sound designer: Lucas Lelièvre
Portraits: Diego Bresani et Ye Tian
Stage manager: Gabriele Smiriglia
Special thanks to
Théâtre de la Cité Internationale, La Colline Théâtre National, le Centquatre, Paris Sciences et Lettres, doctoral program SACRe, Jean-François Dusigne, Sylvie Deguy, Luis Naon, and all those who have nourished, encouraged and traversed this choral adventure.
With the support of
ARCADI, SPEDIDAM, JEUNE THEATRE NATIONAL ET LE STUDIO THEATRE D’ASNIERES
Isabelle Andrzejewsky, Jérôme Aubert, Roch Amedet Banzouzi, Fernanda Barth, Astrid Bayiha, Constanza Becker, Aurélien Beker, Sonia Belskaya, Marcus Borja, Augustin Bouchacourt, Lucie Brandsma, Sophie Canet, Alexandra Cohen, Antoine Cordier, Etienne Cottereau, Belén Cubilla, Mahshid Dastgheib, Alice Delagrave. Marcia Duarte, Simon Dusigne, Rachelle Flores, Ayana Fuentes Uno, Michèle Frontil, François Gardeil, Haifa Geries, Lucas Gonzalez, Louise Guillaume, Lola Gutierrez, Jean Hostache, Hypo, Magdalena Ioannidi, Miléna Kartowski-Aïach, Matilda Kime, Cyrille Laik, Malek Lamraoui, Francis Lavainne, Feng Liu, Hounhouénou Joël Lokossou, Yuanye Lu, Ada Luana, Esther Marty Kouyaté, Laurence Masliah, Jean-Max Mayer, Pamela Meneses, Romane Meutelet, Tatiana Mironov, Makeda Monnet, Rolando Octavio, Cordis Paldano, Clément Peltier, Wilda Philippe, Ruchi Ranjan, Juliette Riedler, Andrea Romano, Tristan Rothhut, Théo Salemkour, Matheus Schmith, Charles Segard-Noirclère, Romaric Séguin, Peik Sirén, Olivia Skoog, Aurore Soudieux, Tatiana Spivakova, Ye Tian, Kiyomi Tisseyre, Isabelle Toros, Relebohile Tsoinyane, Raluca Vallois, Gabriel Washer, Sophie Zafari, Mira Zaki Bjørnskau, Vahram Zaryan, Ana Maria Zavadinack, Yuriy Zavalnyouk.
* All the actors and actresses who have performed in this show, from the creation (first version) to the last shows at the Théâtre de la Cité internationale, are listed here. The names of those who only performed in the 2015 version are in italics.
A play in Arabic, Armenian, Basque, Bassa, Batak, English, Filipino, Flemish, Fon, French, German, Ancient and Modern Greek, Guadeloupean Creole, Guarani, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kabyle, Kikongo, Latin, Lingala, Mandarin, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Sotho, Spanish, Swedish, Tamul, Ukrainian, Xhosa, Yoruba and Zulu.
© Photo credit: Diego Bresani
”When the lights go down on the stage in Marcus Borja’s Theatre, where 80 audience members sit in a circle, a new world, entirely of sounds, opens up. It is a feeling not unlike that of being lost, or of being blind in an airport terminal where all of the conversations have been rearranged by a symphonist. Behind us, mere centimetres away from the back of my neck, but also hanging from the ceiling, the voices of 50 actors melt into the space in waves, waterfalls, gusts and surges. Juxtaposed or superimposed, with at times cinematographic close-ups or zoom effects, shreds of song and of dialogue emerge in Armenian, Hebrew, Batak, English, Portuguese, Fon or Tamul: 34 languages from all over the world galloping in the darkness. An aberrant sensory experience.Ève BeauvalletLibération, May 2017
”The Greek theatron, originally, is the place where one sees. In choosing to create his show purely with sound, Marcus Borja limits the very definition, forcing the audience and the actors into a much more internal place far from the ordinary or even the extraordinary. The tale has been destroyed, and theatre has been stripped of all its artifice and vanity. Plunged into darkness, both actors and audience slowly learn to trust enough to begin perceiving different frequencies and vibrations. Music accompanies the emotions without forcing them. […] Languages clash and respond to each other. The sounds of this Theatre carried by voices young, old, deep or high allows us to listen to infinite world, beautiful in its diversity and carried by our imagination only.Dany ToubianaThéâtrorama, April 2017
”Thank you for this magnificent nocturnal oratorio, these Greek Elysian Fields. I loved it and was often deeply moved. The mastery with which Marcus Borja sails his ship over a dark and moving Styx is impressive.Eric RufDirector of the Comédie Française
”The young director, Marcus Borja has sat his audience in a circle surrounded by fifty actors who are “voices of the night”. Voices of the world, of different nations, voices that resonate from afar and that are also deeply intimate, “cries and whispers”. Thanks to this nocturnal polyphony, the space becomes plastic: the proximity as well as the distance with the other, come together, alternate, fascinate and worry us. […] In fact this is a darkness that ‘reveals’. Both us and them.Georges Banudramaturge, professor, and theatre researcher
”The international group uses many different languages, not to transmit meaning but to piece together a symphony of words. We perceive not so much humanity’s thoughts, but the sheer beauty of it. The audience discovers the existence of men and women through the material that is the voice, not through logic. A dream.Yoshi OidaActor, writer and director
”The songs that gripped us were far from ‘horizontal’: the deeper voices and the higher ones swirled around us in a whirlwind, from the souls of our feet to the top of our skulls. One comes out delighted and amazed, with one’s hearing fine-tuned.Coline MerloCassandre Hors-Champs, March 2016