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Baron Samedi (New Settings 2012)

The white page has a dark side…

For New Settings 2012, transgressive virtuoso Alain Buffard brings Kurt Weill’s cast of low-life characters to Nadia Lauro’s blank, white page. A spectacle hosted by a troubling master of ceremonies: Baron Samedi, voodoo lord of excess…

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Baron Samedi (New Settings 2012)
© Marc Domage

Nadia Lauro’s installation fills the stage: the huge white page is a dizzying chute on the edge of the abyss, a razor-sharp ridge defining a path to the pleasures of domination, and a theatre of unbridled violence for the people of the depths – renegades and the dispossessed – a saraband dance of life and death, a bal macarbre to the music of Kurt Weill. 

Exclusion and brutality have their place in this world of excess, but life – insolent, untamed, suffused with joy – triumphs over death nonetheless. Baron Samedi is the show’s dark ring-master, a background presence on the white page, his iconic top hat flying from head to head in a succession of cruel role-plays, liberating humanity’s darkest, wildest instincts with provocative promises of resurrection.

In characteristically generous, transgressive style,  Alain Buffard’s unlikely casting offers an unprecedented take on the world of Kurt Weill, bringing together highly accomplished dancers and artists from the United States, France, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa and Rwanda in a triumphant celebration of talent and, often, tragedy and adversity overcome.

Alain Buffard explores and shapes his raw materials – performance, dance and music – to create a dazzling, harsh spectacle. Baron Samedi is a black diamond, pushing back the limits of the contemporary performance arts in the true spirit of the New Settings programme.

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Conception and staging Alain Buffard
Set Nadia Lauro
Costumes Alain Buffard et Nadia Lauro
Assistant Fanny de Chaillé
Performers Nadia Beugré, Hlengiwe Lushaba, Dorothée Munyaneza, Olivier Normand, Will Rawls, David Thomson
Musicians Sarah Murcia et Seb Martel
Musical direction and arrangement Sarah Murcia
Lighting design and management Yves Godin
Technical director Christophe Poux
Stage manager Nicolas Barrot
Sound director Félix Perdreau

Production by PI : ES
With the support of the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès/ New Settings programme
Coproduction by Théâtre de Nîmes; Opéra de Lille; Latitudes Contemporaines; Ménagerie de Verre; La Bâtie, Festival de Genève; Pôle Sud, scène conventionnée pour la danse et la musique (Strasbourg); Le Phénix, scène nationale de Valenciennes. Coproduction and residency at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine Angers.
With the support of FUSED (French US Exchange in Dance), La Condition Publique (Roubaix) and Texen.
With the cooperation of the Regional Prefecture for Languedoc-Roussillon/Direction régionale des affaires culturelles, as part of the programme of support for state-licensed performing companies.
PI : ES  is supported by Région Languedoc-Roussillon, the Conseil Général du Gard and the Institut Français (for performances outside France).