The World Is Her Stage – Mnouchkine at Puducherry

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An iconic figure in European theatre, Ariane Mnouchkine co-founded the Théâtre du Soleil over 40 years ago and remains its artistic and stage director to the present day. The only female winner of the international Ibsen award, she has toured the entire world with her company and has encountered every conceivable language and culture. In turn, she has incorporated these experiences into her creative oeuvre. Her productions tell of how cultures coexist and battle against one another.

Ariane Mnouchkine

Ariane Mnouchkine

Mnouchkine is no stranger to Indian art form. In Théâtre du Soleil’s productions of Twelfth Night and Les Atreus, she incorporated elements from forms as diverse as Kathakali, Bharathanatyam and Koodiyattam. She has also relied on the Natya Shastra, a treatise on Indian performing arts, for her works.

The troupe of the Théâtre du Soleil in action

Mnouchkine brought her theatre group’s école nomade to Puducherry in December 2015  – a visit supported by the Department of Tourism, Puducherry Government and organised in collaboration with Alliance Française de PondichéryInstitut Français and Indianostrum theatre. The école nomade is a mobile school of sorts which aims at taking the tools of theatre to different countries through workshops. Olivier Litvine, Director of Alliance Française de Pondichéry, added that “…this is as big an event for Alliance Française as any – we cannot dream of anything bigger!”.

Ariane Mnouchkine with Olivier Litvine (Director, Alliance Française de Pondichéry)

Ariane Mnouchkine with Olivier Litvine (Director, Alliance Française de Pondichéry)

The visit will be conducted in two distinct parts. The first was the arrival of Mnouchkine and 12 of her actors from the école nomade who held a workshop for around 100 Indian and international actors sharing their experiences and knowledge. This was conducted from December 8 to 30 in Puducherry and was open to anyone over the age of 18. The workshop incorporated moments of practical reflection involving improvisation, masks, music, dance, and movement in which Mnouchkine and her troupe sought to explain their collective way of working.

According to Alliance Française de Pondichéry, the second part will be a Résidence de Création – a series of events conducted by the Théâtre du Soleil from January 2 to 28, 2016 including a monologue performance by the actor Maurice Durozier, a Café Littéraire i.e. literary discussion on French writer-philosopher Hélène Cixous, a concert by Théâtre du Soleil musician Jean-Jacques Lemetre and screenings of films made by the theatre group.

Café Littéraire on Hélène Cixous with Nicolas Deleau and Olivier Litvine

Café Littéraire on Hélène Cixous with Nicolas Deleau and Olivier Litvine

Koumarane Valavane, founder of Indianostrum theatre who has worked with Mnouchkine in the play Le Dernier Caravanserail, summed up the importance of this visit by concluding that “Mnouchkine made us realise the contribution of traditional Indian forms to actors’ training. It is great that the école nomade is coming here. She will be a wonderful guide, a guru in the true sense, for today’s theatre practitioners in India…Our art forms need such gurus.”

Siddharth BHATT

Rédaction AF Magazine Inde-Népal

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...