Bernard-Marie Koltès: Seven Plays (France) Book Celebration


The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presented Bernard-Marie Koltès: Seven Plays (France) Book Celebration livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network on Friday 8 April 2022 at 3 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

The anthology is the first collection of the seven major plays by seminal French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès (1948-1989) in American English. Translated in over thirty languages, Koltès is considered to be the most important French playwright of the end of the twentieth century, and heir to the legacy of Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Kane and Heiner Müller. His style is marked by a profusion of poetic language–reshaping traditional theatrical language in both content and form, while exploring new and unknown territories. A fervent traveler, his work was deeply inspired by his exposure to new languages and cultures, particularly from such places as Lagos (Nigeria), São Paulo (Brazil), Tikal (Guatemala), Managua (Nicaragua), New York (United States), and Lisbon (Portugal). His attention was constantly directed toward the figure of the underdog and marginalized communities. But it is in New York that Koltès is said to have found his “place in this world,” and particularly in the gay liberation movement in the late 70s and early 80s. He died at the age of 41 due to complications from th​e AIDS virus. Despite his significant relationship with the United States, until now no definite anthology of American translations of Koltès existed. This unique volume provides a fresh set of translations that rigorously bring into focus Koltès’ poetic and musical language. “Koltès now sounds like Dante speaking in the voice of Sam Shepard,” wrote The New York Times.

Translators for Koltès anthology are: The Night Just Before the Forests (Amin Erfani); Battle of Black and Dogs (Michaël Attias); West Pier (Marion Schoevaert & Theresa M. Weber); In the Solitude of Cotton Fields (Amin Erfani); Tabataba (Amin Erfani); Back to the Desert (Andy Bragen); Roberto Zucco (Anna G.R. Miller)

Short readings of excerpts directed by Amin Erfani and Frank Hentschker; with New York actors Ben Becher, Josefina Scaro, Michael Wiener, a.o., followed by a conversation with Editor Amin Erfani, a Q & A, and a reception.