A beautiful audience of political figures and academics came together on Wednesday evening in the amphitheatre Richelieu of the Sorbonne (the rest of the dish was at the theatre Antoine for the representation of the part of BHL). “We are here to affirm our support for the director, the actors, to assert that freedom, the creation is a fundamental principle and we can not tolerate that some, for political purposes, using such a representation,” said the minister of culture, Franck Riester, the side Frédérique Vidal, minister of higher Education. Several members of parliament and diplomats, including the ambassador of Greece in France are also present. Ariane Mnouchkine of the Theatre du Soleil was invited but did not attend the representation.
In total 700 people, including 150 high school students invited by the university, came to watch the play. For security reasons, the representation is made only on invitations. The entrance is closely monitored by the police and security agents. It is necessary to show white leg.
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precautions were taken to avoid a repeat of the evening of 25 march. The play, directed by the hellenist Philip Brunet, already planned at the Sorbonne, had been censured by the students of the university including members of the Unef (national Union of students of France), supported by several militant “anti-racist” of the defence League african black (LDNA), the Brigade anti-négrophobie and the representative Council of black associations of France (Cran). The reason for this? The use, according to them, “blackfaces” racist, a process that was, from the Eighteenth century on, showing Black, in the fun, to entertain the White, and then a grimer in black of white actors. If there is no overflow, the LDNA has not failed to express his opposition in a Tweet, against “the fine flower of France ethnohiérarchiste”.
“face up to the censorship,” Wearing masks of gold or silver, the actors were made-up at the level of the legs. Michael Naulin
a preamble, Yann Migoubert, head of the cultural department of the faculty of letters of the Sorbonne, was keen to point out the misinterpretation of the controversy, and the importance of “confronting the censorship. We are here to combine fraternity and vigilance to revive this tragedy of Aeschylus more young and hot than ever.”
tonight, the characters are dressed in masks of gold and silver. No make-up offensive. Only the feet and arms of the actors are covered with a clay-colored. The choir is dressed in robes and adorned on the face with a makeup white as in the ancient tradition. The actors declaim the text, and are hitting their feet on the floor in rhythm with the melodies of the ancient arranged by Francis Cam. Some passages are sung in ancient Greek. A reading quasi-archaeological, but the message is still very contemporary.
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Suppliantes of Aeschylus is the first tragedy of the Tetralogy of Danaides . In the room, the 50 daughters of Danaus fleeing their 50 cousins, the Egyptiades who want to force her into marriage. They crossed the Mediterranean and earn Argos in Greece to apply for asylum. A tragedy where are presented the values of hospitality and welcoming the stranger.
Unease around the issue of racism
A call to wisdom, and listening, two-year-old, hailed by several minutes of applause. For Alain Tallon, dean of the faculty of letters of the Sorbonne, he could not have had a better argument in the face of the critics: “the Whole world was able to see that the staging and the text were humanists, in accordance with the values of the Republic and of the university. There was no intention of a racist and xenophobic of the staging of Philippe Brunet. There has been a real misunderstanding on the part of the people who were opposed to this representation,” he stressed.
The university also alert on the lack of debate and listening within universities: “It is certain that there is a malaise that must be taken into account, we need to think about, propose solutions to a company that is experiencing a tension very strong around racism. But it is also through creation, beauty, art, and literature that we fight against discrimination and I think that Aeschylus is a good lesson came from it 2,500 years to fight against discrimination.”
Shocked, several actors left the troupe
At the end of the representation, Philippe Brunet, who has forbidden its staging in a long column published in the columns of the Figaro , admits to being a bit overwhelmed by the impact of his play. “We feel that the public listens to us differently. It is a chance also. They feel something to defend in the work that we do. It defends the theatre, the culture, the education, the actors. But I’m especially relieved for the actors.”
Many were shocked by the violence of the intervention of the 25 march. Some have also left the troupe. Louison, 19 year-old was keen to keep his role in the choir. On the evening of the cancellation, it was one of the actors blocked out by the activists: “We had fear. I tried to talk with them, explain to them, but it was impossible. It was very fast insults. It’s been really good to play this piece. There is a beautiful discourse of humanity, of hospitality, there is even talk of feminism,” said she before to send a message to those who are pleased to see this work of art cancelled: “We would like that they come see this play.” The theatre doors are always wide open.