Unwritten Letters [2017]

Premiere on May 2017 at Théâtre de Lorient – CDN

They are three versions :

“In situ”

“On stage” with drawing on sand 

“On stage” with video and music

Written and directed by

David Geselson

Performed by (rotation)

Isabel Abreu

Samuel Achache

Sharif Andoura

Séverine Chavrier

Yannick Choirat

Charlotte Corman

Servane Ducorps

David Geselson

Adeline Guillot

Marina Keltchewsky

Laure Mathis

Juliette Navis

Elios Noël

Thibault Vinçon

Drawing on sand

Elodie Bouédec

Musicians

Jérémie Arcache

Noémi Boutin

General manager, lighting and sound

Arnaud Olivier

Video design

Jérémie Scheidler

Lighting design

Jérémie Papin

Anne Vaglio

Jean-Gabriel Valot

Production and tour manager

Noura Sairour

Press relations

AlterMachine I Carole Willemot

 

Duration 1h

« If you have ever wanted to write a letter to someone you love but never did because you did not dare or know how to go about it, or because you could not bring yourself to do it or were unable to finish it, tell me what you would have liked to say and I will write it for you.
We will spend 35 minutes together, during which time you will tell me about this unwritten letter. I will then spend the next 45 minutes writing it for you. When the letter is done, I will read it out to you. If you like it, you can keep it (in the format of your choice); if not, I will erase it and there will be no trace of it left. If you do like it and agree to let me use it, I may do something with it in a performance, with the understanding that all these letters will be kept strictly anonymous. »

I started from this premise.

The Unwritten Letters project has continued since then, from one city to another. After Paris, I went to write in Orléans, Toulouse, Lorient, Duclair, Saintes, Arles, New York, Brive, Pau, Brussels. The writing sessions always take place in one day, from 9 AM to 5 PM, for volunteer spectators at a time. Then, early in the evening, I am joined by part of the team from Compagnie Lieux-Dits to prepare a theater piece developed from these letters. About ten letters are read each evening, in a mix of letters from that day and those from other cities, with letters from Paris in Orléans, from Arles in Saintes, from Toulouse in New York, from New York in Lorient, and from Lorient in Duclair.

This is an intentionally short, quick, and incomplete form of creation, developed in a few hours, by trying to make the maximum use of that day’s stories. To say, among other things, that theaters can also be used for this: the possibility to come and talk, to have something written for you, to hear yourself in the world.

A kind of community of invisible words is built from one place to another.

David Geselson

Produced by Compagnie Lieux-dits

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

The text Lettres non-écrites (Unwritten Letters) is laureate from CONTEXTO Artcena and translated in Spanish (Chili) by Millaray Lobos

The text Lettres non-écrites (Unwritten Letters) is published by Le Tripode publishing

« If you have ever wanted to write a letter to someone you love but never did because you did not dare or know how to go about it, or because you could not bring yourself to do it or were unable to finish it, tell me what you would have liked to say and I will write it for you.
We will spend 35 minutes together, during which time you will tell me about this unwritten letter. I will then spend the next 45 minutes writing it for you. When the letter is done, I will read it out to you. If you like it, you can keep it (in the format of your choice); if not, I will erase it and there will be no trace of it left. If you do like it and agree to let me use it, I may do something with it in a performance, with the understanding that all these letters will be kept strictly anonymous. »

I started from this premise.

The Unwritten Letters project has continued since then, from one city to another. After Paris, I went to write in Orléans, Toulouse, Lorient, Duclair, Saintes, Arles, New York, Brives, Pau, Brussels. The writing sessions always take place in one day, from 9 AM to 5 PM, for volunteer spectators at a time. Then, early in the evening, I am joined by part of the team from Compagnie Lieux-Dits to prepare a theater piece developed from these letters. About ten letters are read each evening, in a mix of letters from that day and those from other cities, with letters from Paris in Orléans, from Arles in Saintes, from Toulouse in New York, from New York in Lorient, and from Lorient in Duclair.

This is an intentionally short, quick, and incomplete form of creation, developed in a few hours, by trying to make the maximum use of that day’s stories. To say, among other things, that theaters can also be used for this: the possibility to come and talk, to have something written for you, to hear yourself in the world.

A kind of community of invisible words is built from one place to another.

