Suddenly Last Summer

Suddenly, last summer, something broke. Up until then, everything in Sebastian Venable’s life was as normal, as regular as a natural phenomena. Each summer came and went, twenty five of them to be precise, each resembling the last. With the arrival of summer, Sebastian would travel abroad with his mother, Violet. In her words, their relationship was of a near-divine nature, dream-like and timeless. And each of these prolonged stays was be the occasion for Sebastian to add a poem - one per year - to his sole literary endeavour, his Poems of Summer collection. For he was a poet, after all.

Such is Violet’s account. Such is the truth.
There cannot be, must not be any other.

Sebastian died, suddenly, at Cabeza de Lobo, last summer. Under what circumstances? Violet was not with her son at the time, for once. For what reasons? Something remains unsaid. Something should definitely not be as it is.

In the eyes of his mother, Sebastian’s death is not a matter for investigation. The death itself is a full-stop, bringing to an abrupt, tragic end the poet’s existence, perhaps, but without altering its meaning in any way. It also constitutes a blind spot, since Violet cannot admit that the real Sebastian does not coincide with the unimpeachable icon to which she vows near-fanatical devotion.

By traveling without her for the first time, her son escapes from her. Moreover, he betrays her by accepting the company of his cousin, Catherine. Now, the young female rival must pay the price. Anyhow, it will be for her own good: is she not out of her mind? Once she has been committed, lobotomized, Catherine will once again be at peace with herself... and will stop spreading terrible, false, crazed rumours about Sebastian’s death.

Catherine recounts the death of Sebastian in such a way that it becomes a crater from the depths of which the real truth might surface, laying waste to all in its path.

“The truth will set you free”: twentieth century American theatre has never stopped questioning this Gospel verse, and subverting it. Many major works of the era hinge upon the dramaturgy of revelation. But revelation can also be blinding, traumatic even, when the truth that it unveils is not that of hard facts, but that of a psyche, which thus gives access to, as Stéphane Braunschweig adds, “the deepest strata of reality”. This is precisely the point at which the theatre director’s interest arises, when what is true or real is no longer grounded in the “objective” story, but in our innermost lives, rooted as it is in our very bodies: “what interests me most in Suddenly Last Summer is the way that the revelation of reality or the truth takes on a ghostly, truly horrifying appearance”. Impossible to verify, incomplete, sometimes difficult to believe and never official, it demands more to be established than brought about. It no longer allows itself to be separated from a speaking of the truth, from what we call our word of honour: an effort to articulate what being it demands, despite all the obstacles. Even at the risk of madness.

Odéon 6e

Place de l'Odéon Paris 75006 France

Odéon 6e

10 march – 14 april 2017 / Length 1h35

Suddenly Last Summer
Soudain l'été dernier

by Tennessee Williams

directed by Stéphane Braunschweig

with Jean-Baptiste Anoumon, Océane Cairaty, Virginie Colemyn, Boutaïna El Fekkak, Glenn Marausse, Luce Mouchel, Marie Rémond

new production. In French

Length 1h35

Votre venue

Odéon 6e
Access

Prices

from 6€ to 40€
More info

Booking online opens january 25th. At the booking office and by telephone from February 1st, and February 22d, 2017 for the previews.

  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
    photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
    photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Thierry Depagne
    photo © Thierry Depagne
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
    photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Thierry Depagne
    photo © Thierry Depagne
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
    photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Thierry Depagne
    photo © Thierry Depagne
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
    photo © Élizabeth Carecchio
  • Suddenly Last Summer | photo © Thierry Depagne
    photo © Thierry Depagne

Suddenly, last summer, something broke. Up until then, everything in Sebastian Venable’s life was as normal, as regular as a natural phenomena. Each summer came and went, twenty five of them to be precise, each resembling the last. With the arrival of summer, Sebastian would travel abroad with his mother, Violet. In her words, their relationship was of a near-divine nature, dream-like and timeless. And each of these prolonged stays was be the occasion for Sebastian to add a poem - one per year - to his sole literary endeavour, his Poems of Summer collection. For he was a poet, after all.

Such is Violet’s account. Such is the truth.
There cannot be, must not be any other.

