PROLOGUE - Jersey City Theater Center, 2018
Written and directed by Maria Litvan
Performed by Catherine Correa and Ignacio García-Bustelo
Projection Design, Videoart & Animations by Laia Cabrera & Isabelle Duverger
Music and Sound Design by Nana Simopoulos
September 13-30, 2018 | JCTC Theater - Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Prologue is a mixed-media performance created as a composition of moments – snapshots into the life and thought of French philosopher, activist, and mystic, Simone Weil (1909 – 1943).
Two performers, a man playing an actor preparing to play Simone Weil, and a woman embodying Weil herself as per the actor’s invocation, meet in this full-length production. Through the actor’s meditations, the piece also reflects on the mystical and artistic processes to ultimately remind us of the importance of paying attention, and of the indispensable role of "the other" to bring depth and meaning to our experience. Conceived almost as a live poem, with writings of Weil intertwined with the author’s, Prologue draws on a multitude of languages (historical, biographical, allegorical, philosophical…) and mediums (theatre, dance, visual arts, video projections, music) to create a stimulating experience for the audience, both at a sensorial and intellectual levels.
Prologue immerses the audience in the world of Weil. Most of her writings are annotations of thoughts published posthumously, therefore when one reads them, they give us the feeling of entering directly into her stream of consciousness. The piece maintains this feeling of intimacy with her thoughts.Thus, it is built upon moments rather than scenes. In a moment, we may capture a thought, a feeling, or it may simply be an image. A moment leaves an impression. And, Prologue is created as an accumulation of impressions that end up making sense somewhere within each member of the audience.
There is room for contradiction and controversy in Weil’s world, but Prologue does not try to resolve it; rather, it stays with her words and her laborious commitment to being above anything else, attentive. For Weil, the capacity to pay attention is something very rare – almost a miracle, - and capable of reawakening the souls of those whom “force has turned into stone”. The piece intends to transpire the vulnerability and beauty that result from such a state of attentiveness.