In Returning to Reims, based on the best-selling memoir by French sociologist Didier Eribon, Thomas Ostermeier directs Sonia Bergamasco. The author recounts the death of his father and his return to his hometown and questions the political trajectory of a working class that has moved from communism to the far right of the Front National. On stage, in a recording studio, is an actress accompanied by a sound technician and rapper (Tommy Kuti), and by a director (Rosario Lisma) recording a documentary based on Eribon’s memoirs and starting to reflect on the very role of politics in the current global situation.
Thomas Ostermeier – Thomas Ostermeier was born in 1968 in Soltau. From 1992-96 he studied directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch, Berlin. From 1996-99 Ostermeier was Artistic Director of the Baracke at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin. Productions there included Fat Men in Skirts by Nicky Silver (1996), Knives in Hens by David Harrower (1997 awarded with Friedrich-Luft-Prize), Brecht’s Mann ist Mann (1997), Suzuki by Alexej Schipenko (1997), Shopping and Fucking by Mark Ravenhill (1998), Below the Belt by Richard Dresser (1998), The Blue Bird by Maeterlinck (1999). In 1998 the Baracke was nominated “Theatre of the Year”. Since September 1999 Ostermeier has been resident director and member of the Artistic Direction of the Schaubühne. In November 2004 Ostermeier was appointed “artiste associé” for the Festival d’Avignon by the artistic director of the festival, Vincent Baudriller, and has been presenting shows at the Festival almost every year since then. In 2018, his production of Returning to Reims after the book by Didier Eribon was invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen and he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2019 his staging of Shakespeare’s La Nuit des Rois ou Tout ce que vous voulez at the Comédie-Française was awarded with the Prix Molière for the best performance of the season. In 2009 Thomas Ostermeier has been appointed “Officier des Arts et des Lettres” by the French ministry of culture, and promoted to the degree of “Commandeur” in 2015. From 2010 to 2018 Thomas Ostermeier was the German president of the Deutsch-Französischer Kulturrat (DKFR), German-French Council of Culture. Thomas Ostermeier received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for the entirety of his work in 2011. His latest productions at the Schaubühne are An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen (2012), Death in Venice/Kindertotenlieder after Thomas Mann/Gustav Mahler (2013), The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (2014), Richard III by William Shakespeare (2015), the world premiere of Yasmina Reza’s Bella Figura (2015), Professor Bernhardi by Arthur Schnitzler (2016), Returning to Reims after the book by Didier Eribon (2017). For the italian version of Returning to Reims he works for the first time with the Italian actress Sonia Bergamasco.
Sonia Bergamasco – Sonia Bergamasco was born in Milan, where she earned a conservatory degree in piano.
She made her debut in Arlecchino, Servant of Two Masters directed by Giorgio Strehler, and played the Fairy in Carmelo Bene’s last version of Pinocchio for stage and television. She has also worked with noted theater directors Theodoros Terzopoulos, Massimo Castri and Glauco Mauri. Awarded the 2014 Premio Duse for her work as an actress, she regularly directs and performs in shows in which her musical background is more deeply interwoven with theater. These include, among others, The Ball (based on the novel by Irène Némirovsky). In March 2017 she directed a new production entitled Louise and Renée (inspired by Letters of Two Brides by Balzac, with original dramaturgy by Stefano Massini), at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. In the course of her long artistic collaboration as a singer-actress with composer Azio Corghi, she has appeared in major concert halls both in Italy and abroad. She performed the role of Elvira in his opera Il dissoluto assoluto (The Libertine Absolved), based on a libretto by Jose Saramago, at Lisbon’s Teatro Sao Carlos in 2005 and at La Scala in Milan in 2006. In September 2017 at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, she performed narration she wrote for a concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio, conducted by Zubin Mehta. As half of a duo with pianist Emanuele Arciuli, she interprets a broad repertoire for voice and piano. She played the leading female role in Giuseppe Bertolucci’s film L’Amore probabilmente (Probably Love) and won the 2004 Nastro d’Argento for best actress in a leading role for the film La meglio gioventù (The Best of Youth) directed by Marco Tullio Giordana. She has also worked with directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuseppe Piccioni and Franco Battiato. She played the Queen Mother in Riccardo va all’inferno (Richard Goes to Hell) directed by Roberta Torre and Luce in the comedy Come un gatto in tangenziale (Like a Cat on the Freeway), by Riccardo Milani. She received the Flaiano Prize for best actress for her role in Liliana Cavani’s film De Gasperi, and has enjoyed continued success in the TV series Tutti pazzi per amore (Everyone’s Crazy for Love) and Una grande famiglia (One Big Family) both directed by Riccardo Milani. She also plays Livia on the long-running TV show Il commissario Montalbano (Detective Montalbano). For her role in Quo vado? (Where Am I Going?), directed by Gennaro Nunziante, she won the Flaiano Prize for best performance of the year, the Alida Valli Prize for best actress in a supporting role at the 2016 Bari International Film Festival, and a Golden CIAK Award.
Didier Eribon – Eribon is a French sociologist and philosopher. He teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy, Human and Social Sciences of the University of Amiens and He is the author of fifteen works on philosophical and history of ideas. In Italy He is published by Giunti and Bompiani. Return to Reims is the book that inspired the Ostermeier’s show.
Based on the book by Didier Eribon
Directed by Thomas Ostermeier
With: Sonia Bergamasco, Rosario Lisma, Tommy Kuti
Dramaturgy: Florian Borchmeyer
Stage: Nina Wetzel
Light design: Erich Schneider
Sound Design: Jochen Jezussek
Film: Sébastien Dupouey, Thomas Ostermeier
Camera: Marcus Lenz, Sébastien Dupouey
Sound (film): Peter Carstens
Music: Nils Ostendorf
Photo: Masiar Pasquali
Coproduction Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa, Fondazione Romaeuropa
In collaboration with Schaubühne, Berlino
First production Schaubühne Berlin with Manchester international Festival, HOME Manchester, Théâtre de la Ville de Paris
Ritorno a Reims
based on the book by Didier Eribon
world copyright Editions Fayard, Paris
traslation by Annalisa Romani
© 2017 Giunti Editore S.p.A. / Bompiani
Image taken from the film Return to Reims © Thomas Ostermeier / Sébastien Dupouey