The in- and outsider

(page under construction)

Working as a dramaturge has brought me in contact with a myriad of different projects. Whether dance, theatre, circus… I have never learned so much than sitting in the rehearsal room, listening to a piece in the making and trying to accompany as best as I could a thought, an emotion, a statement as it was taking shape.

Over the years I think I have identified a few of the ways I like to work – and also some I do not want to repeat. I try to reflect on them here.

A few topics I’m interested in:

  • Postcolonial and decolonial body politics
  • Aesthetic “tone-policing” or shaming (or how to question the upper-class Western cannon)
  • Non-aristotelian dramaturgies, particularly cyclical dramaturgies and dramaturgies working with impressions
  • The use of text in dance
  • Explanation versus translation of minority cultures and codes on stage

2021 – La Théorie

de gauche à droite : Guillaume Verdier, Laure Wolf, Lena Garrel, Jordan Sajous.

Nouvelles
13.9.21 /// La Théorie bientôt à Antibes puis Paris. Réservations ci-dessous.

24/09 au Festival SPOT du Théâtre Paris-Villette (Paris) (attention, il s’agit d’un extrait)
9, 10/11 au Théâtre Anthéa (Antibes)
15-17/11 au Théâtre de l’Etoile du Nord (Paris)
15/12, 16/12 au Festival Impatience aux Plateaux Sauvages (Paris)

Presse
Reportage de France 3 sur la résidence de création de La Théorie à L’Entre-Pont
Guy Degeorge, Un soir ou un autre « […] une mise en scène serrée et une interprétation à vif [qui] n’a rien de didactique. C’est un drame qui se précipite jusqu’à son paroxysme, sans leçons à donner ni solution à proposer. Simplement, tristement, juste. »
Nicolas Thévenot, Un fauteuil pour l’orchestre « Valentine Caille et son équipe sèment dans cette fable un trouble presque lynchien, où les évidences se colorent de sombres et douteux reflets, où les sourires semblent receler des arrière-fonds, où l’espace surplombé de néons aurait autant à voir avec la salle de classe, qu’avec l’entrepôt désaffecté ou le parking souterrain […].
La beauté de cette proposition est de mettre en œuvre l’expérience in vivo d’un basculement, […] où les éléments mis en présence vont soudainement cristalliser et donner corps à une théorie complotiste. Comme un passage du mental au social jusqu’à produire, effets collatéraux, la dévastation des corps. »
La Théorie, une coproduction du théâtre Anthéa d’Antibes, Laurence Ray, France Net Infos, 13/11/2021.
Au Festival Impatience, le jeune théâtre joue les lanceurs d’alerte, Joëlle Gayot, Télérama, 07/12/2021.
Le conflit de réalité(s), Yannaï Plettener, Zone critique, 06/12/2021 « la démonstration est implacable, alors que l’engrenage des discours et arguments provoque inévitablement l’enfermement toujours plus total d’Alex dans une contre-réalité perçue comme seule vérité – entêtement qui n’a d’égal que la dureté de la posture de sa professeur, installée dans son bon droit, mais tremblante d’impuissance alors que lui échappe le contrôle sur le récit des faits, jusqu’à la déflagration finale. S’en tenir à cette seule analyse psychologique serait faire injure à la qualité de la pièce, qui dépasse le simple cadre individuel : ce qui est mis en jeu, en cause et en question, ce sont véritablement les rapports sociaux et politiques, forces cachées rendues visibles qui dominent les corps et les paroles des personnages. Ce sont ces mécanismes-là qui enclenchent l’engrenage, et La Théorie, plus brechtienne qu’elle n’en a l’air, les révèle dans toute leur violence. »
La Théorie, une coproduction du théâtre Anthéa d’Antibes, Laurence Ray, France Net Infos, 13/11/2021.
Entretien avec Valentine Caille et Marie Yan, Radio Raptz, 14/11/2021.
Théâtre : des lycéens Niçois découvrent “La théorie”, la pièce qui décrypte le complotisme, France 3 PACA, 12/11/2021.

