Silence and fear [2020]

Premiere on January, 14th 2020 at Théâtre de Lorient.

Written and directed by

David Geselson

Assistant director

Shady Nafar

Performed by

Dee Beasnael

Jared McNeill

Kim Sullivan

Laure Mathis and Marina Keltchewsky (rotation)

Samuel Achache and Elios Noël (rotation)

Stage design

Lisa Navarro assisted by Margaux Nessi

Lighting design

Jérémie Papin assisted by Marine Le Vey

Video design

Jérémie Scheidler assisted by Marina Masquelier

Sound design

Loïc Le Roux

Costume design

Benjamin Moreau

Costume construction

Sophie Manac’h

General stage manager

Sylvain Tardy

Collaboration

Dee Beasnael

Craig Blake

Loïc Le Roux

Laure Mathis

Benjamin Moreau

Shady Nafar

Lisa Navarro

Elios Noël

Jérémie Papin

Jérémie Scheidler

Kim Sullivan

Sylvain Tardy

Translation

Nicholas Elliott

Jennifer Gay

Set construction

Decor construction of ThéâtredelaCité – CDN Toulouse Occitanie

Production manager

Noura Sairour

Tour manager and press relations

AlterMachine I Carole Willemot

Press relations

Irène Gordon-Brassart

 

Team on tour :

Assistant director

Julien Fišera

Stage manager

Nicolas Henault

Syvain Tardy

Lighting manager

Rosemonde Arrambourg

Marine Le Vey

Jérémie Papin

Video manager

Olivier Naslin

Julien Reis

Jérémie Scheidler

Sound manager

Loïs Drouglazet

Loïc Le Roux

Adrien Wernert

 

Duration 1h50

Performance in French and English

Nina Simone carries within her 4 centuries of history.

Nina Simone’s life was full of drama, 70 years of epic ups and downs ending in desolation.
Her story speaks of both a passionate quest for recognition and a vital political struggle that still resonates today.
Tragic figure of revolt, Nina Simone is perhaps too iconic to allow us to get close to her, and it may well be impossible to represent this tragic figure of revolt on the stage.
It is a risky gamble to ask someone to perform a version of Nina Simone and sing like her: the result will necessarily be pale in comparison with the original. Yet, there is something extraordinarily compelling about this challenge.
Nina Simone was also a direct representative of a major strand of US history: as the great great grand-daughter of a Native American married to an African slave, she carried within her four centuries of colonial history.
In telling her story accompanied by an Afro American and Franco European team, I also aim to evoke the murderous conquest of the Americas by various Western empires (Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French) beginning in the 15th century, and in doing so, to look at part of the history of Afro-Americans.
The story of this woman will lead me to present the moment Christopher Columbus touched land in the Bahamas, the massacre of Chief Skyuka and his entire tribe in what is now North Carolina, and the story of the four million African Americans who were enslaved, in order to question this part of our shared Western heritage.
The goal will be to bring to life in a fiction inspired by History with a capital “H” what inhabits Nina Simone, those who accompanied her during her whole life, and her ghosts, like different facets of a stone that can never be embraced in a single glance.
The project will examine and attempt to show and make felt what can be silenced by fear. How the fear of being destroyed because you are who you are leaves indelible scars on the bodies and minds of those subjected to it, and which are passed from one generation to the next.
As Europeans, as Westerners, we are the heirs to these wounds, inflicted and suffered. Whether victims or perpetrators, our stories are the fruit of the disruptions caused by the development of the empires that would later become Europe on the inhabited lands of the Americas beginning in the 15th century.
How do we make a shared narrative? What legitimacy can we claim to do so?

