Grand Théâtre de Québec, salle Louis-Fréchette
4:00 (with intermission)
In German, English, Hebrew and Arabic, with surtitles in French
Wajdi Mouawad (Paris)
Everything begins in a New-York library. Eitan, a young German Jew college student of Israeli descent, falls in love with Wahida, an American with Palestinian and Muslim origins. She is writing a thesis about the issue of being bound to lost identities. And he, as a researcher in genetics, swears by the DNA and claims that a person’s identity is simple: ‘‘46 chromosomes’’ and nothing more.
Together, they leave for the Middle East. In Jerusalem, bombs and soon secrets come crashing, altering the couple’s trajectory. Coming directly from Berlin, Eitan’s family learn of Wahida’s existence which leads to drama where violent terrorist attacks merge with paternal anger and intimate family matters.
Beings and identities fight one another in their raw true form. Each and every one defend passionately their certainties in their own language – Hebrew, German, Arabic, English. And a surprising and compelling humour is what allows this dense, tense and magnificent play to breathe. A return to the roots and to the energy of Incendies and Le Sang des Promesses cycle; a sumptuous tragedy, by Wajdi Mouawad
Writer and director Wajdi Mouawad
With Daniel Séjourné, Darya Sheizaf, Helene Grass, Jalal Altawil, Jérémie Galiana, Judith Rosmair, Leora Rivlin, Rafael Tabor, Raphael Weinstock, Souheila Yacoub, Victor de Oliveira
Assistant to the director Valérie Nègre
Dramaturgy Charlotte Farcet
Artistic advisor François Ismert
Historical advisor Natalie Zemon Davis
Original music Eleni Karaindrou
Scenography Emmanuel Clolus
Lights Éric Champoux
Sound Michel Maurer
Costumes Emmanuelle Thomas assisted by Isabelle FLosi
Make-up, hairdressing Cécile Kretschmar
Hebrew translation Eli Bijaoui
English translation Linda Gaboriau
German translation Uli Menke
Arabic translation Jalalal Altawil
Production La Colline – théâtre national
Wajdi Mouawad, author, director, visual artist and actor, was born in 1968. He spent his childhood in Lebanon, his adolescence in France and more than twenty years in Quebec before settling in France. With his first company, Théâtre Ô Parleur, and then with the following companies, Abé Carré Cé Carré in Quebec and Au Carré de l’Hypoténuse in France, he wrote his own texts, published by Leméac/Actes Sud-Papiers, and notably wrote the novels Visage retrouvé and Anima. In 2000, he became artistic director of Théâtre de Quat’Sous in Montreal for four seasons and then of the French Theatre of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. In 2009, he was an associate artist at the Avignon Festival, where he presented Le Sang des Promesses (Littoral, Incendies, Forêts, Ciels). He was appointed director of La Colline – Théâtre national in 2016. At the invitation of the Opéra de Lyon and the Canadian Opera Company, he directed Mozart’s L’Enlèvement au sérail the same year. Distinguished by numerous recognitions, including the SACD Prix de la Francophonie for his work, he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre National des Arts et Lettres and then Artiste de la paix, and received the Doctorat Honoris Causa from the École Normale Supérieure and the Grand Prix du théâtre from the Académie française. At the NPT, he presented Seuls et Sœurs last season, the first chapters of his new cycle called «Domestics», which will be completed by the creations of Frères, Père and Mère.
The legend of the amphibious bird by Wadji Mouawad
A young bird takes off for the first time over a lake. Seeing the fish underwater, he was taken by an immense curiosity towards these sublime animals, so different from him. As he dived to join them, the cloud of birds, his tribe, immediately caught up with him and warned him: “Never go to these creatures. They are not of our world, we are not of theirs. If you go into their world, you will die; just as they will die if they choose to come to us. Our world will kill them and their world will kill you. We’re not meant to meet.” As the years passed, he was deeply melancholic, observing these fish without being able to reach them. On a sublime day when he went to the lake to admire them, a vertigo seized him: “I cannot live my life like this all my life, in the lack of what I am passionate about. I’d rather die than live the life I lead. “And he dived. But his love for what is different is so great that the very moment he crosses the surface of the water, gills grow and allow him to breathe. In the midst of the fish, he said to them: “It’s me, I’m one of yours, I’m the amphibious bird. “The Persian legend of the amphibious bird made me dream when I was told it as a child. This story of mutation upsets me today in what it tells about our time, our world and our relationship to the Other, to the enemy, so to speak.