“Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, in a spectacular form that occupies the whole theatrical space, features Albert Camus’ The State of Siege, a rarely mounted and particularly alarming piece in the current political context…”
—Toute La Culture
UCLA’s UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) presents internationally celebrated theater company Théâtre de la Ville – Paris in L’Etat de siège (The State of Siege), a modern myth created by Nobel Prize-winning author Albert Camus and staged by leading avant-garde French director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Oct. 27 at Royce Hall. Single tickets for $49–$99 are now available online at cap.ucla.edu, via Ticketmaster, by phone 310-825-2101 and at the UCLA Central Ticket Office.
When a comet appears in the sky over the fortified city of Cádiz, Nada, the nihilistic town drunkard warns that it is an evil omen. The stir among the people is quashed by a government edict forbidding them to acknowledge that they have seen a comet, and a chorus parrots, “Nothing is happening, nothing will happen.” Thus begins The State of Siege.
Originally staged in 1948 by Jean-Louis Barrault, this rare piece was restaged by Théâtre de la Ville – Paris and premiered in March 2017 in Paris. A fantastical yet frightening political allegory about the necessity of resistance in the face of authoritarianism, The State of Siege is a distorted reflection of a nightmarish future in which a city is reduced to silence and submission under the leadership of a character called La Peste (“The Plague”). The Plague brings order, administration, lists, records, statistics and persecution — until a young man, Diego, organizes a revolt.
“As Albert Camus recently showed it to us in The State of Siege, it would be so much better to approach changing times with hope; with momentum; with heart instead of fear; with even a bit more joy,” Demarcy-Mota wrote about presenting the work this season.
Hailed by Sceneweb as “a stunning Kafkaesque spiral,” Le Monde raved, “The play is an allegory of the contamination of a fascist ideology to which Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota gives great theatrical strength. The production is beautifully staged and well thought, bending towards tragic grotesque. The ensemble includes two exceptional stage monsters, Serge Maggiani and, above all, Hugues Quester, who has no equal to instill a razor blade anxiety and strangeness.”
Camus, whose references were often in the Spanish theater of the Golden Age (he translated some of Calderón’s plays) wrote: “My proclaimed purpose was to strip theater of psychological speculation and loudly echo on our whispering stages today’s great protests that weigh on or put the masses on the move.”
Created in 1968 under the auspices of the City of Paris, Théâtre de la Ville has become one of the most important cultural landmarks in Paris today. The U.S. premiere of their acclaimed production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros in Sept. 2012 at Royce Hall was one of the highlights of that season.
Funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant Endowment with additional support from Anne-Marie Spataru, Deborah Irmas and Diane Levine.
Performed in French with English supertitles. Approximate running time 1 hour and 50 minutes; no intermission.
CAP UCLA’s 2017-18 Theater series continues with William Kentridge’s chamber opera Refuse the Hour (Nov. 17–18, Royce Hall), Poor Dog Group in Group Therapy(Jan. 11–13, Little Theater, UCLA), and Ann Hamilton and SITI Company with the theater is a blank page (April 28 to May 12, Royce Hall).
Program: The celebrated troupe of Paris’s Théâtre de la Ville returns to CAP UCLA after the smash success of its 2012 performance of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros at Royce Hall. Under the inspired direction of Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, the company visits with a new production of Albert Camus’ fantastical yet frightening political allegory about the necessity of resistance in the face of authoritarianism. Performed in French with English supertitles.
Serge Maggiani, Hugues Quester, Alain Libolt, Valérie Dashwood, Matthieu Dessertine, Jauris Casanova, Philippe Demarle, Sandra Faure, Sarah Karbasnikoﬀ, Hannah Levin Seiderman, Gérald Maillet, Walter N’Guyen & Pascal Vuillemot
Produced by Théâtre de la Ville-Paris. Co-produced by les Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, Théâtre national de Bretagne, and BAM. The US tour of Stage of Siege has been made possible through support from Institut Français, City of Paris and the Cultural services of the French Embassy in the USA.
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) is dedicated to the advancement of the contemporary performing arts in all disciplines — dance, music, spoken word and theater as well as emerging digital and collaborative platforms — by leading artists from around the globe. Part of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, CAP UCLA curates and facilitates exposure to artists who are creating extraordinary works of art and fosters a vibrant learning community both on and off the UCLA campus. The organization invests in the creative process by providing artists with financial backing and time to experiment and expand their practices through strategic partnerships and collaborations. As an influential voice within the local, national and global arts communities, CAP UCLA connects this generation to the next in order to preserve a living archive of our culture. CAP UCLA is also a safe harbor for cultural expression and artistic exploration, giving audiences the opportunity to experience real life through characters and stories on stage, and giving artists an avenue to challenge assumptions and advance new ways of seeing and understanding the world in which we live.