French theater, made in India

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Three french actresses based in India got together for The Seed Giver, a dance-drama production organized by Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum based on the autobiographical story of Violette Ailhaud. The novelty of the theme received wide acclaims.

More than a dance-drama, the play is in effect, a powerful combination of narration and dance. Superb narration in French by Anne Bressange succeeded in bringing out the full poignancy of the story, even to the non-French speaking audience. Taking the role of Violette, Anne Bressange is accompanied by Nancy Boissel Cormier who plays her “emotive body”, conveying the feelings fo Violette through  body movements both graceful and light.

Shubhash Kumarapuran (credit photo)

Anne Bressange is an actress for whom theatre is a passion. She has also started learning Bharatnatyam and usually travels all over India for her shows. Nancy Boissel Cormier entered the world of Bharatnatyam in 1997 and is a performing artiste who has given various shows in Chennai. In addition she also practices and teaches yoga.

In the beginning we did know who would play what, how dance by Nancy and speech by Anne would combine” says Estelle Guihard who directed the play during their three-week residence at Alliance Française de Madras. Estelle works as an artistic director and coordinator of performing arts and audiovisual productions between France and India. Musical support is given by Souri Rajan with his irish harp and ghatam (percussion instrument made of terra cota). Music is subtle and does not interfere with the general mood of sanctity created by the theme.

The Seed Giver

 “In 1852, a village in the Basses-Alpes region of France was brutally deprived of men by the repression that followed the Republican uprising against the coup d’etat of Napoleon III. Two years went by in complete isolation for the women of the village. They took a vow that if a man came he would be their common husband so that life continues in the wombs of each of them. The women had thought of everything  except the possibility of falling in love. This story is the disturbing real-life account of one of the women.” Violette Ailhaud (1835-1925)

 Though the protagonist in the play is a woman, in a certain way, The seed-giver is actually a dedication to man. Depicting man’s role in creation, the play shows how absence leads to awareness of need; the purposelessness of the empty feminine womb longing to cradle a new life can be quenched only by the seed-giver.

In Trivandrum
Sitting enraptured for fifty minutes, the Trivandrum audience was generally appreciative of the play. Language barriers were transcended through projecting the English version of the story on to a screen at the back. Though a few members of the audience would have preferred a more perfect coordination of the subtitles, dance and narration, the performance of the artistes did indeed create a lasting impression in their hearts.

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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 ...