Genèse
J’ai commencé à écrire La Théorie à la suite des attentats de 2015 en France. La colère et le chagrin que je ressentais envers une société qui créait des monstres et s’en lavait les mains m’ont poussée à rechercher des schémas, des parcours et comment représenter sans le simplifier, le basculement d’une interrogation saine à une obsession destructrice.
La Théorie ne parle pas d’attentats mais des mécanismes de la pensée complotiste. C’est une pièce sur l’incompréhension et les limites du dialogue quand il est déterminé par des rapports de force institutionnels. Le texte a connu un long travail de développement avec les collaborateur-ices présent-es et passé-es de la production, que je remercie chaleureusement, en particulier : Valentine Caille, Hatice Özer, Jackee Toto, Victor Pontecorvo, Laure Wolf, Eric Feldman, Jordan Sajous, Lena Garrel, Guillaume Verdier.

Présentation
Une histoire violente, dérangeante, essentielle. La Théorie ausculte le terrifiant processus d’engrenage des théories conspirationnistes en faisant le pari d’en créer une de toutes pièces. Une lycéenne, Alex, tourne en rond comme une lionne en cage dans les murs hauts d’un lycée de banlieue, la confiance déjà fragile entre elle et l’école implose. Elle devient persuadée qu’on cherche à l’écarter. La pièce a pour but d’ouvrir un espace de confrontation déroutant et provocateur : comment un discours conspirationniste devient-il séduisant ? Comment les rapports de pouvoir distordent-ils la possibilité d’une émancipation intellectuelle ? Qui peut toujours prétendre y voir clair ?

par la Compagnie Lou Pantail
auteure Marie Yan
mise en scène Valentine Caille

avec Léna Garrel, Laure Wolf, Jordan Sajous, Guillaume Verdier

acollaborateur artistique Éric Feldman
coproduction scénographe Irène Tchernoostan (conseil artistique Fanny Laplane)
créateur sonore David Hess
création lumière Marco Hollinger
costumes Elsa Depardieu et Valentine Caille
artiste vidéaste Céleste Rogosin

coproduction anthéa, théâtre d’Antibes
administration et production Realiz
partenaires L’Entre-Pont, Forum Jacques Prévert, Centre Dramatique des Villages, Le LoKal La Compagnie Jean-Michel Rabeux, Théâtre 13, Théâtre du Train Bleu, MPAA Saint Blaise
soutiens Drac PACA, Région Sud, Ville de Nice
mécénat Inter Outre-Mer, Fondation Léo Lagrange

À partir de 13 ans
Durée : 1h15

de gauche à droite : Jordan Sajous, Laure Wolf.

page en construction

2021 – A Tidal Home

A Tidal Home is a collaboration between Berlin and Hong Kong performing artists, a play about home and climate catastrophe, what it means to decide to leave or stay.
I moved to Hong Kong to write the play from scratch, further developing a method I started with Artes Moriendi (2018), that I refer to – for the moment – as Fictionalisation of the Self, inspired by Biographisches Theater and techniques of documentary theatre. In a series of workshops, the creative team came together to share memories, anecdotes and legends all related to their feeling of being home. From there, a gallery of characters was born that I wove together on the backdrop of a city being flooded.

Report on the production (English/Cantonese) P-articles here (video)
Report (Cantonese) P-articles – automated English translation here (article)

Review (Cantonese) by Bernice Chan from the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC)
Article (Cantonese) HK Feature – automated English translation here

Programme here

Director Kwun Fee CHAN
Initiators of the project Karen CHEUNG, Anne Yuk Ting TAM, Marie YAN
Playwright Marie YAN
Production Dialogues of Oceanus
Distribution Kaki LUK, Boon-Ho SUNG, Anne Yuk Ting TAM, Russell TERRE ARANZA

The project was funded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the New Earth Theatre Seed Commission.

page under construction

2016 – 2018: working with Grupo Oito

I met the dance collective Grupo Oito in 2016, in the tent it had set up during a networking event for performing arts in Berlin. Since then I follow its work and experiments and sometimes take part in them: thanks to the trust of choregrapher and artistic director of the collective Ricardo de Paula, I learned dramaturgy for dance. The unique approach of Grupo Oito to improvisation, emotional and physical preparation, its use of technology and text, the diversity of its members, its relentless effort to make dance by looking at the most contemporary questions, taking them in their hands as they burn holes in our everyday lives and politics is what makes Grupo Oito in my eyes one of the most exciting dance collective to follow.

Some of the work we collaborated on:
2017 – Unrestricted Contact
2018 – k/no/w-go zones

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photo: Ballhaus Naunynstrasse

2018 – k/no/w-go-zones

k/no/w-go-zones is a traveling piece through Berlin by dance collective Grupo Oito, it was performed during the Berlin Performing Art Festival 2018.

