I had the joy of taking part in the previous stage of this project. That allowed me to meet other European playwrights, to confront other realities within the same practice and, no matter how strong our cultural differences and singular our artistic voices, to re-examine what connects us, and what the theatre arts have brought us. I was able to affirm the European dimension of my texts and my imagination. In 2021, a commission from the National Theater of Genoa for the G8 cultural project was the happiest consequence and the most direct expression of this.
This new stage of the project, in which I’ll take part in several creative writing workshops together with another European playwright, is first a way to reafffirm my connection with this Fabulamundi community, so close to my heart, and to build upon it. At a time when the question of our geographic, historic and moral limits is again raised with violence and pain, I see these moments to come as a space of precious exchange, a creative sharing of our imaginations – a modest and concrete way to weave a common history, comprised of a multiplicity of perspectives and narratives.
Nathalie Fillion is a writer, director, and originally trained as an actor. Her company is supported by France’s Ministry of Culture. She directs her own plays and her work is supported by many of France’s national theatres as well as other prestigious stages. Alex Legrand, her breakout play in 2004, was acclaimed by critics and the public. It played over 100 times and is published by L’Harmattan. Pling! conte musical (Pling! A musical tale), for a narrator, 30 musicians, and a child choir was presented at the National Theatre of Lorient. À l’Ouest premiered in 2012 at the Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon and the Théâtre du Rond-Point à Paris. It received the Fondation Barrière prize in 2011 and was given a public reading by the Comédie Française. The play was translated into a number of languages (including in English as Out There) and raised Fillion’s international profile. Sacré Printemps! concert théâtral (Sacred Spring! A theatrical concert), commissioned by Radio France, a piece for two pianists and an actress, was created at Centquatre in Paris in 2013 and played all over France. Leçon de choses, pièce pour salle de classe (Object Lesson, a play for the classroom) was commissioned by Théâtre Gérard Philipe and directed by Christophe Rauck in 2014. She created Must go on, pièce à danser (Must go on, a piece to be danced) with choreographer Jean-Marc Hoolbecq at Montréal’s Usine C in 2016. It also played at the Cartoucherie de Vincennes and is published by Lansman Éditeur. Plus grand que moi (Bigger than me), created in 2017, played at the Festival d’Avignon 2018 and at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris in 2019. It is still on tour across France in the playwright’s own staging. It was also produced in Tel Aviv, Valparaiso, and Buenos Aires in 2021, and is published by Les Solitaires Intempestifs. Spirit, comédie occulte du siècle 21 (Spirit, an occult comedy for Century 21), which she created in 2018 at the Centres Dramatiques Nationaux de Limoges, Lille and Nancy, has been translated into many languages and presented at the Teatro Nacional Cervantes in Buenos Aires and the Dramatyscny in Warsaw. In 2021, she wrote and directed In Situ, rêverie du siècle 21 (In Situ, rêverie of Century 21) at the Teatro Gustavo Modena (Italy), as part of the G8 Project initiated by the Théâtre National de Gênes (Genoa), which commissioned nine international authors and in which she represented France. Translated into many languages and performed internationally, her plays have been supported by the Royal Court Theatre in London and by the Comédie Française, which commissioned the short play Les Descendants (The Descendents), in 2007; it is published by l’Avant-Scène. She is regularly invited to Montréal, including several invitations to the Festival Jamais Lu. She wrote the libretto to Lady Godiva, Opéra pour un flipper (Lady Godiva, opera for a pinball machine) which was produced at the Amphithéâtre of the Opéra Bastille in 2005 and remounted at the Théâtre du Chatelet in 2012. As a founder member of the Coopérative d’Écriture (Writers’ Collective) she participated in many collective writing projects. She is frequently invited to give masterclasses in France and abroad, including a workshop in the summer school of the Academia Silvio d’Amico in 2019. In France she teaches at several national theatre schools including, since its inception, the ESCA in Asnières; the École du Nord in Lille; the ENSATT in Lyon; and the Académie in Limoges. Since 2012 she has directed a workshop at the Summer University of the European festival La Mousson d’Eté, and more recently at the Université de La Sorbonne Nouvelle. In July 2016 she was named a Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministère de la Culture of France. Her most recent piece Sur le cœur (On the Heart) is a play with music for three female and one male actor. The text was read at the 2022 Festival d’Avignon in the cloister of the Palais de Papes as part of the Souffle d’Avignon reading series of original works. A full production will premiere in January 2024.
Alex Legrand has just written a provocative book in which he settles some scores with his family. The book is coming out today. The play begins today. Alex is in a total state of panic. His parents are about to arrive at his house. They know nothing about their son’s book or that he has assassinated them in a work of fiction. In real life, they are just coming over for tea to meet his new fiancée, Annabel Lee… Alex Legrand makes a case for the complexity of human relationships without judging or condemning. It is also a story about words that are spoken or withheld, and words that are life-creating or life-condemning.
A family of today: grandparents, grandchildren, the rejects of separated spouses still grafted onto the family tree, and a son, Jean, the hazy center of this constellation, a depressed man in his forties propelled into euphoria by a new anti-depressant… While the global markets collapse and the grandparents’ sound investments dissolve, Jean, as careless as the markets are perturbed, prepares to sell off the family’s properties. Upon this canvas, Nathalie Fillion interweaves the comic and the dramatic, the playful and the serious, the political and the personal, giving the picture, in epic dimension, of our present time.
Paris, spring 2014. Through a mysterious real estate agent, three sisters, impoverished intellectuals, move into the apartment once occupied by Lenin in 1909. In the apartment they are confronted with a series of eerie occurrences… Is the apartment haunted? Or possessed by other stories?… In a normal three-room apartment, two timelines, two parallel stories will cross baths, collide, interfere with one another. The ghosts of the past confront visions of the future, and both eras are the ghost-echo of the other, its distorted mirror image. The historical figures put into question present convictions and commitments, while the contemporary characters unsettle the certainties held by those of the past. Caught in a time warp, these beings, separated by a century of history, are forced to come together over the course of an endless night.
A contemporary family, a motley reconstituted family : grandparents, grandchildren, the rejects of separated spouses still grafted onto the family tree, and a son, Jean, middle manager, the center of this constellation, who supports everyone’s needs as best he can. But Jean, frugal and depressed fifty-something, just switched doctors… Suddenly propelled into euphoria by a new antidepressant, he stands on the verge of selling all of the family’s properties. As the global market collapses and the grandparents’ sound investments dissolve, everyone begs Madeleine, grandmother and pillar rock of the family, to put her nose in a business that doesn’t concern her: her son’s finances, and to bring back Jean to his senses. Blending playful and dramatic, intimate and political; Out There questions everyone’s relations with having and being and creates the portrait of three lost generations in a rich country in crisis.