Nicolas Liautard • Snow White
Based on the fairy tale by Brothers Grimm
A play for children from 7 and adults
Guest performance by La Nouvelle Compagnie
Le Théâtre Paul Eluard de Choisy-le-Roi, La Scène Watteau à Nogent sur Marne, Le Théâtre A. Malraux de Chevilly-Larue, Le Théâtre A. Dumas de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, La Ferme de Bel Ebat Théâtre de Guyancourt
Print program (PDF)
Nicolas Liautard, Concept and Director
Damien Caille-Perret, Nicolas Liautard, Sets
Bruno Rudtmann, Lighting
Damien Caille-Perret, Video, Puppets and Sets
Jacques Cassard, Sound
Séverine Thiébault, Costumes
Philippe Hertel, Georges Poirier, Cyril Cattai, Miguy Ville, Damien Costa, Animal Trainer
With Pauline Acquart, Marion Suzanne, Jürg Häring, Julien Campani and Isham Conrath
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the brothers Jacob and Willhelm Grimm, inspired by the Romantics Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, began to collect fairy tales which had previously only been passed on in oral form, publishing them for the first time in 1812 under the title Children’s and Household Tales.
They have names like The Iron Stove, The White Snake, The Three Little Men in the Woods, How Children Played Butchers Together, The Singing Bones, The Girl With No Hands, The Death Shroud, The Old Woman in the Forest, One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three-Eyes, Iron Hans, The Little Glowing Man and The Glass Coffin, and these titles in themselves are enough to conjure within us a sense of a different, darker world.
The images which evoke our innermost workings, either in a dreaming or a waking state, appear to consist of universal archetypes, patterns, structures and symbols. These include fairy tales.
They exorcise and at the same time represent an inner nature which we would not know how to control if it were released and which we seem able to examine without danger as long as it appears in this imaginary form.
Long before the invention of psychology, the alchemists knew: “Obscurum per obscurius, ignotum per ignotius” which roughly means: “Illuminate the dark through darkness, recognize the unknown through that which is known even less.”
Good fairy tales find their counterparts in their listeners. It is claimed that this is a healing process. Especially when it comes to tales of violence and cruelty. Children in particular act out the conflicts present in symbolic or coded form in the images of these stories internally. But whether they are healing or not: fairy tales belong to us.
They stem from and lead to the same source and maintain our contact with it. They address us from an uncertain past, beginning with the declaration: “Once upon a time” and raise the prospect of their protagonists’ continued vitality with the conclusion: “And if they haven’t died, then they’re still alive today!” Such formulae reinforce the impression that fairy tales no longer belong to any mortal storyteller but lead a life of their own in an eternal present.
Snow White – her skin as white as snow, her lips as red as blood and her hair as black as ebony – is certainly alive in Nicolas Liautard’s uncanny and wordless world of images, which makes an indelible impression on both children and adults alike.
Director Nicolas Liautard attracted considerable attention at last year’s Festival with his production of My Bees. A Swath. This year we have invited him to present Snow White (Blanche-Neige), created together with his own company La Nouvelle Compagnie and which was nominated for the “Molière”, France’s leading theatrical prize in the category play for children and young people. Since its premiere in 2010 it has delighted children and adults of all ages. Language barriers do not exist – this highly visual production doesn’t need any words!
Translated by David Tushingham