Image from Présence de la mort Image from Présence de la mort

*In 1922, Ramuz describes the Canton of Vaud under an apocalyptic heat wave because the earth is getting closer to the sun. Little by little, personal and collective life becomes disorganized, between despair and fatalism, violence and insurrection.

Sarah Eltschinger adapts a novel by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz, Présence de la mort, for the classroom and for the stage, exactly one century after it was written. This text turns out to be surprisingly premonitory…
Two actors, caught in a limited space, go through this text in which the prophetic and cataclysmic accents are shared with an elaborate language, literary, oral and musical at the same time. He and she follow the descriptions by the author from the canton of Vaud, who directs himself while writing this story, of the inhabitants of a town near a lake, of the Lavaux countryside, with the glaciers of the Rhône in the distance. They are living through a scorching summer that never ends. Too busy with their activities despite the heat, which is becoming more and more stifling by the day, they pay no attention to the news carried by the telegraph: the earth has left its orbit and is hurtling towards the sun, temperatures are not going to stop rising and the end is near.
Chapter after chapter, lives fold up to the point of exhaustion; suicides, thefts and uprisings multiply. Personal and collective lives collapse; economy, justice and democracy are defeated.
The show makes this planetary catastrophe heard from here, from the habits and customs of the shores of Lake Geneva and from today. Carried by two young actors, it listens to the resonances of the novel with our time, our actuality. Ramuz’s writing becomes an opportunity to give form to our anxieties in order to feel, as the author does in front of his fiction, the power of life, however ephemeral and dissipated it may be, and our capacity to invent our future beyond fatality.
In the classrooms, the show and the discussions to which it may invite are planned to last two periods together.

by Sarah Eltschinger


Text Charles Ferdinand Ramuz
Director Sarah Eltschinger
Dramaturgy Antoine Girard
Literary advisor Alessio Christen
Voice coach Mirabelle Gremaud
Set design and space advice Maude Bovey
Production, mediation, administration, diffusion Emilien Rossier / oh la la - performing arts production
With Elsa Thebault & Nicolas Roussi
Production Compagnie I D A
Delegated production Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne ▼
Coproduction Les 2 Scènes, Scène nationale de Besançon - Fondation Equilibre-Nuithonie
Support European program of cross-border cooperation Interreg France-Switzerland in the framework of the CDuLaB project.

With the technical, administrative, production and audience development & communication teams of Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne