Festival d'Avignon Announces Summer Season
This month Artistic Director Olivier Py unveiled the poster for the 73rd Festival d'Avignon, which will take place in the medieval city between July 4th and 23rd. Painted by Syrian artist Miryan Haddad, the work is a vibrant contrast to the previous festival's forlorn group of melancholy, monochrome children. Exploding with energy, the painting is a dreamscape, which features a portal, framing a sunlit lake. Like the Festival theme, odyssey, it promises adventure, danger, and hope. This concept of "odyssey" is not locked in the ancient world, but extends to contemporary experiences, particularly the lives of refugees, as well as the state of theatre itself as a journey into the unknown.
Alongside the poster Py presented the 40 piece programming of the 73rd Festival d'Avignon. Over half of this programming consists of new works which will be premiered at the Festival this summer. While the Festival is a showcase of the best of french theatre, this year roughly a dozen countries will be represented, from China to Russia, and from Brazil to Spain. At the Festival's illustrious Cour d'Honneur will be Pascal Rambert's new work, "Architecture." He previously directed at the Cour d'Honneur in 2013 with his piece, "Avignon à Vie," and his works have been produced on several occasions across the world, including New York. The dance work at the Cour d'Honneur will be "Outwitting the Devil" by Akram Khan. Khan is a London based artist of Bangladeshi descent, whose work fuses kathak and contemporary training.
The artistic director himself will be presenting two works, one at the Avignon penitentiary and "L'Amour Vainqueur," which is an intergenerational piece of music theatre. Olivier Py is the first artistic director since the Festival founder, Jean Vilar, to be at once artistic director and a stage director. The Festival d'Avignon is a theatre event like no other. Prestige is high, but holds little cache as word of mouth spreads fast within the city walls. It is difficult to say which forty productions within the "In" will overwhelm the viewer and shake the foundations of the form but, if history is any indication, odds are better than not that there will be many of them.