Marie-Antoinette is a Vietnamese woman who reached France in 1954. Written on the sign of her restaurant is ‘SAIGON’. This is the name of some 979 restaurants in the country but also that of her homeland. Here we come to speak Vietnamese or to sing songs that mourn long lost and forgotten loves in their homeland. In the restaurant are artificial flowers and neon lights, the altar dedicated to ancestors and a depiction of the Virgin Mary hanging on a wall.
This is where Caroline Guiela Nguyen, the acclaimed young director of the French scene takes us together with her company, les Hommes Approximatifs. 11 actors on stage (French, French of Vietnamese origin, and Vietnamese) embody the invented voices of men and women marked by history and geography. Each meeting is helpful in sharing landscapes, faces, songs and languages that no longer exist anywhere but in their memory and the place they have built to keep it alive.
This is how SAIGON investigates the post-colonial identity with poetry and delicacy when its roots become a distant memory incarnated in an ethnic restaurant, suspended between today’s France and 1950s Saigon, forever detached from reality.
Duration 3 h 20' with one intermission (20') Direction Caroline Guiela Nguyen Artistic collaboration Claire Calvi Set Alice Duchange Costumes Benjamin Moreau Lights Jérémie Papin Sound Antoine Richard Musical composition Teddy Gauliat-Pitois, Antoine Richard Dramaturgy Jérémie Scheidler, Manon Worms Translations Duc Duy Nguyen, Thi Thanh Thu Tô Script advisor Nicolas Fleureau with Caroline Arrouas, Dan Artus, Adeline Guillot, Thi Truc Ly Huynh, Hoàng Son Lê, Phú Hau Nguyen, My Chau Nguyen Thi, Pierric Plathier, Thi Thanh Thu Tô, Anh Tran Nghia, Hiep Tran Nghia Production les Hommes Approximatifs, La Comédie de Valence - centre dramatique national Drôme-Ardèche Co-production Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, MC2 : Grenoble, Festival d’Avignon, Centre dramatique national de Normandie - Rouen, Théâtre national de Strasbourg, Centre dramatique régional de Tours - Théâtre Olympia, La Comédie de Reims - CDN, Théâtre National de Bretagne - Rennes, Théâtre du Beauvaisis - Scène nationale de l’Oise en préfiguration, Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse - Lyon Support Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Conseil départemental de la Drôme, Institut français à Paris within the programme Théâtre Export and with Institut français du Vietnam, Université de Théâtre et de Cinéma de Hô-Chi-Minh-Ville et de La Chartreuse, Villeneuve lez Avignon - Centre national des écritures du spectacle Winner of Commission nationale d’Aide à la création de textes dramatiques - ARTCENA with the artistic participation of Jeune théâtre national Les Hommes Approximatifs company is subsidized by Ministry of Culture and Communication - DRAC Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, Région Auvergne–Rhône-Alpes, Conseil départemental de la Drôme, Ville de Valence Caroline Guiela Nguyen is member of the collectif artistique of Comédie de Valence, CDN Drôme Ardèche and associate artist at Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, MC2: Grenoble Photo © Jean Louis Fernandez