Public encounter: final report of the 64th edition
64th Festival d'Avignon
7-27 July 2010
We have conceived this 64th Festival together with director Christoph Marthaler and writer Olivier Cadiot, our two associate artists. In the course of our many conversations, we have encountered two creative minds fully immersed in today's reality, two "anthropologist artists" of our daily lives. Their literary and theatrical writings, imbued with musicality, closely scrutinise the man of today. They live in the present and it's the present they give us to see, mixing high brow and popular culture with unexpected traces of the past unearthed from their imaginary archaeological digs.
Both have entered the world of theatre through a dialogue with other artists. The stage designer Anna Viebrock creates spaces for Christoph Marthaler to inhabit with his troupe of actors and singers. Olivier Cadiot's writings are brought to life on stage by director Ludovic Lagarde and his actors, including Laurent Poitrenaux.
Built in the 14th century as a symbol of religious and political power, the Popes palace, its architecture and its History will be the starting point for Papperlapapp, Christoph Marthaler's new musical and theatrical piece. It will also be the setting for the tragic fate of Richard II who, at the end of this same 14th century, surrendered to his human fragility when confronted to the demands of exercising power. This Shakespeare tragedy was the first ever presented at the Festival d'Avignon in 1947; this year it will be given in a new translation, starring Denis Podalydès in the title role. Olivier Cadiot's novel, A Nest What For, which will be adapted for the stage, also questions the figure of the king, experiencing this time a very contemporary exile.
We have travelled, from Basel to Vienna, through Mitteleuropa whose literature, upset by the madness of war at the turn of the 20th century, will also be present on our stages with The Man without qualities by Musil, Kafka's The Trial, Brecht's Baal and, as a more recent reminder, Ionesco's Frenzy for Two or More.
With the presence of Angélica Liddell, Julie Andrée T., Jean Lambert-wild, Christophe Huysman, Faustin Linyekula, Massimo Furlan and Falk Richter, we will prominently feature contemporary authors writing for the stage today. Words, bodies, sometimes music, shape the languages these artists use, exploring forms of expression between theatre and performance. They recount our times through their pain, their anger or their tenderness.
Our behaviours, our stories, luminous or dark, will be examined in the shows of Philippe Quesne, Gisèle Vienne, Stanislas Nordey, Zimmermann & de Perrot and the GdRA, all of them questioning on stage the fragility of our human condition. As will, in a more abstract way, the choreographed performances of Alain Platel, Cindy Van Acker, Anouk van Dijk, Josef Nadj, Boris Charmatz, Pierre Rigal, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, the latter drawing inspiration from the ars subtilior music, invented in Avignon at the court of the Popes.
Music will be present throughout the Festival, notably with concerts by Pascal Dusapin and Rodolphe Burger, who will moreover orchestrate a large-scale ball for the 14th of July by the Pont d'Avignon. Contemporary literature will also be heard on many stages as well as in a series of readings.
The Festival will be cadenced by ten rendez-vous of The 25th Hour, offbeat lecture-shows and surprising projects brought about by actors otherwise present at the Festival, and by the eight pieces created for the Sujets à Vif, all of them from commissions based on an artistic encounter.
To share or deepen your experience as an audience, we invite you to the École d'Art for daily encounters with the artists and to the Gymnase Saint-Joseph to hear philosophers debate at the The Theatre of Ideas.
These collective experiences give us tools to better comprehend our present times of social and economic crisis. This "being together" uniting artists and audiences, essential for the theatre to happen, helps us resist closing ourselves to the world and yielding to the temptation of letting the very notion of public value dissolve before our eyes.
Many of these shows are being created and rehearsed specially for the Festival d'Avignon, many artists will come to the Festival d'Avignon for the first time. We trust you will be curious again this summer and we invite you to immerse yourself in this new Festival.
Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller
Avignon, 3rd May 2010
Music and writing are two words that permeate this year's programme, as they have infused the programmes proposed by Alain Crombecque who ran the Festival d'Avignon between 1985 and 1992. This 64 th Festival is dedicated to his memory.
Public encounter: final report of the 64th edition
Press conference: final report of the 64th Festival d'Avignon
64th Festival d'Avignon
7-27 July 2010
The 64th edition of the Festival d'Avignon will end on Tuesday 27th of July 2010 with the last performances of Délire à deux, Un mage en été, La Tragédie du roi Richard II. The fringe "Le Off" will continue until the 31st of July 2010.