David Geselson

 

Produced by Compagnie Lieux-dits

Coproduced by Théâtre de Lorient, centre dramatique national, Le Canal – Théâtre du Pays de Redon, Théâtre National de Bretagne – Rennes, ThéâtredelaCité – CDN Toulouse Occitanie, Théâtre d’Arles, scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – art et création, Théâtre de la Bastille, Espaces Pluriels, Scène conventionnée danse – Pau, L’empreinte scène nationale Brive / Tulle, Théâtre Le Rayon Vert, Scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – art en territoire de Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, Le Gallia Théâtre, scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – art et création de Saintes, La Comédie de Reims – Centre Dramatique National, Théâtre des Quatre saisons, Gradignan, Théâtre de Choisy-le-Roi – Scène conventionnée d’Intérêt national – Art et création pour la diversité linguistique en coopération avec PANTHEA, La Rose des Vents, Scène nationale Lille Métropole Villeneuve d’Ascq, CDN Besançon Franche-Comté, Théâtre de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Scène nationale, Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, Lisbon, Portugal

With the help of the ministère de la Culture, Région Île-de-France, Spedidam, the french Institute within the frame of its program Théâtre Export, FACE Foundation Contemporary Theater, the Harlem Stage – New York – United States

Thanks to Théâtre Ouvert – Centre national des Dramaturgies Contemporaines, La Chartreuse de Villeneuve-Lès-Avignon – centre national des écritures du spectacle and Théâtre de l’Aquarium

Residencies at CDN de Normandie-Rouen

Compagnie Lieux-dits is accredited by the ministère de la Culture – DRAC Île-de-France

The text Silence and Fear is published by Lieux-dits publishing

Nina Simone carries within her 4 centuries of history.

Nina Simone’s life was full of drama, 70 years of epic ups and downs ending in desolation.
Her story speaks of both a passionate quest for recognition and a vital political struggle that still resonates today.
Tragic figure of revolt, Nina Simone is perhaps too iconic to allow us to get close to her, and it may well be impossible to represent this tragic figure of revolt on the stage.
It is a risky gamble to ask someone to perform a version of Nina Simone and sing like her: the result will necessarily be pale in comparison with the original. Yet, there is something extraordinarily compelling about this challenge.
Nina Simone was also a direct representative of a major strand of US history: as the great great grand-daughter of a Native American married to an African slave, she carried within her four centuries of colonial history.
In telling her story accompanied by an Afro American and Franco European team, I also aim to evoke the murderous conquest of the Americas by various Western empires (Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French) beginning in the 15th century, and in doing so, to look at part of the history of Afro-Americans.
The story of this woman will lead me to present the moment Christopher Columbus touched land in the Bahamas, the massacre of Chief Skyuka and his entire tribe in what is now North Carolina, and the story of the four million African Americans who were enslaved, in order to question this part of our shared Western heritage.
The goal will be to bring to life in a fiction inspired by History with a capital “H” what inhabits Nina Simone, those who accompanied her during her whole life, and her ghosts, like different facets of a stone that can never be embraced in a single glance.
The project will examine and attempt to show and make felt what can be silenced by fear. How the fear of being destroyed because you are who you are leaves indelible scars on the bodies and minds of those subjected to it, and which are passed from one generation to the next.
As Europeans, as Westerners, we are the heirs to these wounds, inflicted and suffered. Whether victims or perpetrators, our stories are the fruit of the disruptions caused by the development of the empires that would later become Europe on the inhabited lands of the Americas beginning in the 15th century.
How do we make a shared narrative? What legitimacy can we claim to do so?

David Geselson

Premiere on January, 14th 2020 at Théâtre de Lorient. Written and directed by David Geselson Assistant director Shady Nafar Performed by Dee Beasnael Jared McNeill Kim Sullivan Laure Mathis and Marina Keltchewsky (rotation) Samuel Achache and Elios Noël (rotation)

