Théâtre du Rêve ~ Voir un ami pleurer


The goal of theater is to ask questions. But without annoying anyone. I always try to reconcile humor and reflection.
Olivier Coyette

Founded in 1995 by Carolyn Cook, the Théâtre du Rêve is the only Francophone theater in the United States. It has provided a venue for a wide repertory of classical and contemporary French plays to be performed by completely bilingual American professional actors. (La Leçon, Huis Clos, Vive La Fontaine, etc.)

Their new production, Voir un ami pleurer, inspired by the Jacques Brel song, was first performed in January 2008 in Atlanta where it played to a sold-out house for an entire week.

The script of the young French-Belgian playwright Olivier Coyette is at once theatrical, funny, and political: with this very complete production, the company proves that it has earned its place in the ranks of the professional American stage.

Voir un ami pleurer 

(play, 1 hour, 45 min.  without intermission, bilingual with subtitles).

Olivier Coyette’s script [...] oozes with world cultures, allowing us to better and more intimately speak about our own. This is evident in his dialogue and the structure of Voir un ami pleurer, a tragic and burlesque poem about relations between the U.S. and France, by American actors who perform in French with English subtitles. At center stage we find Francophone culture. Director Valéry Warnotte’s worked for several years on this script that links drama, music and scenography to highlight the actor’s play. This is indeed contemporary theater.

The duo Valéry Warnotte and Olivier Coyette seemed to be in step with their generation, born into the Francophone generation. As an American I was both rapt and excited about what theater could still accomplish. It was like nothing I had experienced in the States. This was in 2002. Since then, I have been laying the groundwork to bring his work to the American stage and to the American theater-going audience.

Voir un Ami Pleurer is about the ever-changing and dynamic relationship between Americans and Europeans. It is a play that is accessible to a wide audience (aged 12 and up), and a very, very funny play whether or not you speak French. Bilingualism is an integral part of the project.
Park Krausen, artistic director of the Théâtre du Rêve.

Performed alternately in the two languages by American actors with subtitles in English and French, the play is an exercise in style with three variations on the theme: the idealized notion of America, America choking to death under its wealth, and America as victim of its arrogance. The underlying question is the following: “What place will culture have in the west of tomorrow?” but also “What does it mean today to be American or French?”

In conjunction with the play:
Along with performances, the company can organize discussion sessions with the director or theater workshops for a high school or university audience. The director and author have given numerous talks in schools in Paris and Brussels in conjunction with the performances to arouse curiosity about theater. The pedagogical project varies depending on the target group.

Workshop on theatrical practice:
exercises, situations, and improvisations as part of reflection about the actor’s performance. The director explores a number of angles to bring out a dramatic moment for each participant.

Reading classical and contemporary texts in French: work on the French language and introduction to dramatic repertory.

Writing workshop on a theme to be approved.

The company can also give a performance of the play l’Evanouie free of charge for high school or university audiences (details upon request).

Olivier Coyette, author

Valéry Warnotte, director

Park Krausen, artistic director and actress

Carolyn Cook, founder of the Théâtre du Rêve and actress

Joe Knezevich, actor

Chris Kayser, co-founder of the Théâtre du Rêve and actor

Ariel de Man, technical director and actress

The Artists

Olivier Coyette, author
Olivier Coyette was born in Brussels in 1975. He received his Masters in theater studies from Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle, where he is currently a doctoral candidate at the Institut d’Etudes Théâtrales. He also holds degrees in Romance philology and social and cultural anthropology. Both an actor and an author, Coyette has staged six plays. Eleven of his works have received professional productions, including Les Animaux, Héritages du départ, Trachées, Bonheur!, Où l’on fait les couteaux, Des plâtres qu’on essuie, L’Evanouie, Forfanterie, La semaine feinte, and Il y a le feu. In 2007, he performed in Un Chapeau de paille d'Italie, by Eugène Labiche, produced by Olivier Balazuc, and in Le Roland, text and mise-en-scene by Hédi Tillette of Clermont-Tonnerre.  He has received several awards, including finalist for the Prix Jacques Huisman, 2003, laureate of the Fondation belge de la Vocation, 1999, and laureate of the “Declarations” competition of Wallonie-Brussels and Québec, 1998.  Olivier Coyette just received a grant from the Ministry of Culture to write and stage his next play: Innocence. This project is supported in part by the Direction de la musique, de la danse, du théâtre et des spectacles, and was selected out of 350 entries.

Valéry Warnotte, Director
Born in Belgium in 1977, Valéry Warnotte is an actor and director. After studies in art history, he went on to L’Ecole Florent, where he directed Court-Circuit by Olivier Coyette and Partage de Midi by Paul Claudel. He then founded the Compagnie l’Intervention in 2000. He directed Elle by Jean Genet, On Purge Bébé! by Georges Feydeau and Mort de Juda –Le Point de Vue de Ponce Pilate by Paul Claudel at the Théâtre des Chiroux in Liège and at Le Colombier in Bagnolet. In 2004, he directed Trachées by Olivier Coyette at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris and Les Animaux, the second part of a trilogy in collaboration with the same author at La Ferme du Buisson, at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris and at the Théâtre de la Balsamine in Brussels. In 2006/2007 he directed Ubu Roi at the Festival Emulation of the Théâtre de la Place in Liège.

Park Krausen, Artistic Director/actress
Park Krausen, artistic director of the Théâtre du Rêve, founded in 1996 by Carolyn Cook, has worked throughout the North and Southeast U.S., and in France and Poland. After graduating from Emory University with a B.A. in theater studies and French, she completed a year of graduate work in acting at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Paris, France.  She has worked with French directors Arthur Nauzyciel and Andrzej Sewyern, Simon Abkarian, Georges Bigot, German director Walter Asmus, and Polish director Marek Kedjerski on Samuel Beckett’s short works. She was also on the steering committee for the International Year of Beckett Centennial Celebration. Her awards include 2 Suzi Awards (Atlanta’s Tony’s) for best musical production for Vive La Fontaine!, and best theater troupe for Metamorphoses. She has been nominated for best actress for her role as Desdemona in Othello.

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