Unwritten Letters [2017]

Conceived and written by David Geselson
With (in turn) :
Jérémie Scheidler vidéo
Loïc Le Roux sound and cast
Jean-Gabriel Valot, Anne Vaglio, Jérémie Papin lighting
Lisa Navarro stage design
Elodie Bouédec sand painting
Séverine Chavrier piano and cast
Samuel Achache, Yannick Choirat, Charlotte Corman, David Geselson, Marina Keltchewsky, Laure Mathis, Elios Noël, Thibault Vinçon, cast
Sylvain Tardy stage and light manager
Administration, production AlterMachine I Noura Sairour
Communication AlterMachine I Carole Willemot


Produced by Compagnie Lieux-Dits

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.
The writing sessions will take place over the space of a day.
At the end of the day, a team from Compagnie Lieux-Dits will create a work for the stage based on these letters.»

Unwritten Letters, launched in the spring of 2016 in the context of Occupation Bastille—a project initiated by Tiago Rodrigues at Théâtre de la Bastille—is a long-term project, developed over three years of touring in France and internationally.
It is a proposal for exchange and creation, a suggestion that performance venues also offer you the possibility to come and talk, to have something written for you, and to hear yourself in the world through the mediation of the people who inhabit theaters.
Over the next few years, the project will also be developed into an exhibition, a radio play, and, ultimately, a book.


“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

“It may seem anecdotal, only Geselson’s writing makes these stories sincere, sometimes chilling. His writing pays particular attention to making the original speaker visible. Each text appears to be faithful to the story told, the personality encountered. (…)
Whether the reading is sharp, halting, restrained, suggested, or, in the case of Laure Mathis’s voice, pre-recorded, we never tire of listening. The direction and set design are understated, in service to the words. (…)
There is an abundance of stories; it is a remarkable thing to honor invisible speech. The subjects covered are nearly thematic: absence, regret, death, love, friendship, family. These are heterogeneous stories, far removed from our own, but the feelings experienced are not so foreign to us. As if they were perpetual prisoners of the overwhelming cycle of emotions.”

Thiery Lola, Théâtrothèque

 “Today it is impossible to describe the slightest thing about this performance—and that is exactly the beauty of David Geselson’s wild gamble…”

La Dépêche du Midi

« 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 Ouvert, Paris


Le Grand Parquet / Théâtre Paris Villette


Théâtre de Lorient, CDN

20.04.2018 — 21.04.2018

Festival Terres de Paroles


Théâtre Garonne, Scène européenne, Toulouse

08.06.2018 — 09.06.2018

Festival Crossing the Line, FIAF – Etats-Unis


Le Gallia, Saintes


Théâtre d’Arles

27.04.2019 — 28.04.2019

Théâtre Les Tanneurs, Bruxelles, Belgique

18.10.2019 — 19.10.2019

L’Empreinte, scène nationale de Brive, Tulle


Espace Pluriels, Pau

13.11.2019 — 14.11.2019

Théâtre de l’Aquarium, Paris


L’Avant-Scène, Cognac


Le Rayon Vert, Saint Valéry en Caux [reporté]

02.04.2020 — 03.04.2020

Le Canal – Théâtre du Pays de Redon


CDN de Besançon

13.10.2020 — 14.10.2020

Théâtre Forum Meyrin – Genève (Suisse) dans le cadre du Focus « Constellation Geselson » [reporté]

20.11.2020 — 22.11.2020

Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (Suisse) [annulé]

23.01.2021 — 06.02.2021

Espace 1789 – Saint-Ouen

09.02.2021 — 10.02.2021

MA – Scène Nationale de Montbéliard


Le Rayon Vert – Saint-Valery-en-Caux