Choregraphy: Ricardo De Paula / Dramaturgy: Nora Haakh / Dramaturgical advice on text: Marie Yan / Costume design: Andreina Vieira Dos Santos / Sound design: Grupo Oito / Texts: Grupo Oito

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How do we move in public space? How does public space move us? Which rules are at play? And for whom? What does it take to turn a No-Go-Area into a Now-Go!-Zone?

In this interactive performance parcours with narrative elements, the audience will move through layers of urban hi/stories between the personal and the political. Crossing Berlin through several stations, that count as No-Go-Zones for some, we are all taking part in this play with social and spatial dynamics. When do we close ourselves, what helps us to open up? How to express embodied experience, and share it – beyond the boundaries of our specific social position, too? The Performance makes bitter and surprising realities visible, invites for focus shifts in perception, and opens up spaces of possibiliy and intervention.

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2017 – Unrestricted Contact

A dance performance by Grupo Oito

Choregraphy: Ricardo de Paula / Dramaturgie: Marie Yan / Set design: Grupo Oito / Costume design: Andreina Vieira dos Santos / Music: Fabiano Lima / Video: Zé de Paiva / Light design: Michal Andrysiak / Performers: Laura Alonso, Caroline Alves, Martina Garbelli, Nasheeka Nedsreal, Zé de Paiva, Ricardo de Paula, Natalie Riedelsheimer, Miro Wallner / Produktionsleitung /Production Management: Micaela Trigo
The festival Republik Repair is curated by: Karina Griffith

There is something that connects us. However, social centrifugal forces are increasing. Segregation is becoming sharper, the debates more aggravated. More and more new groups position themselves against others; are formed, are pitted against each other. Mistrust grows, and with is, so does the pressure. Retreat and isolation become attractive.

There is something that connects us, could connects us. But do we know our position, our proximity, the forces that wear us down? An ensemble, a heterogeneity of languages, dance educations, sexual orientations, social positions. Get Physical is the passion for and working method of dance . But does it connect us? What happens when we make explicit the heterogeneity, the social breaking points that go right through the middle of the ensemble, through the bodies? To finally allow the things in common, the possibilities of contact, a contact that hasn’t been limited all along. Psychological Rehabilitation – inspired by this invitation, Grupo Oito brings questions in the discussion of Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks into the ensemble’s work: Unrestricted Contact as a physical discussion contrary to everyday violence.

Rezension (Deutsch) TanzraumBerlin
Review (English) Berlin Art Link

2015 – A quick decision can be made – A Story of the Detained Fast-Track

Premiere: 5th June 2015, Discover21, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Written and directed by Marie Yan

Cast: Raquel Grela, Maryann Mackelvie

(19.05.2018) To this day, the UK is the only of the European Union with no legal limit for the detention of immigrants. Until The Court of Appeal ruled the Detained Fast-Track Procedure unlawful in 2015 after more than ten years of activity, thousands of asylum seekers were screened and sent to detention centres across the country for periods up to several years. 99% of their claims rejected. For the Refugee Festival Scotland 2015, we delved into the reports of NGOs fighting against this system (Detention Action, Women for Refugee Women) to bring to the stage the story of a young woman going through every stage of this procedure. Theresa May, UK’s prime minister was a staunch defendant of the Detained Fast-Track and detention centres continue to run all over th UK. #SetHerFree

“The food is awful
It’s not just the taste
It’s the way they give it
They don’t think we deserve it”

Claiming asylum in the UK, like thousands of refugees each year, Marthes is put into the Detained Fast-Track Procedure. An endless questioning begins that will strip down her whole life. Is she telling the truth? Can she?

The story of Marthes is fictional, yet it’s based on multiple accounts of the Detained Fast Track in the UK. A widely unknown procedure, particularly detrimental to women refugees.

More info on the DFT can be found here. To this date, Yarl’s Wood Center, the immigration detention centre where the play is set, is still running.

Performed on the 5th, 6th and 7th June 2015 at Discover21, Edinburgh, part of the 2015 Refugee Festival Scotland.

