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Les Hommes Approximatifs, France

Director: Caroline Guiela Nguyen

Performed in French and Vietnamien with Hungarian and English subtitles.

3 hours 20 minutes with 1 breaks.

“When we talk about Saigon, what are we talking about? France? Vietnam? Martin Sheen at the beginning of Apocalypse Now? The 235 restaurants that bear that same name in France? It’s not only about the Vietnamese, or about the French who left for Indochina, it’s about our collective memory. Saigon belongs to all of us.” Caroline Guiela Nguyen spoke these touching words at the Avignon Festival, where the play was performed in June 2017. The peculiarly-named theater company – Les Hommes approximatifs (Approximately people) – was established in 2009 at the initiative of the director, who, having staged a number of classical plays, intended to make “the sound of the world” heard and adapted contemporary topics to stage with her actors and co-creators, with great success. Although Caroline Guiela Nguyen has Vietnamese roots on her mother’s side, the production she directed is not autobiographical, and she did not really want to talk about colonization. The topics of exile, displacement, the loss of one’s mother tongue, torn-apart families, and lovers forced to part appear through the fates of individuals in the Parisian restaurant of Vietnamese immigrant Marie-Antoinette, where memories of the past recur through karaoke songs. Last year, the performance toured various parts of the world, and the stories of these fates must have had different overtones in the various places where they were performed. They will surely strike a deep cord in the hearts of the Hungarian audience. 

Actors and cast:
Caroline Arrouas, Dan Artus, Adeline Guillot, Thi Truc Ly Huynh, Hoang Son Lê, Phu Hau Nguyen, My Chau Nguyen thi, Pierric Plathier, Thi Thanh Thu Tô, Anh Tran Nghia, Hiep Tran Nghia

Text: Caroline Guiela Nguyen with the whole artistic team
Direction: Caroline Guiela Nguyen
Artistic Collaboration: Claire Calvi
Set Design: Alice Duchange
Costume: Design Benjamin Moreau
Lighting Design: Jérémie Papin
Sound and music design: Antoine Richard
Composition: Teddy Gauliat-Pitois
Dramaturgy and surtitles: Jérémie Scheidler and Manon Worms
Dramaturgy trainee: Hugo Soubise
Translation: Duc Duy Nguyen and Thi Thanh Thu Tô
Script consultat: Nicolas Fleureau
Production Managers creation: Jérôme Masson
Light design assistant: Sébastien Lemarchand
Sound design assistant: Orane Duclos
Session Musicians: Nina Millet and Mathieu Schmaltz (violin), Aurélie Métivier (viola), Lydie Lefebvre (cello), Teddy Gauliat-Pitois (piano), Pierric Plathier (guitar)
Costume-makers: Aude Bretagne, Dominique Fournier, Barbara Mornet, Frédérique Payot, Pascale Barré
Wigs and make-up: Christelle Paillard

Executive producer: La Comédie de Valence, CDN Drôme-Ardèche
Coproducers: Odéon, théâtre de l’Europe; MC2: Grenoble Festival d’Avignon; CDN de Normandie –Rouen; Théâtre national de Strasbourg Centre dramatique national de Tours – Théâtre Olympia; Comédie de Reims-CDN Théâtre National de Bretagne – Centre européen théâtral et chorégraphique Théâtre du Beauvaisis, Scène nationale de l’Oise en préfiguration Théâtre de La Croix Rousse – Lyon, with the financial support of Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Conseil départemental de la Drôme, Institut français à Paris, with the kind support of the Institut français du Vietnam, Université de Théâtre et de Cinéma de Hô Chi Minh-Ville and of La Chartreuse, Villeneuve lez Avignon – Centre national des écritures du spectacle.

Caroline Guiela Nguyen

Main Stage
Caroline Guiela Nguyen

Caroline Guiela Nguyen

After studying sociology and the performing arts, Caroline Guiela Nguyen joined the Conservatoire d'Avignon in 2004. In 2005, she enrolled in the school of the Théâtre national de Strasbourg to study direction. She founded the company Les Hommes Approximatifs in 2009 with Claire Calvi, Alice Duchange, Juliette Kramer, Benjamin Moreau, Mariette Navarro, Antoine Richard, and Jérémie Papin. After adapting a few classics, they started working on plays of their own, about missing stories and missing bodies, those you don't usually see on theatre stages. Since then, they've never stopped populating the stage with the world around them. Caroline Guiela Nguyen is associated with the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe, with the MC2: Grenoble, and is part of the artistic collective of the Comédie de Valence.

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