Director Fabrice Murgia digs through the journals, short stories and essays of the American poet Sylvia Plath on a quest for this brilliant artist’s soul. To reflect on this female voice, he conceived a work layered with the numerous nuances and ambiguities of Sylvia Plath’s personality.
The originality of this show is its melding of theatre and film. Throughout the performance spectators watch in real time the creation of a film projected on a big screen. The camera work highlights the tearing apart of the artist, and follows the movements of the different Sylvias from the beginning to the end. Plath’s personal and professional demons are exposed in a way that makes us feel we’ve entered the mind of a woman exhausted by her creative instincts. Nevertheless, she adamantly denies her need for a ‘normal’ life, a world hostile to talented women.
Treading the fine line between a theatrical production and filmmaking, the actors must remain aware of both the stage and cameras that watch them incessantly. This means that they are stage acting with their bodies and screen acting with their faces, as they are mostly seen in close-up. On stage, the action takes place on a film set that shows both a film in the making and backstage activity: a bridge between “being” and “portraying,” between dream and reality. And it is this ‘double’ acting, coupled with the staging’s starkness, that is the strong suit of the show, whose costumes, set design and props pay homage to 1950s pop culture.
Music: An Pierlé
Film directing and camera: Juliette Van Dormael
Set design: Rudy Sabounghi
Costumes: Marie-Hélene Balau
Video and lighting design: Giacinto Caponio
Production: Cie Artara
Co-production: Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles, le Théâtre de Namur, Central – La Louviere, MARS – Mons Arts de la Scene, la Fondation Mons2025 – 2018-2019 biennial, Printemps des Comédiens - Montpellier, La Comédie de Saint-Etienne – Centre Dramatique National, Théâtre Jean-Vilar de Vitry-sur-Scene, Le Carreau – Scene Nationale de Forbach et de l’Est mosellan, Théâtres en Dracénie – Draguignan, La Coop asbl, Shelter Prod