Stage design

Lisa Navarro assisted by Margaux Nessi

Lighting design

Jérémie Papin assisted by Marine Le Vey

Video design

Jérémie Scheidler assisted by Marina Masquelier

Sound design

Loïc Le Roux

Costume design

Benjamin Moreau

Costume construction

Sophie Manac’h

General stage manager

Sylvain Tardy

Collaboration

Dee Beasnael

Craig Blake

Loïc Le Roux

Laure Mathis

Benjamin Moreau

Shady Nafar

Lisa Navarro

Elios Noël

Jérémie Papin

Jérémie Scheidler

Kim Sullivan

Sylvain Tardy

Translation

Nicholas Elliott

Jennifer Gay

Set construction

Decor construction of ThéâtredelaCité – CDN Toulouse Occitanie

Production manager

Noura Sairour

Tour manager and press relations

AlterMachine I Carole Willemot

Press relations

Irène Gordon-Brassart

 

Team on tour :

Assistant director

Julien Fišera

Stage manager

Nicolas Henault

Syvain Tardy

Lighting manager

Rosemonde Arrambourg

Marine Le Vey

Jérémie Papin

Video manager

Olivier Naslin

Julien Reis

Jérémie Scheidler

Sound manager

Loïs Drouglazet

Loïc Le Roux

Adrien Wernert

Duration 1h50

Performance in French and English

Produced by Compagnie Lieux-dits

Coproduced by Théâtre de Lorient, centre dramatique national, Le Canal – Théâtre du Pays de Redon, Théâtre National de Bretagne – Rennes, ThéâtredelaCité – CDN Toulouse Occitanie, Théâtre d’Arles, scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – art et création, Théâtre de la Bastille, Espaces Pluriels, Scène conventionnée danse – Pau, L’empreinte scène nationale Brive / Tulle, Théâtre Le Rayon Vert, Scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – art en territoire de Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, Le Gallia Théâtre, scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – art et création de Saintes, La Comédie de Reims – Centre Dramatique National, Théâtre des Quatre saisons, Gradignan, Théâtre de Choisy-le-Roi – Scène conventionnée d’Intérêt national - Art et création pour la diversité linguistique en coopération avec PANTHEA, La Rose des Vents, Scène nationale Lille Métropole Villeneuve d’Ascq, CDN Besançon Franche-Comté, Théâtre de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Scène nationale, Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, Lisbon, Portugal

With the help of the ministère de la Culture, Région Île-de-France, Spedidam, the french Institute within the frame of its program Théâtre Export, FACE Foundation Contemporary Theater, the Harlem Stage – New York – United States

Thanks to Théâtre Ouvert – Centre national des Dramaturgies Contemporaines, La Chartreuse de Villeneuve-Lès-Avignon – centre national des écritures du spectacle and Théâtre de l’Aquarium

Residencies at CDN de Normandie-Rouen

Compagnie Lieux-dits is accredited by the ministère de la Culture – DRAC Île-de-France

The text Silence and Fear is published by Lieux-dits publishing

Videos

Books
Princess Noire, The tumultuous reign of Nina Simone, Nadine Cohodas, The University North Carolina Press
Black America, Une histoire des luttes pour l’égalité et la justice (XIXe-XXIe siècle), Caroline Rolland-Diamond, Editions la Découverte
Une institution très particulière : L’esclavage aux États-Unis, 1619-1877, Peter Kolchin, Edition Belin
Une histoire populaire des États-Unis, Howard Zin, Editions Agone
Nina Simone, Une vie, David Brun-Lambert, Editions Flammarion
I put a spell on you, Nina Simone, autobiography, Da Capo Press
Empires, de la chine ancienne à nos jours, Jane Burbank et Fréderick Cooper, Edition Payot
Malcolm X, une vie de réinventions, Manning Marable, Editions Syllepse
Révolution non-violente, Martin Luther King, Editions Nadir Payot-Lausanne
Retour dans l’œil du cyclone, James Baldwin, Christian Bourgois publisher
Chassés de la lumière, James Baldwin, Ypsilon Éditeur
De l’esclavage en Amérique, Frédérick Douglass-David Thoreau, Editions rue d’Ulm
Beloved, Toni Morisson, Editions 10-18
Les traites négrières, Olivier Petré-Grenouilleau
Malcolm X, Le pouvoir noir, Edition la Découverte
Les âmes du peuples noir, W.E.B Dubois, Editions la Découverte
Lies my teacher told me, James W.Loewen, Atria Books
Colère noire, lettre à mon fils, Ta-Nehisi Coats, Editions J’ai lu
Le procès de l’Amérique, Ta-Nehisi Coats, Editions Autrement

