French Institute remembers Cocteau

March 19, 2013 | By More

French Language dramas on stage at Edinburgh’s IfE

Hélène Hiquily performs La Voix Humane at the Institut français d’Ecosse

Hélène Hiquily performs La Voix Humane at the Institut français d’Ecosse

By Thom Dibdin

The fiftieth anniversary of the death of Jean Cocteau is to be marked at Edinburgh’s Institut français d’Ecosse tonight (Tuesday) with a performance in French of La Voix Humaine.

The performance by French company Theatre du Matin  is one of two this week in French. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Belgian artists of Collectif Blauw are presenting their production of Alessandro Baricco’s Novecento: Pianiste.

Vincent Guerin, director of the Institut commented: “Every year a lot of new French-speaking companies are emerging and staging new productions in French. As the promoters of French culture and language in Scotland, it is only normal that we showcase this vitality.

“This International Week of French Language and Francophonie gives us the perfect opportunity to invite these companies to perform on Scottish stages.”

La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice) was written by Jean Cocteau in 1930 and first staged at the Comedie française that year. The one act monologue see a middle-aged woman, here played by Hélène Hiquily, on a phone call with her lover of the past five years who is to marry another woman the next day.

Taking place in Paris, it explores the end of a love story through one voice and many silences. Wires are crossed, truths are twisted and words misinterpreted in a desperate final effort to connect. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with Hélène Hiquily who has been teaching French through theatre when living in Australia and touring in the UK.

Abandoned on a cruise liner
Emmanuel De Candido (narrator), Pierre Solot (piano) in Novecento : pianiste

Emmanuel De Candido (narrator), Pierre Solot (piano) in Novecento : pianiste

Novecento: Pianiste divided opinion when it was seen in Edinburgh at the International Festival in 2001 in a very static adaptation and production by Théâtre de Quat’Sous of Montreal, in which the story itself was all. On Wednesday, Emmanuel De Candido (narrator) and Pierre Solot (pianist) promise a rather more lively account.

The first monologue written by Alessandro Baricco tells of a young man born and abandoned on a cruise liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean that he has never left.

Adopted by the ship crew he grows up in this early 20th century microcosm that gathers social backgrounds and nationalities from both continents. Now 30, Novecento is a pianist virtuoso who creates music that only he is capable of playing.

Listing
La Voix Humaine

  • Tuesday 19 March, 6.30 pm. Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT. £8 (£5). Box office: 0131 225 5366
  • Wednesday 20 March, 6.30 pm. Alliance française in Glasgow, 3 Park Circus, Glasgow G3 6AX. £5 (£3). Box Office: 0141 331 4080
  • Thursday 21 March, 6.30 pm. Institut français du Royaume Uni, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT. £8 (£6). Box Office: 020 7871 3515

Novacento: Pianiste

  • Wednesday 20 March, 6.30 pm. Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT. £8 (£5). Box office: 0131 225 5366
  • Thursday 21 March, 6.30 pm. Alliance française in Glasgow, 3 Park Circus, Glasgow G3 6AX. £5 (£3). Box Office: 0141 331 4080

Further details at: www.ifecosse.org.uk

ENDS

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