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13 Oct 2014

Trilogie des femmes: France-Québec cooperation takes to the stage

Director Wajdi Mouawad. Photo: Jean-Louis Fernandez

The Trilogie des femmes was presented in Nantes on September 24 and 25. The trilogy focusing on women is the first component of a major project that involves staging all seven surviving tragedies by Sophocles between now and 2015. The project stems from collaboration between Québec author-director Wajdi Mouawad and French poet-translator Robert Devreu and is supported by the France-Québec Permanent Cooperation Commission (CPCFQ - Commission permanente de coopération franco-québécoise).

The project is being carried out by a team from France and Québec that will produce the seven Sophoclean tragedies listed below over a five-year period (2011-2015), transposing them all to the contemporary era:

  • Ajax
  • Antigone
  • Œdipus Rex
  • Electra
  • The Women of Trachis
  • Philoctetes
  • Œdipus at Colonus.

This is not the first time Wajdi Mouawad has put together a team of creators and actors from France and Québec. His most recent productions are the result of a similar merging of talent and have been enormously successful.

The first trilogy, composed of The Women of Trachis, Antigone, and Electra, was staged in Cenon (near Bordeaux) in late June. Performed outdoors in early July in Athens and subsequently during the Avignon Festival at the Boulbon quarry (nature’s counterpart to the Papal Palace’s Court of Honour), the women's trilogy is extending its tour by heading to the Grand T theatre in Nantes. The Grand T, which partnered with Wajdi Mouawad in 2009 for productions during Philippe Coutant’s final mandate, is continuing this collaboration under the direction of Catherine Blondeau by offering Mouawad a five-year residency. The Amandiers theatre in Nanterre, near Paris, will present the trilogy in its entirety in late November, following performances in Brest, Reims, Bourges and Lyon.

The originality of the undertaking lies not only in the idea of producing all seven plays by Sophocles but also in the decision to extend the project over five years, a rare practice in the theatre world. In addition to metropolitan France, Belgium and Québec, the Île de la Réunion (a distant island that is an official region of France) has signed on to this unusual endeavour. It is an exceptional opportunity for Francophones on the continent to reach out to the inhabitants of Réunion.

The production is part of the programming of the Franco-Québécois Fund for decentralized cooperation (FFQCD - Fonds franco-québécois de coopération décentralisée). The Fund is responsible for establishing a biennial program of cooperation activities, especially in the cultural sector.

The Fund was established in response to the desire expressed by the Prime Minister of France and the Premier of Québec to financially support the development of projects of common interest created at the local and regional levels.

France-Québec cooperation
Fonds franco-québécois pour la coopération décentralisée (in French)

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