Luxembourg Creations at Avignon in 2024
Sports take the stage in two productions from Luxembourg
Following a Kultur | lx call for applications, 11 files were received and assessed on 18 September by jury members Serge Basso de March (author and poet), Pablo Chimienti (communications & PR officer at THEATER FEDERATIOUN), Godefroy Gordet (journalist, author and director), Lee Fou Messica (artistic director at the Espace Bernard-Marie Koltès —national subsidised theatre in Metz—and co-president of the Quint’Est network) and Karine Sitarz (critic).
The jury selected the play Corps au bout du monde by Marion Rothhaar, directed by Elke Hartmann and produced by Maskénada.
A second play was also selected: Jennifer Gohier’s production for younger audiences, GO!. This production has already been invited by the Théâtre du Train Bleu in Avignon, and following the jury’s decision, will also receive financial support from Kultur | lx.
Both plays selected to represent Luxembourg in Avignon explore the world of sport and performance, each in their own unique way. A happy coincidence in light of the upcoming Olympic Games to be held in France in 2024.
The jury praised Corps au bout du monde for addressing burning current issues both in sport and in society more generally, such as harassment, abuse of power, and feminism. With an extremely physical performance, the play explores these themes in depth, and a touch of humour, as it draws on personal experience that will make it resonate with audiences of all kinds. The play will be adapted in French for the Avignon Festival.
The jury also recognised the artistic standard of GO!, a play for audiences of all ages that communicates the universal values of martial arts, sport, and life in society more generally. Recently awarded the 2023 Kanner- a Jugendtheaterpräis for youth theatre, GO! will be performed at Train Bleu, one of the most popular venues at OFF Avignon.
Kultur | lx looks forward to presenting these plays from Luxembourg and to providing continued support to the artists in Avignon.
About the productions
Corps au bout du monde (Body at the end of the world) questions success at all costs. The play is inspired by Marion Rothhaar’s personal experience as a former champion artistic and rhythmic gymnast who represented the Federal Republic of Germany at the Olympic Games in 1988 as well as accounts from other high-level athletes, press articles, and the eponymous text by Regina Dürig. Rothhaar’s work explores what it is like to come of age in the clutches of high-level sport with its daily training sessions, competitions, performance, control, determination, giving up, injuries, power and abuse, doubts and rebellion, pain and joy, victories and defeats.
GO! re-enacts a game between two men who meet and challenge each other through their martial arts. With each new fight, they get to know each other, control each other, and outdo each other. Each learns from the other—about their strengths and limitations—without there ever being a winner or a loser, because the opponent is, above all, a sparring partner to be respected if they both want to keep playing. Jennifer Gohier’s play is a cross between contemporary dance, martial arts, and digital creation where different universes meet and come together in a duo that combines humour, precision, and the beauty of movement.
About the artists
Marion Rothhaar is a director and dramatist who lives in Switzerland with her family. Following an international career as an artistic and rhythmic gymnast, she traded gym mats for the stage and became a dancer and performer. After a master’s in literature, theatre and media studies and training as a radio editor, she worked for radio and assisted several directors. She gained a Teaching Artist qualification at the Berne Arts College. More recently, she directed the science fiction performance La machine s’arrête (The machine stops), based on a story by E. M. Forster for Esch 2022, European Capital of Culture. Her latest production, Körper am Ende der Welt – Corps au bout du monde, draws on revelations by female athletes who reported failings at the Swiss Olympics training centre in Macolin and her own personal experience as a former high-level athlete who participated in the Olympic Games. Marion Rothhaar has been a member of the Luxembourg collective Maskénada for many years.
Jennifer Gohier trained at the Angers Conservatoire and the CC-Ballet du Nord school. In 2005, she joined the Metz Opera Ballet where she performed a lyrical, classical, and contemporary repertoire under the direction of Patrick Salliot. Between 2009 and 2015, she developed her artistic practice working for various choreographers including Christophe Garcia (FR), Julien Ficely (FR), Anu Sistonen (FI), Francesco Vecchione (IT), Bernard Baumgarten (LU) and Annick Pütz (LU). Together with Grégory Beaumont, she founded Cie Corps In Situ where they create, dance, present and share their work on stage, in gardens, in the street, in schools and many other locations. A qualified dance teacher, Gohier also occasionally teaches professionals and amateurs in various institutions across the Grand Est region and in Luxembourg.