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13.7.16

'2666' at Avignon Festival

Roberto Bolaño's roman-fleuve 2666 was quite a sensation a few years back. Julien Gosselin has adapted that sprawling novel in play form for the Avignon Festival, a marathon viewing experience that lasts thirteen hours. Sorin Etienne recounts the experience (Avignon : 2666, onze heures trente de marathon avec le Mal, July 13) for Le Figaro (my translation):
The 11 hours of Antoine Vitez's Soulier de satin in the Cour d'honneur in 1987. The 18 hours of Thomas Jolly's Henri VI at the FabricA in 2014. Or the trilogy by Wajdi Mouawad (Littoral, Incendies, Forêts) in 2009. At the Avignon Festival, artists and viewers like marathons. This year Julien Gosselin runs long at the FabricA by adapting 2666, the novel by Chile's Roberto Bolaño, who died in 2003 before being able to finish this monster of a book (1,352 pages in the Folio edition). Eleven hours and some theater dust, cut off from the world, from 2 pm to 1 am. A labyrinthine work, an exploration of evil from Nazism up to the serial murders of Mexican women in the town of Ciudad Juarez, here renamed Santa Teresa. [...]

8 pm
"We have lost track of where we are," says a spectator in the line for drinks. "In Mexico? In Harlem? In any case, we are not in Avignon." We are also a little bit in La Réunion, because the intermission menu offers rougail with sausage and rice, the lone alternative to the salads. Good news, the restroom lines have been moving. A viewer coming back into the hall and nostalgic for the European soccer championship is encouraging: "More than two halves." Our neighbor on the left has ended up going to bed. We learn that yesterday he was at the Carrière Boulbon to see Karamazov, directed by Jean Bellorini. Five hours in the theater, from 10 pm to 3 am. Fatal chain of events.
The last intermission was at 11 pm, and people were wiped out. The true scandal, writes Etienne, is that the theater charged 1 euro 50 for a coffee at that hour.

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