September 11 2001
text by Michel Vinaver
directed by Arnaud Meunier
Trailer of the recording
Standing-ovation at the Théâtre de la Ville. Ten years to the day after the fall of the World Trade Center, Arnaud Meunier, Michel Vinaver and the whole team of the play September 11 2001 receive, moved, the acclamations of the public.
A great deal of progress in a short time for the 44 high school students and the five professional actors who have just played Michel Vinaver's play on stage. Later behind the scenes, the Minister of Culture himself congratulates them. A year and a half after the idea for a new staging came to life, the result is a success.
Success for the public who acclaimed the play. After two premieres at the Comédie de Saint-Etienne on September 4 and 5, 2011, the play sold out for the opening of the season at the Théâtre de la ville on September 10 and 11 (3 performances), then again at the Forum du Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis) where it was necessary to add an additional performance on October 8 to that initially scheduled for the 7.
Success for media critics who enthusiastically welcomed Arnaud Meunier's staging. "A serious, rhythmic show, with devilishly effective staging", according to Le Parisien. Libération highlights the work of "44 kids who have just played Michel Vinaver's piece to perfection". "This September 11, 2001 is an opera," says Le Figaro.
Success, finally and above all, for the whole team who worked with enthusiasm throughout this adventure. They all gave the best of themselves to overcome obstacles, discover hidden treasures, and ultimately create unforgettable memories.
And now, and now, and now ...
A word from the director
"This is war !" This is what I remember saying when I discovered, like millions of other people, the images of the twin towers in flames in the blue sky of Manhattan.
September 11, 2001 is clearly not an event like any other. We all remember exactly what we were doing at that time. It has deeply marked collective memories as the first historical event of the beginning of the 21st century, as the inescapable symbol of a new era. The one where American and Western hegemony wavered; that of a new world order; of a new war effectively with ill-defined outlines and uncertain enemies.
We know the rest of the scenario: from the search for ghostly weapons of mass destruction to the stalling of the Middle East peace process, from the conceptualization of the "axis of evil" to the hardening of community clashes, from the fear of permanent bloody and indiscriminate terrorist acts to the creeping rise of a growing Islamophobia.
2011 will therefore be more than an anniversary. It will be the completion of a decade of change which will have redrawn global geopolitics like no other since the Second World War by shaking all our patterns and all our certainties.
In the days which followed what was also a world telegenic event, Michel Vinaver wrote September 11, 2001 against any sensationalism and any voyeurism. As usual, he gleans, in the American press in particular, elements of the story of the disaster, gathers them, cuts them up and interweaves them like so many echo chambers to the new world which dawns.
As usual, he invents a score of words in the manner of a Bach cantata where testimonies, official speeches, propaganda texts, journalistic reactions mingle without hierarchy, without a priori judgment, without obvious link of cause and effect. Nothing but raw materials which by their arrangement disturb the readers, surprise them and therefore displace them in their perception of the drama.
By staging, ten years later, this play which was thought and written in the energy of immediacy and without any other pretension than to fix the event naked, outside of any commentary, I want to question the present. Open questions about the future, the next decade, and not remember.
On the stage, none of the endless images of planes hitting steel on this beautiful New York morning and the explosions that followed: aliveness, still throbbing with contradictions and uncertainties; a choir made up of young people flooding a beautiful stage open to an energetic and vital oratorio.
They were between 6 and 9 years old at the time of the incident. What do they remember? How did this mark, build, accompany or pursue them as they grew up?
I wanted to work with high schools in Seine-Saint-Denis because it is a department that I know very well and because it is a territory with a strong social, religious and ethnic diversity. Convinced that it is precisely this diversity that will nourish the work of the stage and the setting in body of this theater of words which Vinaver confides to us that it can make think of the Passions of J.-S. Bach.
A group of professional actors from my company, seasoned in working with amateurs and in Vinaver's dramaturgy, will supervise and follow the young beginner actors throughout the school year to progress little by little towards the passage to the stage.
I also wanted to share this creation with the choreographer Rachid Ouramdane whose scenic research intersects with my questions for this show. For several years, Rachid's work has been digging into the notion of the poetics of testimony which seeks to flee “thesis theater” and defines his company as a place of artistic reflection on our contemporary identities.
Together and in the complementarity of our views and our practices, we will start from this confrontation of ages, experiences and bodies on the set to capture the spectator in his discovery or his rediscovery of what was the orality of September 11, 2001. Like an original matrix from which still result today acts and positions that build our daily lives.
To step away from the drama and the spectacular and question together what is changing, the advent of a "tout monde," as explained by Edouard Glissant.
Overcome the pain and seize the occasion of the anniversary date to pose a strong and necessary artistic act on a theater set.
Make the last line resonate: "And now and now and now".