Films, documentaries
Nina Simone : Live at Montreux 1976, production Eagle Vision
Nina Simone, The legend, by Franck Lords
Nina Simone – An Historical Perspective by Peter Rodis
What happened Miss Simone ? by Liz Garbus
Les routes de l’esclavage, by Daniel Cattier, Juan Gélas et Fanny Glissant
OJ ; Made in America, by Ezra Edelman
I am not your negro, by Raoul Peck
Malcolm X, by Spike Lee

“A devastatingly human play focused on shared cultural reappropriation. Triple proof of David Geselson’s incredible gift for turning history into a common good. (…).”

Fabienne Arvers – Les Inrockuptibles

“On stage, several acting cultures become one, while the text moves fluidly from French to English (…) Is the project to witness Nina Simone being born out of the foundations of America too vast and ambitious? Is the risk of cultural appropriation too great? In a tacit way, these questions make up this Russian doll-play, an epic both distant and right up close, which rejects chronology, moving forward in successive waves to capture what shapes a person and her power to break through the weight of oppression.”

Anne Diatkine – Libération

“A set of panels make up the sets: dressing room, bar, luxurious home or crude childhood interior… flow into one another like the languages respond to each other. Dee Beasnael, who plays Nina Simone, speaks English as well as Ngambay (…) This New York-based actress exudes a beautiful energy.”

Brigitte Salino – Le Monde

“Fiction fuses with reality when the actress playing Nina Simone (re)becomes Dee Beasnael, taking her turn carrying the tragic history of African Americans – her performance is magnificent. The beautiful set in half-light, a house-island brought to life by a few projections, adds a dreamlike touch to the overall effect. The osmosis between among a cast of excellent actors from a variety of backgrounds does the rest. The resurrected soul of Nina the rebel will continue to haunt us.”

Philippe Chevilley – Les Echos

“Based on the singer’s autobiography and several biographies, he has written an astute, sensitive text, on the border between documentary and fiction. (…) Nina-Eunice is played by Dee Beasnael, an American actress born in Ghana. She is impressive. In this bilingual performance, carried by five excellent actors, she makes us feel the violence, the fear, the racism that forever leave their mark.”

Mathieu Perez – Le Canard enchainé

“A devastatingly human play focused on shared cultural reappropriation. Triple proof of David Geselson’s incredible gift for turning history into a common good. (…).”

Fabienne Arvers – Les Inrockuptibles

“On stage, several acting cultures become one, while the text moves fluidly from French to English (…) Is the project to witness Nina Simone being born out of the foundations of America too vast and ambitious? Is the risk of cultural appropriation too great? In a tacit way, these questions make up this Russian doll-play, an epic both distant and right up close, which rejects chronology, moving forward in successive waves to capture what shapes a person and her power to break through the weight of oppression.”

Anne Diatkine – Libération

“A set of panels make up the sets: dressing room, bar, luxurious home or crude childhood interior… flow into one another like the languages respond to each other. Dee Beasnael, who plays Nina Simone, speaks English as well as Ngambay (…) This New York-based actress exudes a beautiful energy.”

Brigitte Salino – Le Monde

“Fiction fuses with reality when the actress playing Nina Simone (re)becomes Dee Beasnael, taking her turn carrying the tragic history of African Americans – her performance is magnificent. The beautiful set in half-light, a house-island brought to life by a few projections, adds a dreamlike touch to the overall effect. The osmosis between among a cast of excellent actors from a variety of backgrounds does the rest. The resurrected soul of Nina the rebel will continue to haunt us.”

