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Writing Spaces

Playing with frontiers

What becomes of the (true) story of a migrant who has crossed many borders once the story is told? « New Settings 2011 » presents Writing Spaces, conceived by Eli Commins and Stéfane Perraud as a life’s tale, fragmented in the multiple imagination of the one who listen to it.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Writing Spaces
© Stéfane Perraud

Writing Spaces is a story about frontiers, with no frontiers. Not between true-life experience and the imagination, because each person interprets the narrative in their own way. Nor between audience and performer, because they occupy the same space. Nor between text and multimedia, because the central element is the device itself: a gigantic image explored by the ‘migrant’ actor and audience, all equipped with an iPad – the tool for their haphazard, shifting dialogue and its proactive alteration of the narrative, sometimes with sound superimposed over the text.

The full resonance and implications of the narratives contained within the piece are supported by an extraordinarily complex web of digital and multimedia resources. Members of the audience progress through a narrative they themselves control, just as the co-authors advance a process full of unexpected twists and turns. Theatre? Or performance? ‘It’s a form on the outer limits of something. I don’t ask myself about categories while I’m engaged in the process itself,’ says Eli Commins, who conceived the text for Writing Spaces, based on the device.

Created in collaboration with Stéfane Perraud – a scenographer and visual artist with a focus on multimedia, sculpture and installations – the work takes a collective approach to the representation of dynamic texts modified in real time by the spectator’s own perception. Earlier versions were presented at the Chartreuse de Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Paris Quartier d’été.

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Author and stage director Eli Commins
Installation artist Stéfane Perraud
Actor Sharif Andoura


Produced by 10’52. Co-produced by the Cité nationale de l’histoire et l’immigration. With production support from Arcadi, and the participation of DICRéAM, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, CNC, CNL and the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.

In partnership with the Théâtre de la Cité internationale.