THE FRENCH TEACHER
text by Marie Ndiaye
with Nicole Garcia
staged by Frédéric Bélier-Garcia
HERE IS A QUEEN IN AVIGNON, Nicole Garcia
In my pantheon: Royan – García joined Zerline – Moreau
A peak of my being as a spectator.
A huge performer.
” It’s a beautiful afternoon, a springtime afternoon in the town of Royan, and a woman is coming back home in the golden light of the Boulevard. She’s coming back home from the high school where she’s been teaching French.
She starts to walk up the staircase towards her apartment, when she suddenly freezes: she’s just heard, or rather perceived, the minimal sounds of a couple on her staircase, one story up. She can make out the sound of their breathing, feels their presence and, although they are not speaking, she recognizes them, she knows beyond the shadow of a doubt who they are.
She stay there motionless, frozen in her movement, in her intention of peacefully regaining her apartment. She understands that she cannot go back home as long as that couple is there, awaiting her. Because she’s done everything in her power, up to now, to avoid running into them. They’re trying to ensnare her by daring to come all the way to her, a trap in which she’s committed not to fall, even if it implies having to wander around Royan all night long, or even just remaining standing there like a statue on the first steps of the staircase, petrified at the same time by her determination not to meet these instruders and by the flow of memories, visions and dreadful obsessions.
This woman’s monologue occurs during this time period — in this space of time that stretches out, and ceases to be measurable or perceivable for her. She speaks to the two beings who are up there, a man and a woman: they are the parents of one of her students, Daniella, who threw herself out of the window one month earlier, and died from her fall. The parents are desperately seeking some sort of explanation, some kind of cause or reason, for their daughter’s suicide. She, the teacher, considers that she has nothing to tell them.
Nevertheless she speaks to them about Daniella as she used to know her, Daniella whom she loved so fondly and, even more, about herself, born and raised in Oran, Morocco. She tells her story, or rather, tries to piece together what brought her from Oran to Royan and why she refuses to shoulder the least bit of responsibility for Daniella’s death even though, in a certain way, she’s always seen herself, recognized her own self in this student of hers. And in so doing, almost reluctantly, it’s a Lamentation of Daniella, a kind of profane prayer, pleading that this young girl, wherever she might be now, may finally find peace.”
Nicole Garcia embodies a text “highly powerful which can be dangerous to cross”
With her warm and rough voice, pressed, the actress wears the dazzling language of Marie NDiaye.
A writing cut in a tawny diamond, which raises more mysteries than it solves. It’s a gift for Nicole Garcia.
Listen to Nicole Garcia’s interview in La Matinale de France Inter (from 11:09)
Setting Jacques Gabel
Lights Dominique Bruguière assisted by Pierre Gaillardot
Sound Sébastien Trouvé
Artistic collaboration Caroline Gonce,Sandra Choquet
Collaboration Vincent Deslandres
Costumes Camille Janbon
– Les Visiteurs du Soir
– Festival d’Avignon
– Compagnie Ariètis 2
– Théâtre National de Nice – CDN Nice Côte d’Azur
– La Criée Théâtre national de Marseille
– Espace Jean Legendre, Théâtre de Compiègne
– Théâtre de la Ville – Paris
– La Comète – Scène Nationale de Châlons-en-Champagne
– La Maison/Nevers, Scène conventionnée Arts en territoires en préfiguration
– Théâtre de Villefranche-sur-Saône, Scène conventionnée art et création
La Ferme du Buisson – scène nationale de Marne-la-Vallée
Espace Michel Simon – Noisy-le-Grand
13 TO 17/06/2023 – MONTREAL (CA) – Théâtre du Nouveau Monde – tickets