A quick decision can be made – Programme

2018 – Artes Moriendi – Ways of Dying

A Production by A Dog’s Heart Theatre & Compagnie des Wanderers
Premiere: 8th of June 2018, TATWERK | Performative Forschung, Berlin, Germany.
Direction: Federico Schwindt
Dramaturgie and Text: Marie Yan (with contributions from the ensemble)
Direction Assistant: Ailian Formia
With: Emiliano Passaro, Gabriela Turano, Ivanna Sol, Tanja Watoro, Raquel Grela and others
Costumes: Jojo Shone
Set Design: The Right Person
Production: Compagnie des Wanderers and A Dog’s Heart Theatre in cooperation with TATWERK | Performative Forschung
Production Assistant: Karen Ka Wan Cheung
 
It’s the birthday party of Joyce. She’s about to die. And she is seven.
Then, the clock strikes 4 at Schönefeld Airport.
The weather is stormy. It’s time to bring in the cake.
What a wonderful age! The weather is not getting any better. In a surburban house, an old woman falls from her couch, eyes open.
The screen of a phone lights up and asks “Where are you?”. The old woman bites her tongue. The plane takes off. The birthday girl closes her eyes and blows out the candles.
We see death everywhere, but rarely admit to it. Inspired by 15th century Artes Moriendi writings, Ways of dying, we look at the micro-rituals, subtle moves and cries for help that betray our macabre thoughts in a rare collection of dark flashes and deep silences.

2014 – The Fog

I don’t remember clearly when it all started. Probably the day after that lorry driver somewhere drove over a five years old girl, back and forth. I remember I looked at the CCTV of the scene. You could barely see anything, really. There was just a confused mix of coloured dots, hardly distinguishable, but still, it was happening. Back. And forth. All I could see. The day after I watched the video, when I went out of the house, I noticed something had changed. It wasn’t me. It was around me.

As an entire city – or maybe is it the whole world? – starts to disappear under a supernatural fog, a little community sees its bonds slowly deteriorating. Surrounded by shadows and vanishing visions, when exactly do we start losing balance?

Directed by Sam Rowe, creator of the “complex and forthright” Denton And Me (****The Herald) and director of Robert Softley’s “outstanding” If These Spasms Could Speak (*****Fringe Review).

Performed at Stereo, Glasgow, the 7th and 8th April 2015.
Supported by the Mary Leishman scholarship and the Adam Smith Foundation.

The Fog – Programme

2015 – Heroes (I)

Heroes (I)

Premiere: 2016, James Arnott Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland.

Written and Directed by A Dog’s Heart Theatre

Cast: Raquel Grela, Marie Yan

“I really need to help” is the cry of the hero. In a physical and textual research about the use of repetition and effort, on camera and on stage, we looked at the heroes and heroines we had in our skulls, what exactly they wanted and how they looked like. We created a machine to invoke them all, one after the other, with their dreams of grandeur, their extra-human devotion and delusion of generosity.

Opening:

Have I fought for my country?

Have I stood up for ideas I valued more than my own life?

Have I campained relentlessly for a good cause?

One that had at its core the urge to protect life?

Have I committed myself to a single task until I died?

Have I dramatically changed my way of life to fit my ideals?

Have I somehow been an inspiration for other people because of my choices?

Have I suffered? Could I have stopped the suffering, but decided to endure it because it made sense?

Have I decided to stand up for something not because I personally cared, but because it was right?

Have I been a leader?

Have I valued more the stakes of a fight than the publicity it gave me?

Have I been selfless?

Have I done something that changed the world?

Have I been physically diminished because of it?

Have I kept going nonetheless?

Have I sacrificed my own life for the benefit of others?

My own freedom for the benefit of others?

Have I fought hopelessly because it made sense?

Have I

We asked ourselves: who do we think of as heroes?

What exactly did they do?

If I say “hero”, who is the first person who jumps to your mind?

Joan of Arc

Marina Ginesta

Chavela Vargas

Jane Goodall

Nuria Espert

Marie Curie

Frida Kahlo

Dolores Ibarrui

My mum

Beckett

Edward Snowden

Tank man

Che Guevara

Martin Luther King

Nelson Mandela

The barefoot lawyers

Socrates

Freddie Mercury

Remi Ochlik

Antigone

Nora

Iphigenie

Fantine

Pénélope

The little mermaid (by Andersen)

Laura

Nina

Kill Bill

Oedipus

Arthur’s Knights

Robinhood

Thorgal

Galileo

The hunchback of Notre-Dame (by Disney)

Hercules

X-Men

Harry Potter

the Zapatists

the Mothers of the Mai square

Doctors

(pause, breathe, don’t be afraid of taking your time between two questions)

When do they appear? Who creates them? Can we believe them? As part of a research on performing bodies and voices on the contemporary stage, Hero ( I ) is the first part of an attempt to transform the stage into a laboratory where the hero/in emerges through a collision of texts, half-way through mythology and little acts of daily heroism.