Pascal Rambert directs Princeton students this spring

March 7, 2019
Pascal Rambert with class

Pascal Rambert, a celebrated French writer, choreographer and director for the stage and screen, has joined Princeton this spring as a Belknap Fellow in the Council of the Humanities and visiting lecturer in French and Italian. In 2016, Rambert received the “Grand prix de l’Académie Française pour l’ensemble de son oeuvre” or “Theater Prize from Académie Française for his entire body of work.”

Rambert heads his own production company, structure production, and is an associate artist of Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, El Pavón Teatro Kamikaze in Madrid, and Théâtre National de Strasbourg in Strasbough.

From 2007 to 2016, he served as artistic director of T2G-Théâtre de Gennevilliers, which he transformed into a national dramatic center for contemporary creation, exclusively dedicated to living artists (theater, dance, opera, contemporary art, film, and philosophy).

Rambert’s theater plays and choreographies are now produced by structure production and are supported by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. His plays are staged in Europe, North America, Asia, Russia, South America, and the Middle East.

Rambert is the author of more than 20 plays; his international hit “Clôture de l’amour” was translated into 23 languages. This summer, he will be one of the lead guest artists at the 73rd Avignon Festival, where he will stage a new play: “Architecture.”

Florent Masse, a senior lecturer in the Department of French and Italian and director of L’Avant-Scène, the French theater workshop, is hosting Rambert and co-teaching FRE/THR/CWR 388 with him this semester.  

This is Rambert’s fourth visit to Princeton. He came as a guest artist at Seuls en Scène, Princeton’s French Theater Festival. In 2015, he directed “De mes propres mains” for the festival; in 2016 “Clôture de l’amour”; and in 2017, both “Le début de l’A.” and “L’art du théâtre.” These performances featured Audrey Bonnet, Marina Hands, and Arthur Nauzyciel, who are some of his most dedicated actors.

Writing, Directing, and Acting Others

Rambert is co-teaching FRE/THR/CWR 388 Writing, Directing, and Acting Others with Masse, and directing students in a final production at the end of the semester. The course offers students the chance to experiment with the complete theater-making process as they immerse themselves in the writing, acting, and directing processes, actively creating and devising their work under the guidance of Rambert.

Students conceive characters inspired by people from the surrounding local community. They interview them and create texts from these interviews, trying to synthesize the voices they encounter. Texts will be assembled together during the editing process, supervised carefully by Rambert. Once the overall text is established, students will take to the stage and start rehearsing. The work will culminate in the making of a full production with a performance of “Others,” open to the public on May 2 in the Rockefeller College Common Room.

The class has benefited from support from a 2018-2019 David A. Gardner 69 Magic Grant, intended to help prepare the class and create its upcoming production.

A Tribute to Pascal Rambert

Pascal Rambert and class at Chancellor Green

In late February, L’Avant-Scène students prepared and presented “A Tribute to Pascal Rambert” to welcome Rambert to Princeton. They gathered late one evening in the Chancellor Green Rotunda and performed excerpts from some of Rambert’s recent plays such as “Clôture de l’amour” (2011), “Lac” (2015), “Avignon à vie” (2013), “Actice” (2017) and “Soeurs” (2018).

L’Avant-Scène company members look forward to other opportunities to meet with Rambert this semester by inviting him to rehearsals of their upcoming productions. L’Avant-Scène is presenting “Roberto Zucco” by Bernard-Marie Koltès from April 11 to 13, as well as a version of “A Tribute to Pascal Rambert,” open to the public at the end of April.

A Conversation with Pascal Rambert

On April 24 in McCormick Hall Room 106, the Department of French and Italian and the Council of the Humanities are hosting “A Conversation with Pascal Rambert.” The conversation, moderated by Masse, will feature Pascal Rambert’s recent, current, and future projects with his company structure production, partners overseas, the Avignon Festival, and Princeton.