Enzo Cormann

Enzo Cormann


“Elaborating a form at the heart of chaos is similar to humming, a child’s continuous singing in the threatening darkness: it is a way to keep panic at bay, not to lose ground, not to become mad… This may justify my obsession with rigour in structure and frame as well as the extremely” literary” quality of my writing: I do not give utterance to the prose of the world, I work hard on it, I could almost say I fight with it. I am (…) very partial to the notion of “acoustic territory”, also because it is such a tiny one! Easy to take along with you everywhere you go. And it is a territory with no walls, no actual borders. It is both singular and porous. So in that sense, it opens up on new possibilities, it is constantly within you. This is the stability of the self within the instability of points of view, of focuses (or “angles of attack”), of enunciatory strategies. Humming is the basic tactics of becoming. (…) A work of art is not a house – even less a monument -, but a process. (…) I do not write to be acknowledged, but to know. (…) I am only passing through, I am just a nomad.”
(Extract from the interview with Christina Mirjols, in REGISTRES, Hors-série «Enzo Cormann, le mouvementeur», Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, 2010, 206 p.)

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Enzo Cormann was born in 1953. He lives now in Saillans, Drôme (France). Writer, director, jazz poet, teacher… He is the author of about thirty plays and texts destined to musical scene, translated and played in many countries. In France, most of his plays are published at Editions de Minuits. Some discs testify to his jazzistic work, and in particular together with saxophonist Jean-Marc Padovani, he leads scenic adventure and label “La Grande Ritournelle” with. Also novelist, he has recently published a novelistic tryptic at Editions Gallimard : “Le Testament de Venus” (2006), “Surfaces sensibles” (2007), “Vita Nova Jazz” (2011). Senior lecturer, he teaches at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre (ENSATT), in Lyon, within he manages Dramatic Writing department.
Full documentation on : http://cormann.net

Theatre works
1983 / Credo; first staged: 1983, Théatre de l’Athénée, Paris ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1982
1984 / Le rôdeur ; first staged: 1984 Théatre 13, Paris ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1982 Rěves de Kafka, published by Avant-Scène n° 755 Corps perdus, Ké voï ? Avant-Scène n° 777.
1986 / Le roman prométhée, published by éditions Papiers/Actes Sud, Paris 1986.
1989 / Berlin, ton danseur est la mort; first staged: 1989, Sarrebrück; published by Editions Théâtrales, Paris, 1994
1984 / Noises; first staged: 1984, Théâtre Ouvert, Paris ; publié chez Théâtre Ouvert, Paris 1984
1987 / Cabale; first staged: 1987, Stadtheater Cologne RFA
1985 / Exils; first staged: 1985 Théatre de la Bastille, Paris ; published by Avant-Scène n° 755
1985 / H.P. (play for the radio); France Culture, 1985. 1986 / Thérèse desqueyroux, d’après François Mauriac ; first staged: 1986, Théatre National de Strasbourg.
1985 / Corps perdus; first staged: 1985, Maison de la Culture du Havre ; published by Avant-Scène n° 770.
1986 / Sang et eau; première création 1986, Théatre de l’Ouest Lyonnais ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1986
1987 / W.F., d’après William Faulkner; first staged: 1987, Théâtre des Ateliers, Lyon.
1987 / Palais Mascotte; first staged: 1988, Théâtre de la Ville / Théâtre de la Bastille, Paris ; published by éditions Autrement, Paris 1987.
1989 / Sade, concert d’enfers; first staged: 1989, Théâtre de la Tempête, Paris; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1989
1992 / Takiya! Tokaya!; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1992.
1992 / Ames sœurs ; first staged : 1996, Espace Kiron, Paris; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1992.
1993 / La plaie et le couteau; first staged: 1993, Comédie de Caen/ Théâtre de la Chamaille / Avignon ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1993.
1992 – 1995 / Le dit de jésus marie joseph; public reading by the author, 1992 – 1995; published by Editions Théâtrales (petites pièces d’auteurs), Paris 1998.
1995 / Vortex; first staged: 1995, Alès.
1995 / Le dit de l’imparfaite, France Culture.
1995 / Diktat; first staged: 1995, Festival d’Avignon / France Culture 95 ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1995
1997 / Toujours l’orage; first staged: 1997 Théâtre de la Tempête, Paris; Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse; published by Éditions de Minuit, 1997.
1998 / Le bousier.
1998 / Ils sont deux désormais sur cette terre immense, pour Amnesty International; first public presentation: 1998, Théâtre de l’Odéon, Paris; published by Amnesty/Actes Sud, 1998.
1998 / Je m’appelle; published by Éditions de Minuit, 2008. Répétition publique, impromptu pour 13 acteurs
2000 / Ensatt; first staged: 2001, La Rampe, Grenoble
2003 / Cairn; first staged: Théâtre des Célestins de Lyon, Théâtre de la Commune à Aubervilliers ; published by Éditions de Minuit 2003 2003 / Mingus, Cuernavaca, published by Editions Rouge Profond, 2003.
2004 / La révolte des anges; first staged: 2004, Théâtre National de la Colline, Paris ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 2004.
2006 / L’autre; first staged: 2007, Théâtre National de la Colline, Paris ; published by Éditions de Minuit, 2006. Room service, in “Le jeu d’histoires libres”, with Fabrice Melquiot and Pauline
2009 / Sales, published by L’Arche éditeur, Paris 2009.
2009 / Moleskine, in “L’argent”, L’avant-scène théâtre – La Comédie-Française, published by coll. Les Petites Formes de la Comédie-Française, Paris, 2009
2010 / Le dit de l’impétrance; first staged: 2010 Maison de l’Arbre
2012 / Bluff; first staged: 2011, CDN Angers et CDR Vire et Colmar ; published : Solitaires Intempestifs, 2012
2013 / Hors-jeu; published: Solitaires Intempestifs, 2013.

