Christoph Marthaler has been present on the greatest European stages of theatre and opera for over 30 years now. It was by joining the École Jacques Lecoq after the events of May 1968 that the Swiss oboist and flutist discovered theatre practice, first as an actor, then very rapidly as a director. He next invented universes of fiction in which words, music and song converge to recount stories peopled with characters from daily life: blue or white collar workers, the unemployed or office managers, they are all slightly out of sync, often little adapted to a civilization in constant motion. The tender and deeply human glance that he casts on his heroes makes them funny, touching, responsible as they are for offering us images of a world turned upside-down, which leaves them struggling with existential and relational difficulties. Working closely with the stage designer Anna Viebrock, who notably accompanied him in directing the Schauspiel of Zurich from 2000 to 2004, Christoph Marthaler places his troupe of actors in fake train stations, fake waiting rooms, fake offices. Sets truer than life in which they move, ramble and entertain us, while sending us back a certain image of ourselves. This is unquestionably the secret of the work of Christoph Marthaler, both as an observer of the world and a poet of the stage. He has already presented at the Festival d'Avignon Groundings, a Variation of Hope in 2004, Riesenbutzbach. A Permanent Colony in 2009, before becoming, in the company of the writer Olivier Cadiot, associate artist of the 2010 Festival for which he premiered Papperlapapp in the Cour d'honneur and revived Protecting Yourself from the Future.
JFP, April, 2012