Philippe Chevilley – Les Echos

“Based on the singer’s autobiography and several biographies, he has written an astute, sensitive text, on the border between documentary and fiction. (…) Nina-Eunice is played by Dee Beasnael, an American actress born in Ghana. She is impressive. In this bilingual performance, carried by five excellent actors, she makes us feel the violence, the fear, the racism that forever leave their mark.”

Mathieu Perez – Le Canard enchainé

Théâtre de Lorient – CDN (France) 

14.01.2020 — 17.01.2020

Théâtre National de Bretagne, Rennes (France)

22.01.2020 — 29.01.2020

Le Canal, Redon (France)

31.01.2020

La Comédie – CDN de Reims, Festival Far Away (France)

04.02.2020 — 05.02.2020

Le Rayon Vert, Saint-Valéry-en-Caux (France)

07.02.2020

Théâtre d’Arles (France)

11.02.2020 — 12.02.2020

Espace Pluriels, Pau (France)

18.02.2020 — 19.02.2020

Théâtre de Chelles (France)

25.02.2020

Théâtre des Quartiers d’Ivry, CDN (France) en coréalisation avec le Théâtre Paul Eluard de Choisy-le-Roi

25.02.2020 — 08.03.2020

L’Agora, Boulazac (France)

10.03.2020

Le Moulin du Roc, Niort (France)

13.03.2020 — 14.03.2020

Le Gallia Théâtre, Saintes (France) [rescheduled]

17.03.2020

L’Empreinte, scène nationale de Brive-Tulle (France) [rescheduled]

23.03.2020

ThéâtredelaCité, CDN Toulouse-Occitanie (France) [rescheduled]

25.03.2020 — 31.03.2020

Théâtre de la Bastille, Paris (France) [canceled]

20.04.2020 — 29.04.2020

La rose des vents Scène nationale Lille Métropole – Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) [rescheduled]

05.05.2020 — 06.05.2020

NEST, CDN de Thionville (France) [canceled]

12.05.2020 — 14.05.2020

Théâtre Forum Meyrin – Geneva (Switzerland) dans le cadre du Focus « Constellation Geselson » [rescheduled]

12.11.2020 — 13.11.2020

Les Bancs Publics – Marseille (France) [canceled]

28.11.2020

CDN de Besançon (France) [rescheduled]

01.12.2020 — 03.12.2020

L’empreinte – Scène nationale de Brive-Tulle (France) [rescheduled]

08.12.2020

Le Gallia – Saintes (France) [rescheduled]

11.12.2020

ThéâtredelaCité – CDN Toulouse-Occitanie (France) [canceled]

16.02.2021 — 21.02.2021

Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II – Lisbon (Portugal) [rescheduled]

04.03.2021 — 06.03.2021

CDN de Besançon (France) [rescheduled]

11.03.2021 — 13.03.2021

Théâtre de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – Scène Nationale (France) [rescheduled]

23.03.2021 — 25.03.2021

La rose des vents Scène nationale Lille Métropole – Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) [canceled]

31.03.2021 — 01.04.2021

The Princeton Festival : Brodcasting of the video recording at Wallace Theater – Université de Princeton (NY, USA)

18.09.2021

Théâtre Forum Meyrin, Geneva (Switzerland)

11.11.2021 — 12.11.2021

Le Grand R, Scène nationale de la Roche-sur-Yon (France)

17.11.2021 — 18.11.2021

CDN de Besançon (France)

23.11.2021 — 25.11.2021

Le Gallia Théâtre – Saintes (France)

03.12.2021

L’Empreinte – Scène nationale de Brive-Tulle (France)

07.12.2021

Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, Lisbon (Portugal)

06.01.2022 — 08.01.2022

Les Quinconces l’Espal, Scène nationale du Mans (France)

20.01.2022 — 21.01.2022

Théâtre de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – Scène nationale (France)

25.01.2022 — 27.01.2022

Théâtre des Quatre Saisons – Gradignan (France)

02.02.2022