Arnaud Meunier, May 26, 2010
The director: Arnaud Meunier
Born in 1973 in Bordeaux, he founded the Compagnie de la Mauvais Graine in 1997.
As an educator, he regularly speaks at the National School of Actors of the National Theater of Brittany or at the Classes of the Comédie de Reims and directs professional training courses in several national drama centers.
He was director of the Comédie de Saint-Etienne, National Dramatic Center from 2011 to 2021.
Trilingual (French, German, English), he also works internationally and for Operas as a director or playwright.
He was appointed director of the MC2 in Grenoble in 2021.
Interview with Arnaud Meunier
The choreographer: Jean-Baptiste André
Born in Reims in 1979, Jean-Baptiste André founded the W association in 2002 to develop projects focused on contemporary circus.
He created several shows including “Intérieur nuit” (2004), “Comme en plein jour” (2006), “Qu'après en être revenu” (2010), and at the same time developed a repertoire of small pieces.
Winner of the Villa Médicis Hors Les Murs program, he stayed in Japan and set up a creation “Faces Cachées / Kakusareta Men” with two Japanese artists (2005), at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media.
He has collaborated with choreographers but also artists from several other disciplines, and works regularly with the South African visual artist Robin Rhode.
Interview with Jean-Baptiste André
Author: Michel Vinaver
Born in Paris in 1927, Michel Vinaver started out in literature by publishing two novels with Gallimard, Lataume in 1950 and L'Objecteur in 1951 (which won the Prix Fénéon).
From 1953 to 1980, he was a senior executive, then Managing Director of Gillette France. He carried out his work as an executive and that of a writer simultaneously.
His first play, Les Coréens, was premiered in 1956 by Roger Planchon. He then wrote Les Huissiers (1958) and Iphigénie Hôtel (1960) which evoke the Algerian war.
He also signs adaptations of works by Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Dekker, Gorki, Erdman, Botho Strauss.
He wrote the play Bettencourt boulevard in 2014 for which he received a Molière nomination for living francophone author.
Interview with Michel Vinaver
The 5 actors
Elsa Imbert / actress
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
She works regularly with the Compagnie de la Mauvaise Graine and has appeared in several productions by Arnaud Meunier, including: Tori no tobu takasa, adaptation of Michel Vinaver's Par-aboard by Oriza Hirata, a show created in Tokyo in the spring of 2009 and performed in Paris at the Théâtre de la Ville / Les Abbesses. Other company shows she has participated in include En quête de Bonheur, Gens de Seoul by Oriza Hirata and Croisades by Michel Azama. She also played in La la la, an opera in songs, conducted by Geoffroy Jourdain and directed by Benjamin Lazar.
Thierry Vu Huu / actor
He works in particular with Frédérique Aufort, Maïté Fossen, Olivier Charneux, Philippe Minyana, Michel Cerda, Robert Cantarella, Gilbert Rouvière, Didier Ruiz, Colette Alexis, Alain Béhar, Christian Esnay. He was Arnaud Meunier's assistant for Tori no Tobu Takasa (after Michel Vinaver's Par-aboard).
He directs theatrical expression workshops for adolescents and adults, among others, at the University of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, at the House of Gesture and Image in Paris, at the Zinc Theater in Béziers, at the Jules College Vallès in Choisy-le-Roi, at the Maison pour tous du Vert Galant. He graduated from DE Theater.
Nathalie Matter / actress and responsible for the general coordination of the workshops
She has worked with Arnaud Meunier since the creation of the Compagnie de la Mauvaise Graine, and plays in almost all of his shows, including Tori no tobu takasa. She assists Arnaud Meunier on several productions and for several years has been in charge of awareness-raising actions around the company's creations.
She regularly lends her voice to the various projects of the artists of Nogo Voyages. In 2003 and 2004, she directed Couple à trois by Barry Hall and Histoire d’amour (dernier chapitre) by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Teta Veleta based on writings and poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Philippe Durand / actor
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
He first worked a lot for television and cinema. In recent years he has performed almost exclusively in the theater. He has participated in the work of the Compagnie de la Mauvaise Graine very regularly since 2002. Among the last pieces he has performed under the direction of Arnaud Meunier, there is Tori no tobu takasa, an adaptation of Michel Vinaver's Par-dessus bord by Oriza Hirata, En quête de Bonheur, and King by Michel Vinaver. He had also played in 2005, in Iphigénie Hôtel and À la renverse, two other plays by Michel Vinaver, directed by the author.
Stéphane Piveteau / actor
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
An early desire for theater, encouraged by numerous encounters which confirmed a taste for writings, scenic and textual; a relationship to the present to share with others. Favoring long-term collective adventures, he has worked with Arnaud Meunier since 2006. During the 2010/2011 season, he took over the show En Quête de Bonheur, on tour in Algeria and France, as well as the creation Mô, by and directed by Alain Béhar.