David Geselson

Premiere on May 2017 at Théâtre de Lorient - CDN

They are three versions : "In situ" "On stage" with drawing on sand  "On stage" with video and music

Written and directed by

David Geselson

Performed by (rotation)

Isabel Abreu

Samuel Achache

Sharif Andoura

Séverine Chavrier

Yannick Choirat

Charlotte Corman

Servane Ducorps

David Geselson

Adeline Guillot

Marina Keltchewsky

Laure Mathis

Juliette Navis

Elios Noël

Thibault Vinçon

Drawing on sand

Elodie Bouédec

Musicians Jérémie Arcache Noémi Boutin

General manager, lighting and sound

Arnaud Olivier

Video design

Jérémie Scheidler

Lighting design

Jérémie Papin

Anne Vaglio

Jean-Gabriel Valot

Production and tour manager

Noura Sairour

Press relations

AlterMachine I Carole Willemot

Duration 1h

Produced by Compagnie Lieux-dits

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

The text Lettres non-écrites (Unwritten Letters) is laureate from CONTEXTO Artcena and translated in Spanish (Chili) by Millaray Lobos

The text Lettres non-écrites (Unwritten Letters) is published by Le Tripode publishing

Videos

“Most of the time, the only set pieces on stage are a table, a computer, and a printer that occasionally produces other people’s letters. And the contrast between the prosaic object and this precious content is beautiful. (…)
This requires precise work from the actors, which they carried out in record time this afternoon. The rules stipulate that after spending the day meeting people and writing, at 5 p.m. the writer must select the letters to be read that evening (some from previous workshops, others from that day), build a dramatic structure, and work with his colleague to identify the stakes of each text. Perverse jubilation and the panache of defeat in a break-up letter, joyful astonishment in another, addressed to a lost mother… (…)
He lets loose the pleasure he derives from these Unwritten Letters—“the pleasure in making a community,” he underlines.
That of making yourself vanish, of disappearing into other people’s voices, while sometimes allowing their letters to lost loves to quietly resonate with his own. In the letter he wrote for Charlotte—whose breathing, right next to us in the darkness of the theater, intensified the air—we hear these words that belong as much to the young woman as to the writer: «(..) In human beings, there exists this possibility to not want to destroy each other to survive. I will grant you that it has become very rare. But it exists.”

Eve Beauvallet, Libération

“All these letters are anonymous. David Geselson now has about forty of them, addressing love, loneliness, hatred, separation and reconciliation, sometimes even beyond death. To allow them to be heard on stage is to return in the simplest way possible to the equation of theater, which according to David Geselson is ‘the place that allows words to exist.’

Brigitte Salino, Le Monde

 Letters Unwritten is the director / actor extending his hand to the theater audience. One letter after another, a bridge is built between him, the artist, and us, the audience. This is intimate work (and work about what is intimate) that constantly reiterates the importance of the audience to those who set foot on stage. Through this anti-flashy gesture, the artists on stage masterfully thumb their noses at those who create egotistically, without thinking about those watching. The audience is king, and David Geselson is the one who crowns it.

Under its modest appearance bordering on abnegation, the patchwork woven before our eyes through the reading of some fifteen letters sketches a humanity that deeply moves us in sometimes unexpected ways. (…) The person sitting next to you may or may not have been the one who originally spoke this letter, but ultimately what does it matter. What is important, however, is what this project expresses, and what we feel as we exit the theater: tenderness for our fellow humans”

Audrey Santacroce, IO Gazette

“Rare are the spectators who will not be penetrated by one of these letters. It only takes a single sentence, an inflexion. Those little things that will remind them of their lives, their loves, their regrets, the things they left unsaid, their deaths. These are letters that soothe, comfort, and appease, including through the anger that some express.”

Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, Médiapart

“With a modest set design representing a hospital setting, your Unwritten Letters appeared like a breath of fresh air in this eleventh month of lockdown. A breath of humanity, a pure shot of connection.”

Agnès Dopff, Mouvement

“Most of the time, the only set pieces on stage are a table, a computer, and a printer that occasionally produces other people’s letters. And the contrast between the prosaic object and this precious content is beautiful. (…)
This requires precise work from the actors, which they carried out in record time this afternoon. The rules stipulate that after spending the day meeting people and writing, at 5 p.m. the writer must select the letters to be read that evening (some from previous workshops, others from that day), build a dramatic structure, and work with his colleague to identify the stakes of each text. Perverse jubilation and the panache of defeat in a break-up letter, joyful astonishment in another, addressed to a lost mother… (…)
He lets loose the pleasure he derives from these Unwritten Letters—“the pleasure in making a community,” he underlines.
That of making yourself vanish, of disappearing into other people’s voices, while sometimes allowing their letters to lost loves to quietly resonate with his own. In the letter he wrote for Charlotte—whose breathing, right next to us in the darkness of the theater, intensified the air—we hear these words that belong as much to the young woman as to the writer: «(..) In human beings, there exists this possibility to not want to destroy each other to survive. I will grant you that it has become very rare. But it exists.”