Conceived with the associate artists Christoph Marthaler and Olivier Cadiot, a large part of this edition has been dedicated to artistic encounters and collective adventures, making theatre interact with dance, music and literature. The worlds depicted on the various stages, often with a quirky spirit and humour, focused on the everyday life, on the margins, on the most vulnerable ones, but also on the issue of power. In their quest for new forms, the shows have questioned, each in their specific way, the notions of space and time, notably by working with the architecture of the venues where they were created or presented, and by playing with rhythms, stretching time towards contemplation or, on the contrary, speeding it up. Memory and silence were also strong themes in this Festival, as if the 'ceremony' that is theatre allowed us to see our times from another angle.
Many artists of the Festival have presented more than one piece of work, allowing the audience to better access their world. Apart from the associate artists, accompanied by Anna Viebrock for Christoph Marthaler and by Ludovic Lagarde for Olivier Cadiot, we can highlight the performances of Angélica Liddell, a true revelation for French audiences, Alain Platel, Falk Richter, Rodolphe Burger, Jean Lambert-wild, Cindy Van Acker, Pascal Dusapin, the GdRA and Boris Charmatz. It was also the case for many performers such as Laurent Poitrenaux, Denis Podalydès, Olivia Grandville, Valérie Dréville, Jonathan Capdevielle, Pierre Baux and Laurent Sauvage.
For 21 days, the Festival has presented 50 shows in 20 different venues (including 10 for the Vingt-cinquième heure and 8 for the Sujets à Vif) for a total of nearly 250 performances. Two thirds of these shows were created especially for the Festival or presented to France for the first time. 21 artists and companies were invited for the first time in the Festival, including Jean-Baptiste Sastre, François Orsoni, Pierre Rigal, Zimmermann & de Perrot, Julie Andrée T., Christophe Feutrier, Frank Van Laecke, Anouk van Dijk and Andreas Kriegenburg. Others continue their journey with the audience of the Festival, notably Josef Nadj & Akosh S., Guy Cassiers, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Gisèle Vienne, Philippe Quesne, Massimo Furlan, Christophe Huysman, Bartabas, Faustin Linyekula and Stanislas Nordey. A unique place of discovery for the general public as well as for the French and foreign professionals, the Festival once more fulfilled its role as an international platform.
Audiences also had the opportunity to complement their journey through the Festival thanks to numerous, and often free, propositions around the shows enabling them to share or to deepen their experiences: readings, films, exhibitions, meetings, debates, notably at the Ecole d'Art which welcomed more than 14 000 festival-goers. Two exceptional events have also marked this edition: the tribute to Alain Crombecque and the Bal of the 14th of July, organised by Rodolphe Burger and which gathered more than 10 000 people on the square of the Pope's palace.
For the 5th year in a row, the Festival's attendance rate has been superior to 90%. 116 000 tickets were delivered this year for a total capacity of 122 000 seats, setting a new attendance record of 95 %.
The two performances presented in the Cour d'honneur were filmed: Papperlapapp, by Christoph Marthaler and Anna Viebrock, was broadcasted live on Arte on the 17th of July and La Tragédie du roi Richard II, directed by Jean-Baptiste Sastre, on France 2 on the 23rd of July. With more than 200 000 visitors in July, the new website of the Festival also proposed to follow the daily events of the Festival.
The Festival continues to open itself to new audiences, notably by organising, in collaboration with the Ceméa, the visit of nearly 800 secondary school students coming from 10 different regions of France; by promoting the presence, in the Festival, of young people from Avignon, introduced to the theatre by the voluntary group "Les amis du Festival"; by supporting the "School for Citizenship" organised by Dexia; and by continuing its collaboration with the prison of Avignon-Le Pontet.
The diversity of the performances shown, the public success, the richness of the discussions which took place in the meetings and debates all testify of the vitality of the performing arts, despite a rather difficult economic context and the anxieties weighing on the question of funding for the arts. These issues have emerged in many debates and professional meetings which were held during the Festival. This 64th edition was notably marked by two declarations of elected and political representatives who demonstrated their attachment to a public policy in favour of culture and to the role of culture in the projects of society, whether it be through the declaration taken on a European level on the 10th of July or through the one created under the initiative of the associations of local elected representatives in France on the 17th of July.
For the next edition, Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller have chosen the choreographer and dancer Boris Charmatz. The programme will be revealed in March 2011.