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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Teatro EN (new)


CCNO / Josef Nadj (France)

Saturday October 15 at 10:00 p.m.
Teatro alle Tese
CCNO / Josef Nadj (France)
Woyzeck ou l’ébauche du vertige
choreography Josef Nadj
with Guillaume Bertrand, Istvan Bickei, Denes Debrei, Samuel Dutertre, Peter Gemza, Josef Nadj, Henrieta Varga
music Aladar Racz
lighting Raymond Blot
lighting direction Lionel Colet
produced by the Théâtre National de Bretagne, Rennes - Centre Chorégraphique National d'Orléans
The author of visionary and dreamlike performances that seem to reinterpret the paintings of Bosch, Bruegel and Chagall, harking back to his Mittel-European cultural roots (he was born in Serbia as part of the Hungarian minority), Nadj is one of the most multi-faceted artistic personalities working in France, where he has lived since 1980. Currently the Director of the Centre Choréographique National d’Orléans, a position he has held since 1995, Nadj expresses himself not only in dance and direction, but also in the figurative arts. He exhibited his sculptures in 1996 in a show called Installations – dedicated to the notion of time – which was presented in Lausanne, Limoges, Paris and other cities.
In 2000 (again in Paris and Orleans), Nadj exhibited a series of ink drawings gathered under the title of Miniatures. A trace of this artistic versatility, rooted in his education (he attended an artistic high school and took courses in art history and music at the University in Budapest), is visible in his theatre production as well. For Nadj - who is difficult to define, given that depending on what his creativity requires he relies on either dance theatre or miming or circus techniques - everything can be material to develop for his “theatre of movement”, especially that which is extraneous to the tradition of dance itself. This conception led, from 1987 (the date of his debut with the extraordinary Canard Pékinois) to the present day, in a series of highly successful productions performed in France and the rest of the world: from Japan to Australia, from Brazil to Russia. His artistic versatility and the technique derived from his experience with these languages gave rise to productions such as the dance macabre 7 Peaux de Rhinocéros, the show Le Cri du Caméléon (created with the artists who graduated from the Centre National des Arts du Cirque, from the French company Anomalie) or Les temps du repli, a work for a trio composed of two dancers and a percussionist. In 1994 Nadj won the Europe Theatre Prize for New Theatrical Realities and in 2006 was named associated artist for the Festival d’Avignon.
Josef Nadj has already participated in the Dance Biennale with Petit psaume du matin in 2001, with Dominique Mercy, and in 2002 with Journal d’un inconnu, inspired by a story by Otto Tolnai. This time he has been invited by the Theatre Biennale to hold a workshop for actors, and for the occasion, he will be presenting one of the most intense productions of his repertory, which continues to tour to this day. Like many of Nadj’s productions that draw their inspiration from literary sources, from Borges to Beckett, from Otto Tolnai to Bruno Schulz, Woyzeck ou l’ébauche du vertige is also inspired by a play, by Büchner’s famous incomplete masterpiece; through the evocative poetics of objects, gestures and appearances, it condenses the tragic rise and fall of the soldier who murdered for love.
The black gilded Prague of the old alchemists, the poor and patient diaspora of Joseph Roth’s novels, the music that tastes of puszta and cymbals, but that could easily come close to the comic desperation that Polish author Tadeusz Kantur injected into the little marches of his productions, of happiness and death. Postcards torn from the old albums of Central Europe. As one can see, pages of inspiration that Nadj likes to concentrate on a stage so small that they explode. The small rooms of a rural proletariat, minute doors and surprise boxes, from which men materialize at the limits of contortion. Crooked chairs and windows that overlook fated poverty, feeble light bulbs, rationed food on which Nadj spreads the cream of a dark, violent humour, acrobatic one might say, were it not that axes and knives are what fly through the air. (…) A play in which Büchner’s defeated hero, the good soldier Woyzeck, a murderer out of jealousy and desperation, is just a stimulus for the other seven actors, who incarnate distortion. Of feeling, reduced to reaction. Of behaviour, which has become exasperation. A furious, fantastic vignette, “the beginning of dizziness” which cannot be reduced to mere theatre, dance or literature.
Roberto Canziani, Il Piccolo, 8 February 2002
What is left of Woyzeck? Nothing – nothing but the mystery of Büchner’s work that Nadj miraculously preserves: the vision, the torment, murder. The low-level summations of nature that reduce man to nothing but an aching puppet. Atavistic sorrow. The fatal abyss.
Frédéric Ferney, Le Figaro, 19 July 1997.

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