DES VOIX… FOUND IN TRANSLATION Biennial 2014 A Festival of New French Plays and Cinema

Playwrights Foundation (PF) Cutting Ball Theater and Tides Theatre announced the Des Voix…Found In Translation Biennial 2014, a Festival of New French Plays and Cinema in San Francisco May 1-25, 2014.  Des Voix…Found In Translation is an international exchange project that initiates the translation of vanguard French and American playwrights, supporting  the presentation of their work to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Des Voix…Found In Translation features new play readings-May 8-11 at Tides Theatre and also includes: A Festival of New French Cinema May 4, 11, 18 & 25 featuring some of the most dynamic French screenwriters in this generation, concurrently at Tides Theatre; A rare “Bal Littéraire” A New Play Nightclub  on Friday May 9 at 7 PM , Hosted with Nathalie Fillion of La Coopérative d’Ecriture (Cooperative Writing) at The French American International School. Go to for the full schedule.

This San Francisco festival features new translations of provocative plays by four of the most innovative playwrights working in France today – Christophe Honoré, Leonore Confino and Riad Gahmi will be showcased with new play readings-May 8-11 at Tides Theatre. Samuel Gallet’s play COMMUNIQUÉ10 translated by Rob Melrose in the 2012 Des Voix Festival is receiving its American Premiere (May 1-25) as part of Cutting Ball Theater’s 15th Anniversary season for this Des Voix… festival. Three plays will be performed in English during the month-long Festival at Tides Theatre with COMMUNIQUÉ10 at Cutting Ball  in San Francisco.

The fabled “auteur” Christophe Honoré, (an heir apparent of the French New Wave)  Christophe Honoré‘s first play, ‘Les Débutantes,’ was performed at Avignon in 1998. Christophe, a filmmaker and screenwriter, has had many outings at Cannes, closing the fest in 2011 with ‘The Beloved,’ featuring  both Catherine Deneuve and daughter Chiara Mastroianni. He returned to Avignon with his play ‘Dionysos Impuissant’ (in 2005), with Joana Preiss and Louis Garrel playing the leads. .

Leonore Confino is known for her recently completed trilogy of plays about lifes obsessions, Her play ‘Building,’ was one of the highlights of the last Festival Off d’Avign. The second play ‘Ring’ is 17 rounds of boxing between couples, in which the actors play ten characters dealing with life as a couple. This past January, the third part of Léonore’s trilogy ‘Les Uns sur Les Autres,’ a play about a French suburban family, played at the Théâtre de la Madeleine in Paris, starring Agnès Jaoui as the exhausted mother.

Riad Gahmi is a passionate raconteur, who in a long-term collaboration with Philippe Vincent, co-writer of the spectacle/play ‘Un arabe dans mon miroir’ (An Arab in My Mirror), which is a spectacle of scenes combining theater, film, and music. The play was workshopped in Cairo and performed at various theaters in Germany, France, and New York In each country a local  actor and cast speaks in her native language, rebuilding  every time, becoming a simple witness of the war in Algeria in the Egyptian revolution through the September 11 attacks.

Samuel Gallet is an emerging writer who has made his mark as one of the most prominent young playwrights of his generation, with plays staged by top Parisian directors. His play ‘Encore Un Jour Sans’ was a finalist for the Grand Prix de Littérature Dramatique. Inspired by the 2005 Paris riots, his play ‘Communique N°10,’ was translated by Rob Melrose for the inaugural 2012 Des Voix Festival.

Playwrights Foundation’s Artistic Director Amy Mueller comments on the collaboration: “It takes a village to build a bridge across cultures, and we are thrilled to be working with two of San Francisco’s most globally minded Artistic Directors – Rob Melrose of Cutting Ball Theater and Jenifer Welch of Tides Theatre – and one of the foremost translators in the world, Laurent Muhleisen, to build this project that connects the Left Bank with the Left Coast.”  Collaborator Rob Melrose, an acclaimed translator and director observes that “These four works are simply extraordinary plays, theatrically brilliant and singular in the ways each story tackles the culture-quake of the 21st century – using a quintessentially French lens to express the universality of the current cultural zeitgeist in the West.”

