Avignon 2014

Avignon 2014

This year, for the 68th edition of the Festival, four plays and a series of debates and workshops depicted the economic world.

Say what you don’t mean in a language you don’t speak (by Antônio Araújo, based on a text by Bernardo Carvalho) refers to the economic crisis. It recounts an old man’s return to the European continent after having lived there as a political exile in the 1970s. He travels with his daughter, an economist, who accompanies him to his different meetings and appointments: immigration officials, a former trade unionist friend, a doctor, economists, businessmen ... all depict as many portraits as fractures of this new Europe that he no longer recognises. This play was written in the framework of the European project Cities on Stage.

The play ran from 7 to 17 July.

The Fountainhead (by Ivo Van Hove) is based on the novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. The play questions the status of the artist in a capitalist society. Two avenues seem to open up to him: either he is in touch with the public to satisfy its most immediate desires or he only listens to himself to develop his own creativity even if it means offending the public of his time.

The play ran from 13 to 19 July.

May, June, July (by Christian Schiaretti, based on a text by Denis Guénoun) revives the events of 1968. The Théatre de l’Odéon is under siege. Dozens of angry youths have decided to occupy this temple of bourgeois culture. Jean-Louis Barrault, the theatre’s director, tries to understand the situation, torn between the anguish caused by the assault and the empathy he feels for these passionate youths. Through this play, Christian Schiaretti also tells of the recent – sometimes stormy - history of the French theatre.

The play ran from 14 to 19 July.

In Solitaritate (by Gianina Carbunariu), it all starts with the division of the room in which the audience is seated. The actors negotiate the ownership of the rows of seats, leaving spectators the powerless pawns of some kind of rivalry and strategy game. It is all about ownership and the relationship between private and public property. A couple weighs the pros and cons of hiring a Filipino nanny to help at home. A dead theatre icon is to be moved to the people’s cemetery after her son sells her prestigious burial plot. Gianina Cărbunariu paints a harsh portrait of the Romanian middle class, which appears obsessed by a European ideal of success and the living standards promoted by the media and Brussels. This play was also written in the framework of the European project Cities on Stage.

The play ran from 19 to 27 July.

Lastly, the thought workshops were regular and daily gatherings in the form of debates and workshops, including Le Monde est jeune and Les Controverses du Monde en Avignon (in partnership with Le Monde), La Ville Créative, Projet de Société and Le Théâtre face à la « Chose économique ». The detailed programme is available in the spectator guide

The full programme is available on the website of the Festival d’Avignon

And for all those who would like to find out more about the evocation of the economy, money, business and finance in drama, see our readings: Business on stage and Economy, money and finance on stage

Published on 20 October 2014.