Eve Beauvallet, Libération

“All these letters are anonymous. David Geselson now has about forty of them, addressing love, loneliness, hatred, separation and reconciliation, sometimes even beyond death. To allow them to be heard on stage is to return in the simplest way possible to the equation of theater, which according to David Geselson is ‘the place that allows words to exist.’

Brigitte Salino, Le Monde

 Letters Unwritten is the director / actor extending his hand to the theater audience. One letter after another, a bridge is built between him, the artist, and us, the audience. This is intimate work (and work about what is intimate) that constantly reiterates the importance of the audience to those who set foot on stage. Through this anti-flashy gesture, the artists on stage masterfully thumb their noses at those who create egotistically, without thinking about those watching. The audience is king, and David Geselson is the one who crowns it.

Under its modest appearance bordering on abnegation, the patchwork woven before our eyes through the reading of some fifteen letters sketches a humanity that deeply moves us in sometimes unexpected ways. (…) The person sitting next to you may or may not have been the one who originally spoke this letter, but ultimately what does it matter. What is important, however, is what this project expresses, and what we feel as we exit the theater: tenderness for our fellow humans”

Audrey Santacroce, IO Gazette

“Rare are the spectators who will not be penetrated by one of these letters. It only takes a single sentence, an inflexion. Those little things that will remind them of their lives, their loves, their regrets, the things they left unsaid, their deaths. These are letters that soothe, comfort, and appease, including through the anger that some express.”

Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, Médiapart

“With a modest set design representing a hospital setting, your Unwritten Letters appeared like a breath of fresh air in this eleventh month of lockdown. A breath of humanity, a pure shot of connection.”

Agnès Dopff, Mouvement

Théâtre Ouvert, Paris (France) 

31.05.2017

Le Grand Parquet – Théâtre Paris Villette (France) 

01.07.2017

Théâtre de Lorient – CDN (France) 

20.04.2018 — 21.04.2018

Festival Terres de Paroles (France) 

27.04.2018

Théâtre Garonne – Scène européenne, Toulouse (France) 

08.06.2018 — 09.06.2018

Festival Crossing the Line, FIAF – USA 

22.09.2018

Le Gallia, Saintes (France) 

09.04.2019

Théâtre d’Arles (France) 

27.04.2019 — 28.04.2019

Théâtre Les Tanneurs, Brussels (Belgium)

18.10.2019 — 19.10.2019

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

07.11.2019

Espace Pluriels, Pau (France)

13.11.2019 — 14.11.2019

Théâtre de l’Aquarium, Paris (France)

22.12.2019

L’Avant-Scène, Cognac (France)

26.01.2020

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

02.04.2020 — 03.04.2020

Le Canal – Théâtre du Pays de Redon (France) 

25.09.2020

CDN de Besançon (France)

13.10.2020 — 14.10.2020

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

20.11.2020 — 22.11.2020

Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (Switzerland) [canceled]

23.01.2021 — 06.02.2021

Espace 1789 – Saint-Ouen (France) [rescheduled]

09.02.2021 — 10.02.2021

MA – Scène Nationale de Montbéliard (France) [canceled]

16.03.2021

Le Rayon Vert, Saint-Valery-en-Caux (France) [canceled]

24.04.2021

Teatro la Memoria – Santiago (Chili) – Recreation by Millaray Lobos 

02.09.2021 — 10.09.2021

Le Cargo – Segré-en-Anjou-Bleu (France)

01.10.2021 — 02.10.2021

Théâtre Forum Meyrin, Geneva (Switzerland)

18.11.2021 — 21.11.2021

Malakoff, Scène nationale – Fabrique des arts (France)

23.11.2021 — 24.11.2021

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

02.12.2021

Maïf Social Club – Paris (France)

24.03.2022 — 25.03.2022

Théâtre Paul Eluard, Choisy-le-Roi (France)

19.04.2022

La Halle aux Grains, Scène nationale de Blois (France)

26.04.2022 — 27.04.2022

Espace 1789, Saint-Ouen (France)

31.05.2022 — 01.06.2022