Christophe Honoré / Comité Dans Paris
A group photo. One woman, seven men, a little embarrassed because they are not used to posing before the camera. They are all novelists except one: Jérôme Lindon, head of the publishing company Éditions du Minuit, who brought them together on the sidewalk of the Rue Bernard-Palissy. And so one morning in the autumn of 1959 in Paris, the adventure of the Nouveau Roman takes shape, that true but false literary school that challenged the convention of novel writing, favouring experimentation to the detriment of the primacy of the plot and the psychology of the characters.
It was through this photo, from the italian photographer Mario Dondero, that Christophe Honoré wanted to bring to life again, in his own way, these men and women with diverse destinies. In his way, that is without any biopics, any historical reconstitution, but as close to the life and work as possible of these novelists, using the largest number of documents – their books of course, but also their interviews, memoirs and diaries – to sketch portraits, encounters, clashes.
By entrusting the interpretation of these writers mostly to young actors, including Anaïs Demoustier and Ludivine Sagnier, and by having certain male roles played by women, and vice-versa, he means to create a distance that allows him to go the furthest from theatrical fiction. In a present in which the search for new artistic forms remains difficult, Christophe Honoré wishes to give a voice back to those who dared, 53 years ago, to assert loud and clear the desire to “produce something that doesn’t exist yet”.
Famous and always in the eye of the media like Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett and Nathalie Sarraute, not as well known but recognized like Claude Simon, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Michel Butor and Robert Pinget, discreet and self-effacing like Claude Mauriac and Claude Ollier, they will be joined on stage by Françoise Sagan, the best-selling novelist, and Catherine Robbe-Grillet, and will together constitute the figures of the play that Christophe Honoré imagined as a tribute to these tireless inventors.
Jean François Perrier (Festival d’Avignon)
Premiere at the Festival d’Avignon – 2012
Touring – Spring 2019
Text and direction Christophe Honoré
With Brigitte Catillon, Jean-Charles Clichet, Anaïs Demoustier, Julien Honoré, Annie Mercier, Sébastien Pouderoux, Mélodie Richard, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathurin Voltz, Benjamin Wangermée
Scenography Alban Ho Van
Lighting Rémy Chevrin
Video Rémy Chevrin, Christophe Honoré and Baptiste Klein
Costumes Coralie Gauthier for Yohji Yamamoto, Y’s et Limi Feu
Assistant to the direction Sébastien Lévy
Production : CDDB-Théâtre de Lorient CDN, La Colline – théâtre national, Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre national de Toulouse-Midi Pyrénées, Théâtre Liberté-Toulon, Théâtre de Nîmes, Maison des arts de Créteil, Théâtre de l’Archipel-Perpignan, Comédie de Saint-Étienne, Le CENTQUATRE établissement artistique de la Ville de Paris
With the support of Yohji Yamamoto, Y’s et Limi Feu
With the artistic participation of Jeune Théâtre National
With the support of La Chartreuse-Centre national des écritures du spectacle
The set has been built by the Comédie de Saint-Etienne.