A Young Vic/ Théâtre de la Ville-Paris co-production co-commissioned by Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), les Nuits de Fourvière/ Département du Rhône, Festival Grec 2011 – Barcelona and Festival d’Avignon
I Am the Wind
by Jon Fosse
English language version by Simon Stephens
Until 21 May 2011
Direction Patrice Chéreau
Artistic collaboration Thierry Thieû Niang
Design Richard Peduzzi
Costumes Caroline de Vivaise
Light Dominique Bruguière
Music Éric Neveux
Casting Sam Jones
Assistant lighting designFrançois Thouret
Assistant Director Peter Cant
Literal translation Øystein Ulsberg Brager
The wind gathers, rising up suddenly.
Two men on a fragile boat, a trip to sea – a few drinks, a bite to eat – when one of them decides to push on to the open ocean.
Suddenly there they are: among the distant islands, the threatening fog and gathering swell of the sea, bound together on an odyssey into the unknown.
France’s leading film, opera and theatre director
Patrice Chéreau (La Reine Margot) directs
Simon Stephens‘ (Punk Rock, Lyric Hammersmith) version of Jon Fosse’s (Ibsen Award 2010) contemporary fable.
This was a wonderful experience – a meditation on suicide perhaps, or perhaps an intimate portrayal of someone wilfully casting off his childish self to become the more responsible and more fearful adult he is inevitably growing into. The experience watching it was so close and personal it felt luxuriously a lot like falling inside the pages of a book – the experience yours alone to drift and yearn and ache and lament through. This is what i recognise as exceptional audience experience – rich and imaginative and evocative and spiritual and human and potent in its capture of life as we can recognise it and yet life as it could and we still want it to be.
Much of this was achieved by the staging – simply stated and roughly dramatic and complex and thrilling in its occasional abrupt surprises (the boat appearing and disappearing) and sharply poetic in its images (the first moments of The Other holding the half naked child-thin body of The One at the edge of the brown water) and intimate (the caressed holding of the two men together on the boat). The appearance and performance of the two actors made it easy for us to fall inside this world – not pretty film star types but ambiguous characterful boy-men who seemed to mostly inhabit the skin of the (same?) man they portrayed for us.
And it made me remember the regret of the fear of riding a horse now that i am grown, remembering how easy and exhilarating it had been to ride as a child. And to think again of the heady intoxication of an imagined life lived right out on the edge, experiencing at extreme levels of reception, irresponsible and never attainable of course but once upon a time wished for and grasped at despite its impossibility.
Watching the actors secure and vulnerable on their roiling decking, facing out to the limitless horizon, bound to either unglamorous disaster and inglorious turning back and accepting the world that is known and unleaveaable. And all of this thoroughly theatrical and live and immediate.
Exceptional experience that is still full and alive with me days later.