Sebastian died, suddenly, at Cabeza de Lobo, last summer. Under what circumstances? Violet was not with her son at the time, for once. For what reasons? Something remains unsaid. Something should definitely not be as it is.

In the eyes of his mother, Sebastian’s death is not a matter for investigation. The death itself is a full-stop, bringing to an abrupt, tragic end the poet’s existence, perhaps, but without altering its meaning in any way. It also constitutes a blind spot, since Violet cannot admit that the real Sebastian does not coincide with the unimpeachable icon to which she vows near-fanatical devotion.

By traveling without her for the first time, her son escapes from her. Moreover, he betrays her by accepting the company of his cousin, Catherine. Now, the young female rival must pay the price. Anyhow, it will be for her own good: is she not out of her mind? Once she has been committed, lobotomized, Catherine will once again be at peace with herself... and will stop spreading terrible, false, crazed rumours about Sebastian’s death.

Catherine recounts the death of Sebastian in such a way that it becomes a crater from the depths of which the real truth might surface, laying waste to all in its path.

“The truth will set you free”: twentieth century American theatre has never stopped questioning this Gospel verse, and subverting it. Many major works of the era hinge upon the dramaturgy of revelation. But revelation can also be blinding, traumatic even, when the truth that it unveils is not that of hard facts, but that of a psyche, which thus gives access to, as Stéphane Braunschweig adds, “the deepest strata of reality”. This is precisely the point at which the theatre director’s interest arises, when what is true or real is no longer grounded in the “objective” story, but in our innermost lives, rooted as it is in our very bodies: “what interests me most in Suddenly Last Summer is the way that the revelation of reality or the truth takes on a ghostly, truly horrifying appearance”. Impossible to verify, incomplete, sometimes difficult to believe and never official, it demands more to be established than brought about. It no longer allows itself to be separated from a speaking of the truth, from what we call our word of honour: an effort to articulate what being it demands, despite all the obstacles. Even at the risk of madness.

On Video

Previews

Previews Box office opening dates Prices single-price 50%
March 8th and 9th / 20h
22th February
20€ / 14€ / 9€ / 7€ (séries 1, 2, 3, 4)

Previews at the Odéon, this is 6000 half-price seats!
From January 2017 onwards, we will be offering two half-price preview performances for long-running shows.
Know more

Credits

French translation Jean-Michel Déprats, Marie-Claire Pasquier
scenography Stéphane Braunschweig
artistic collaboration Anne-Françoise Benhamou
collaboration to the scenography Alexandre de Dardel
lights Marion Hewlett
sound Xavier Jacquot
costumes Thibault Vancraenenbroeck
vidéo Christian Volckman

production Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe

Length about 1h45

with the support of the Cercle de l’Odéon

Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams
L’auteur est représenté dans les pays de langue française par Renauld & Richardson, info@paris-mcr
en accord avec Casarotto Ramsay Ltd, London.
Soudain l’été dernier est présenté en accord avec The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee

Director

Stéphane Braunschweig

Stéphane Braunschweig est né en 1964 à Paris. Après des études de philosophie à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure, il rejoint en 1987 l’École du Théâtre National de Chaillot dirigé par Antoine Vitez, où il reçoit une formation théâtrale pendant deux ans.

En 1988, il fonde sa compagnie, Le Théâtre-Machine, avec laquelle il crée ses premiers spectacles. En 1991, au Centre Dramatique National de Gennevilliers, il les réunit en une trilogie intitulée Les Hommes de neige, pour laquelle il reçoit le Prix de la révélation théâtrale du Syndicat de la critique. Il est dès lors un invité régulier du Festival d’Automne à Paris et commence à présenter son travail dans les grandes capitales européennes (Berlin, Londres, Moscou). En 1992, à l’invitation de Stéphane Lissner, il met en scène son premier opéra au Châtelet.

