En Route-Kaddish [2014]

Created on December, 15th 2014 at Théâtre de Vanves.

Directed and performed by David Geselson and Elios Noël
Text David Geselson
Assistant director Jean-Pierre Baro
Stage design Lisa Navarro
Lighting design Jérémie Papin
Video design Jérémie Scheidler
Sound design Loïc Le Roux
Technical team on tour
Stage and sound manager
Loïc Le Roux
Light manager arNo Seghiri
Video manager Julien Reis et Jérémie Scheidler
Administration, production, communication AlterMachine I Noura Sairour and Carole Willemot


Produced by Compagnie Lieux-Dits
Coproduced by Théâtre de Vanves, Théâtre de la Bastille
With the help of DRAC Ile-de-France, d’Arcadi, du Centre National du Théâtre et du Fonds de dotation Porosus
Residencies at Théâtre de Vanves, Carreau du Temple dans le cadre de l’incubateur international, Théâtre de la Bastille
Thanks to Archives du CNC, au Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers, à La Colline – théâtre national, au Théâtre Paris-Villette, à Lilas en scène, à Confluences et à la Fabrique Mc11


Duration 1h30


The text En Route-Kaddish is published by Lieux-Dits Editions

My grandfather, died in July 2009 in Jerusalem, in the southwest sector of the city.
In 2010, with the help of archives and family stories, I began to document and to reinvent his life story. I wanted to bridge myth and history.
This is the story of a man whose life spanned the 20th century.
Leaving Lithuania in 1934 to move to Palestine, Yehuda witnessed the different stages of the construction of the state of Israel. He crossed post-Shoah Europe as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army; from 1971, he founded and directed the Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, which promotes research on the history of Israel. He was awarded a prize by the Israeli president for his work as a director of the Ben-Zvi institute, but the ideals he had been pursuing all his life were already beginning to shatter. His dream was nearly destroyed.
When he died in the summer of 2009, I was nearly 30 and had fled to Japan after separating from my wife.
It was there, in unknown Tokyo, that I would find my grandfather again and begin to re-conquer my own history.
There are two of us, Yehuda and David, telling this story: a man whose ideals are in tatters and a young man, heir to a history impossible to assume without reviving it, questioning it, doubting it, learning to understand it and to make it his own.
And then, there are their impossible love stories. The woman Yehuda loved all of his life, without ever being able to live with her, and the break-up that drove his grandson to unknown Japan.
First written as short stories, these tales now adapted to the theatre are presented by Elios Noël and myself. L’écriture se construit dans un aller-retour permanent entre la table de travail et le plateau.
They interrogate both the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with its ethical, social, human, and political consequences, and our own personal histories.
What sort of life do the burdens of past History allow us to choose?
How does one build an adult life surrounded by family ghosts and crushing facts?
How can we look at today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict and see something beyond religious, national, or historic affiliations?
To what extent can the pursuit of an ideal justify our acts?

David Geselson


Bibliography and references

Ivan Jablonka, L’histoire est une littérature contemporaine, manifeste pour les sciences sociales, Edition du Seuil, 2014
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor, Histoire juive et mémoire juive, Paris, Gallimard, 1984
Haruki Murakami, La fin des temps, Edition du Seuil, 2005
L’éléphant s’évapore, Éditions Belfond, 2008
Daniel Mendelsohn, Les Disparus, trad. Pierre Guglielmina, Edition Flammarion, 2007.

Films, documentaries
Israël – Palestine : l’emprise des images,
documentary by  Jérôme Bourdon realised by Antonio Wagner. INA – 2008
The Gatekeepers, documentary by Dror Moreh in 2012.

« In En Route-Kaddish two stories mingle : Yehouda Ben Porat story played by Elios Noël and David’s story played by himself.
The two stories cross the paths of these two men with different seeking for themselves at different periods, but in fact with the same desire overhelming them, a desire they cannot cope with. A desire reaching the heart of every spectator : Is there somewhere a land for us on this earth ? »

Brigitte Salino, Le Monde

«Both interpreters are fine and sensitive. We listen and consider them with kindness. (…) a very special moment »

Armelle Héliot, Le Figaro

«With three removable screens, some images of archive and the beautiful complicity of the comedian Elios Noël, (…) Geselson has a dialogue with his ghosts, confronts different periods and different opinions. He reveals with his high sensibility the complexity of the story told, deeply inscribed in the flesh of the two protagonists. »

Emmanuelle Bouchez, Télérama

« There is no murder in his splendid play  En Route-Kaddish, but more than one wound and many questions.
At the end there is no answer but rather a bag full of sensations, a knot attached  to the history of this area passing through the word Palestine. »

Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, Médiapart

« On voit qu’ils s’aiment, mais ils ne sont pas là pour le dire. Ce qu’offre Doreen est mieux qu’une déclaration : c’est le portrait d’un amour, si vrai qu’il en paraît inventé, si bien réinventé qu’il en paraît encore plus vrai. »

Brigitte Salino, Le Monde

« Des meubles, des livres, un tourne disque définissent un espace de jeu central. Le gradin habituel est complète par des sièges au niveau du plateau. Chacun fait à sa manière. Certains s’assoient directement, d’autres se servent une boisson et s’installent avec leur verre, d’autres traînent devant la table. »

Armelle Héliot, Le Figaro

« Un spectacle d’une grande délicatesse, d’une extrême pudeur et d’une belle violence. »

José Sirach, L’Humanité

Théâtre de Vanves

15.12.2014 — 18.12.2014

Théâtre de Jarny


Les Bancs Publics, Marseille

20.11.2015 — 21.11.2015

Théâtre d’Arles

19.01.2016 — 20.01.2016

L’Aire Libre, Rennes


Théâtre Liberté, Toulon

02.03.2016 — 03.03.2016

Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil

17.03.2016 — 03.04.2016

Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne – Suisse

28.05.2016 — 29.05.2016

L’Apostrophe, scène nationale de Cergy-Pontoise et du Val-d’Oise

23.05.2017 — 24.05.2017

Festival Théâtre en mai, Théâtre Dijon- Bourgogne, CDN 

26.05.2018 — 27.05.2018

L’empreinte, Scène nationale de Brive-Tulle


Le Rayon Vert – Saint-Valery-en-Caux