Gérard Smec, a 55-year old chartered engineer, has been unemployed since the takeover of his company. Registered at Jobstore – a job centre for the unemployed – he has been subjected to the implicit laws of the job market for two years and has obviously lost any social place he could pretend to. He is now “ offside” after a thirty-year career and realizes that he is gradually fading from his age group picture. The play is inspired from real facts, in particular the assassination of Klaus Herzberg, the job agency manager of Verden, by Werner Brauerner, a job-seeker that was no longer eligible. It shows the different levels of social disqualification as so many steps towards a final disaster.

-Extracts from HORS-JEU

Coming back:
Job Store, Manager’s Office. The Manageress is taking her seat at her desk and her personal assistant, Janis, is handing her mail to sign.

Smec, to the audience, as the Manageress is signing the mail: first of all you have to help me I am dead I want to be heard again
once upon a time there was an event
something is shattering a man stands out from the crowd
public opinion stirred by emotion headlines official statements
TV channel dinner time the president of the republic demands economic measures
I won’t tolerate this anymore he says
a couple of pensioners eating blanquette de veau/veal stew listening to the head of state they roughly know what it’s all about
but the event cannot be foreseen or expected
the event is offside
( a pause)
the event being discussed that night, I was its main protagonist
I was that guy that will be in the headlines the following day
newsitems in inside pages will describe me as a loving partner
pleasant and competent colleague friendly neighbor average citizen
some bad photos will show me smiling at the camera a bit awkward a bit blurred
( a pause)
I remember smiling at the camera twenty years ago
joking with my ex-wife or her brother
or her brother’s wife taking the picture
could be Christmas Easter mid-term Break could be
summer in Corsica winter in Senegal
Sunday afternoon in November too much to drink over lunch
I remember smiling at the camera and thinking
maybe this time yes maybe this time at last maybe right now
maybe the picture will give me a kind of answer to the questions that nag our lives
how do you see me what do you expect from me
am I good enough respectable worthy
but the picture was blurred
only showed empty spaces between heads empty spaces
between people
my wife her brother or her brother’s wife taking pictures of empty spaces
showing admiring pictures of empty spaces
being so true to life
blurred but so recognizable
it is so you
(a pause)
something can occur but only the victims can perceive it
in group pictures everyone that belongs to the group can smile at the camera
but some will never be in the picture
not being in the picture when you smiled at the camera with everyone is a very painful experience
even more painful when those who are in the picture pretend you were there
of course you are in the picture you smiled at the camera like the rest of us
the thing is someone who does not appear in the group picture is not in the picture indeed
but the fact that he or she is not in the group picture is not recognized as such
it is not even considered a fact as he or she smiled at the camera in the company of all the other group members who are definitely in the picture
those who do not appear in group pictures are therefore not only invisible but guilty
vaguely scandalous
they are wrong to think they are what they are that is invisible
when all the others assert they are as they should be
that is as everyone else is
that is as they themselves are
that is being in the frame
(a pause. Janis leaves the room with the signed mail)
how much is a man worth
a man worth being a man
at the end of the month my payslip brought an undecipherable coded answer gross net bonuses and deductions
what is the price of a life
of my life
stupid shocking childish questions
vain questioning anyway as
you never ever get any answer whatever the question

The situation:
Same place
Manager: sorry no time see that with your coach
Smec: the coach claims he is only applying the rules, quote
I ask who sets the rules
He says management does then he watches the screen
Plays with the mouse nods makes noises with his mouth
Manager: what’s your problem
Smec: the problem is right in front of you, Ms
The world has no other problem but me obviously
The world would go perfectly round without the problematic existence of a Gérard Smec
Manager: were you ever told such things, Mr Smec
Smec: I was very clearly given that impression
Manager: at Jobstore
Smec: I am not complaining about Jobstore employees here but about my own situation, Ms
Manager: you should not only be a passive spectator in this situation
Smec: all active all responsible sure I know the jingle here
Besides this absurd situation seriously unnerves the chartered engineer specialized in a+b equations
Not so much though as to make him believe in Father Christmas
Or in the reality of job vacancies
Manager: yet you are a job-seeker Mr Smec
Smec: the only thing I am is unemployed
Manager: but you do wish to find a new job am I right
Smec: when I was a kid I wished I could become a world champion
Can’t remember which sport
I lost my job two years ago due to the takeover of France Systèmes by Machine Man
Chartered engineer research and development giving entire satisfaction
But the shareholder does believe in Father Christmas
He wants 15 percent per year twice as much if possible
I know employee shareholders that will end asking for their own lay-offs
Manager: we are getting off topic here, Mr Smec
Smec: I’m afraid we’re not, Ms
For the chartered engineer has been down-sized
To the greatest satisfaction of shareholders and Father Christmas.

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