Stéphane Braunschweig est directeur du Centre Dramatique National/Orléans-Loiret-Centre de 1993 à 1998. Il y crée une dizaine de spectacles qui tournent partout en France et sont accueillis dans les plus grands festivals (Automne à Paris, Avignon, Edimbourg, Istanbul, Rome), et il reçoit pour sa version intégrale du Peer Gynt d’Ibsen le prix Georges Lerminier du Syndicat de la critique. Pendant cette période, il est sollicité à l'étranger, pour l’opéra, notamment à Berlin avec son Fidelio dirigé par Daniel Barenboim, mais aussi à Bruxelles et Venise ; et pour le théâtre, il est invité en Angleterre pour un Measure for Measure de William Shakespeare, au Piccolo Teatro de Milan pour un Mercanto di Venezia du même William Shakespeare, à Munich pour un Woyzeck de Büchner qui lui vaut de recevoir le Bayerischer Theaterpreis (meilleur spectacle de théâtre de l’année en Bavière).

Stéphane Braunschweig est directeur du Théâtre National de Strasbourg et de son école de 2000 à 2008. Il y crée une formation à la mise en scène et à la dramaturgie et confirme le statut de carrefour théâtral européen du Théâtre National de Strasbourg. Parmi ses mises en scène marquantes, Brand d’Ibsen en 2005 et Tartuffe de Molière en 2008 sont couronnés par le Prix Georges Lerminier du Syndicat de la critique. Pendant cette période, il met en scène de nombreux opéras au Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, en particulier un Ring de Wagner en co-production avec le Festival de Pâques de Salzbourg et l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Berlin, dirigé par Simon Rattle. Et en décembre 2008, il crée Don Carlo de Verdi pour l'inauguration de la saison de La Scala de Milan.

Stéphane Braunschweig est directeur du Théâtre National de la Colline de 2010 à 2015. Il s’entoure d’artistes associés (Stanislas Nordey, Célie Pauthe, Caroline Guiela Nguyen). Parmi ses mises en scène, on peut citer son adaptation de Six personnages en quête d’auteur de Pirandello au Festival d’Avignon et tout dernièrement ses Géants de la montagne du même Pirandello, ses créations de l’auteur norvégien contemporain Arne Lygre, ou encore son Canard sauvage, invité par le Festival Ibsen d’Oslo et repris à la Colline en janvier 2016. À l’opéra, il signe notamment des mises en scène pour l’Opéra-Comique (Pelléas et Mélisande de Debussy) et le Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Idoménée et Don Giovanni de Mozart, Norma de Bellini).

En janvier 2016, Stéphane Braunschweig est nommé à la direction de l'Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe.

Stéphane Braunschweig, qui a signé une soixantaine de mises en scène et de scénographies tant au théâtre qu'à l'opéra, est également auteur et traducteur. Il a publié aux éditions Actes Sud un recueil de textes et d’entretiens sur le théâtre intitulé Petites portes, grands paysages, et traduit de l’allemand, de l’italien ou du norvégien des pièces de Büchner, Kleist, Brecht, Pirandello et Lygre.

 

Ses mises en scènes à l'Odéon :
Franziska de Frank Wedekind, en janvier 1996
Tartuffe de Molière, en septembre-octobre 2008
Soudain l'été dernier, de Tennessee Williams, en mars-avril 2017
 

Excerpt

Catherine.  – Où en étais-je ? Ah oui, à ce déjeuner de cinq heures de l’après-midi dans un restaurant de fruits de mer devant le port de Cabeza de Lobo, situé entre la ville et la mer, et il y avait des enfants nus tout le long de la plage qui était séparée du restaurant par une clôture en fils de fer barbelés, notre table était à moins d’un mètre de la clôture qui tenait les mendiants en respect... Il y avait des enfants nus tout le long de la plage, une bande d’enfants tout nus, affreusement maigres et noirauds, on aurait dit une volée d’oiseaux déplumés, et ils venaient se coller contre le grillage comme s’ils étaient propulsés par le vent, le vent chauffé à blanc qui venait de la mer.

Tennessee Williams : Soudain l’été dernier, trad. Jean-Michel Déprats et Marie-Claire Pasquier

On Tour

Théâtre national de Toulouse / Toulouse

Thursday March 29 2018 / 19:30
Friday March 30 2018 / 20:30
Sunday April 1 2018 / 17:00
Tuesday April 3 2018 / 20:30
Wednesday April 4 2018 / 19:30