The choreographer: Rachid Ouramdane
Born in Nîmes in 1971, he graduated from the National Center for Contemporary Dance in Angers.
Since his first pieces created within the association Fin Novembre, which he co-directed with Julie Nioche from 1996 to 2006, Rachid Ouramdane's work is often at the crossroads of dance and the visual arts. In 2007, he founded L'A. as a place of artistic reflection on contemporary identities.
Having become an associate artist at the Théâtre de Gennevilliers, he irrigates the reality of the city with his questions. His creations are regularly represented in France and internationally. As of September 2010, he is associate artist at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.
He was appointed director of the Théâtre national de Chaillot in 2021.
Text: Michel Vinaver
Directed by: Arnaud Meunier assisted by Mélanie Mary
Choreography: Jean-Baptiste André with the help of Rachid Ouramdane
Scenography: Damien Caille-Perret Costumes: Anne Autran
Light creation: Romuald Lesné
Sound creation: Benjamin Jaussaud
General manager: Frédéric Gourdin
Coordinator of artistic workshops: Nathalie Matter
Educational and cultural project: Citoyenneté Jeunesse Association under the direction of Jean-Michel Gourden
In charge of relations with the partners for Citoyenneté Jeunesse: Sabrina Benhamouche
Administration for Citoyenneté Jeunesse: Catherine Teiro
Project managers / Citoyenneté Jeunesse: Carolina Cordova, Aurélie Leprette and Claire Jarreau
Editorial advisor: Fabien Spillmann
Press: Nicole Czarniak / Agence La Passerelle
Sponsorship and partnerships: Patrick Marijon, Chloé Béron / Kanju
Production manager: Karine Branchelot assisted by Sabrina Fuchs, Yvon Parnet and Delphine Prouteau
With: Philippe Durand, Elsa Imbert, Nathalie Matter, Stéphane Piveteau, Thierry Vu Huu
and high school students from three establishments in Seine-Saint-Denis, the Évariste Galois high school in Noisy-le-Grand, the Voillaume high school in Aulnay-sous-Bois and the Jean Renoir high school in Bondy: Diana Abiassi, Yassine Abid, Sabrina Ait Houmad, Sidra Aslam, Massim Assoumane, Fatih Ausar, Safa Belmokhtar, Mouna Benmoussa, Sabrina Bessalem, Zeïneb Boughzov, Abdimanaf Boujida, Laura Calleeuw, Marion Charruyer, Walid Chermak, Mathusha Christian, Ibrahim Diane, Djess, Tahirouelle Diombera Ettaoufiq, Loïc Ferret, Dahlia Habibi, Antoine Herlin, Jacqueline Inimgba, Warren Issaadi Achour, Sharoz Kakar, Ibrahim Kouma Sory, Maxime Levêque, Leslie Lourenço, Maive Louvila, Sébastien Marteaux, Caroline Masson, Steven Naudin, Frédéric Pereira De Almeunida, Sory , Priscilla Saez, Guideallah Sakal, Soleine Sandja, Christopher Sandot, Frédérico Semedo Rocha, Kandee Soumare Hi, Julie Suner, Maroua Telouine, Soumail Traore
Production: Compagnie de la Mauvaise Graine (approved by the DRAC Île-de-France - Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Île-de-France region) / Citoyenneté / Veilleur de Nuit Production
Co-production: La Comédie de Saint-Étienne - National drama center / Théâtre de la Ville - Paris / Le Forum - Scène conventionnée by Blanc-Mesnil.
A project initiated by Jean-Charles Morisseau with the collaboration of Fabien Spillmann
With the support of :
the Île-de-France Region, the Department of Seine-Saint-Denis, DIADEIS, the Embassy of the United States of America - Paris, the National Agency for Social Cohesion and Equal Opportunities , the SFR Foundation and the DRAC Île-de-France - Ministry of Culture and Communication.
And with the help of CENTQUATRE, the Espace Michel Simon in Noisy-le-Grand, the Théâtre de la Commune d'Aubervilliers and the Rectorate of the Académie de Créteil.
Acknowledgments: Christine Morel, Danièle Labadie, Valérie Chevalier and Silvano Ricci (teachers and principal of the Évariste Galois high school in Noisy-le-Grand); Marie-Laure Basuyaux, Mohammed Nabi, Antoine Branthomme, Cécile Garnier, Caroline Abiven and François Tomasi (teachers and principal of the Voillaume high school in Aulnay-sous-Bois); Muriel Tiano, Didier Karkel, Géraldine Mars, Hélène Cumin, Philippe Destelle, Denise Revire, Magalie Roussel and Fernand Nasari (teachers and principal of the Jean Renoir high school in Bondy) and the whole team of the Comédie de Saint-Étienne.
Michel Vinaver's text 11 Septembre 2001 / September 11 2001 has been published by L'Arche.