Le Voyage de Miriam Frisch (The Journey of Miriam Frisch) by Linda Blanchet
Combining archives, documentaries and autofiction, director Linda Blanchet questions notions of heritage and identity. Between intimate storytelling and participatory theatre, her Voyage de Miriam Frisch invites the viewer to share a collective experience.
Theatre and documentary
A graduate of the universities of Berkeley and Nanterre, Linda Blanchet deepened her vision of production with major names in contemporary theatre such as Philippe Adrien, Marie-Christine Soma and David Lescot, with whom she collaborated from 2013.
With the company Hanna R, founded in 2007, she explores a theatre that mixes forms of writing in plays adapted from the worlds of Patrick Modiano (L'Homme des plages or The Man on the Beaches, 2011) and Georges Perec (Un homme qui dort or A Man Asleep, 2014).
With Le Voyage de Miriam Frisch (2017) and Killing Robots (2019), Linda Blanchet brings documentary material into her work.
The play tells the story of a young German woman, Miriam Frisch, who decides to move to Israel to live in a kibbutz, in the heart of one of those rural, idealistic communities based on lack of ownership. There, she hopes to find the answer to what she calls an "abstract guilt" - that of the German people towards the Jewish people - and thus reclaim her own history.
Her quest unfolds through photos and entries from her logbook, collected and projected on stage by playwright Linda Blanchet. Four actors introduce them, comment on them and thus question Miriam's journey of initiation. In the face of her disillusionment, they deliver a piece of themselves to the audience, making this collective experience seem like a meal at the utopian table.
A stage in the form of a kibbutz
As a playwright, Linda Blanchet is passionate about how reality connects with fiction. Her projects are designed around a mechanism that makes such a dialogue possible. Le Voyage de Miriam Frisch is thus designed for smaller dimensions, with a stage space where the actors mix with the audience who are seated on a long wooden bench.
This arrangement follows the codes of the kibbutz, where all meals are taken together. Above all, it reinforces the interactivity of a process that feeds on the voices of all the protagonists, from the performers to the spectators.
With Le Voyage de Miriam Frisch, Linda Blanchet’s work takes a turn towards the road movie. This vagabond genre, which highlights crossing lands, as well as the use of playful narrative forms like investigation, has contributed to the play’s success in well-known festivals (Avignon’s "Off") and on national stages (the National Theatre of Nice and the Maison des Métallos in Paris).
The tried and tested device in this play also opens the door to a new experiment by the author, the Killing Robots show (2019). Just as in Le Voyage de Miriam Frisch, here she assembles various visual and sound materials in an intimate “Cluedo” that transforms her subject – the death of the HitchBOT hitchhiker robot – into a universal fable.
The Voyage de Miriam Frisch, created in Argentina, in June 2019, received support from the Franco-German Cultural Fund.
Managed by the Institut français, this fund promotes Franco-German cultural cooperation abroad by supporting projects carried out in close collaboration with local cultural actors. More info on the Franco-German Cultural Fund