The Plays

The Festival will feature Cutting Ball Theater’s American Premiere of Samuel Gallet’s ‘Communique No. 10.’ Exploring the tensions of the underclass in a city that is bursting at the seams, ‘Communique N°10′ was inspired by the 2005 Paris riots led by North African youth. Performances begin April 25 (Press Opening May 1), and the production will run through May 25. At the heart of the Festival in mid-May will be the Des Voix Festival itself, a non-stop weekend showcasing three brand new translations: Leonore Confino’s newest work ‘Les Uns Sur Les Autres,’ a fast talking, fast sleeping, fast eating, non-sensical family satire driven by an over abundance of electronic devices – the world of a proper family connected to everything but itself; Christophe Honoré’s ‘Un Jeune Se Tue,’ a disturbing and tragic nocturnal ghost story about love, death, and unearthly beings. Riad Gahmi’s darkly comedic work ‘Où Et Quand Nous Sommes Morts,’ which satirically confronts European xenophobia, anti-Arab racism and media’s sensationalist conjuring of empathy, which results in social division rather than social unity.


A series of new French cinema will run concurrently every Sunday evening (May 4, 11, 18. 25) at Tides Theatre .  Featured films are ; (Partial List)  Antonin Pertjallo, La Fille du 14 Juillet (The girl of the 14 July);and  Mila Hanson , la Pere des Mes Enfants, Love (father of my children)*. Jennifer Welch of Tides, who curates the films remarks, “Expanding the scope of the Des Voix Festival, and deepening the cultural exchange.  We are curating a series of contemporary French films that speak to American audiences, bring these voices to a community eager for new and provocative foreign cinema.” At Tides Theatre, (*programing subject to change)

Bal Littéraire

The festival features a rare Bal Littéraire  (A New Play Nightclub) on Friday, May 9th at 7 PM. This tradition is wildly popular throughout France, typically created in 48 hours by multiple writers, and performed for one evening only, is a unique hybrid of flash performance, club dancing and play reading – and includes audience participation. The Bal will will tap the talents of six writers – three French and three American – in collaboration. Hosted with Nathalie Fillion member of La Coopérative d’Ecriture, the originators of “Bal Littéraire” in France.

Festival events are scheduled throughout the month of May at three venues between Union Square and the vibrant Market Street corridor, the hub of the city’s artistic and cultural action.

Go to for the full schedule.

The goal of the  translation project is to exchange ideas and perspectives of today’s world, and to increase and deepen cultural exchanges between France and the U.S. that began began with Des Voix…Found In Translation 2012. This project is a collaboration between Playwrights Foundation, a legendary (for over 3 decades) new play development center in San Francisco, Cutting Ball Theater, named  SF’s “Best Experimental Theater Company” , and The Tides Theatre, an innovative new theater making its mark in SF Culture, and the Maison Antoine Vitez], an International Centre for Drama Translation in Paris.

The French playwrights will be in residence in San Francisco for the duration of the festival in May, and will participate in the rehearsal and performance process of their newly translated plays. Translators include Kimberley Jannarone and Erik Butler (Un Jeune Se Tue), Michelle Haner (Les Uns Sure Les Autres), and Rob Melrose (‘Communique N10′ & Où Et Quand Nous Sommes Morts), who also directs his translations. Each of the three new plays will be performed as staged readings during the festival by many of the Bay Area’s finest actors and directors. For the erudite scholarly theater-goer, the festival will also include a colloquium entitled “The Left Bank Meets The Left Coast: Transmigration of Theater and Culture”

The Paris festival is being produced by the Maison Antoine Vitez, and will be presented May 25, 2014 at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, founded by Peter Brook, and known worldwide as the place to see groundbreaking work. The Paris festival will feature translations of exceptionally gifted, early career American playwrights Rajiv Joseph, ‘Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo,’ Marcus Gardley, ‘Every Tongue Confess’ (as a radio play) and Liz Duffy Adams, ‘The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It or The Train Play’ all performed in French. Commissioned to translate these three works are Dominique Hollier (Gardley), Laurent Muhleisen (Joseph) and Isabelle Famchon (Adams).

The producers are working closely with the Cultural Services of the French Consul General in San Francisco on the presentation of the American festival.

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