News Release: Arts and Humanities

Oct. 10,  2008

Major French Playwright Focus of Innovative Emory, 7 Stages Collaboration

Emory's European Studies Project and Atlanta's 7 Stages Theater are hosting a series of events celebrating the work of Bernard-Marie Koltès, a major French playwright whose work engages powerfully with themes of desire, race, colonialism, sexuality and economic injustice.

In October 2008 and March 2009, Emory will host 7 Stages' playwright Isma'il ibn Conner, French director Thierry de Peretti and sound composer Nicolas Baby as they work on the translation and production of Koltès' play, "The Day of Murders in the History of Hamlet" ("Le Jour des meurtres dans l'histoire d'Hamlet").

The collaboration also includes "Autour de Koltès/About Koltès," an interdisciplinary series of events offering opportunities for dialogue across disciplinary and professional boundaries. The first event takes place Monday, Oct. 20 and will include a screening of a documentary about Koltès, "Comme une étoile filante" ("Like a shooting star"), followed by a panel discussion and reception from 4:15-6:15 p.m., in White Hall 208, Emory.

The current play is the latest in 7 Stages' ongoing Koltès US Project, which includes a series of translations and productions of his plays. Ibn Conner, the guiding force behind the project, has undertaken the daunting task of translating Koltès' challenging texts into English, many for the first time. De Peretti, one of a young generation of directors rising to prominence, will lead the 7 Stages production of this next translation, scheduled for the spring of 2010.  

Koltès came to prominence in the early 1980s and produced an enigmatic and demanding body of work known for lyrical and provocative language that mixes an elevated French style with the language of the New York streets, crime novels, kung fu films and West African cities. Since Koltès' death in 1989 of AIDS, a number of established and emerging directors and companies in Europe have undertaken productions of his works, which are gaining increasing recognition in the United States.

The Emory European Studies Project and 7 Stages were awarded an Officer's Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the residency, which will be complemented by "Autour de Koltès/About Koltès." For more information, call 404-727-6564 or
Public Events for "Autour de Koltès/About Koltès"

• "Comme une étoile filante" ("Like a shooting star")
Documentary screening and panel discussion, Monday. Oct. 20, 4:15-6:15 p.m. White Hall 208, Emory. Free
This opening event in the series features a public screening of the documentary by François Koltès followed by a panel discussion with French director Thierry de Peretti, Isma'il ibn Conner from 7 Stages, Emory's Catherine Dana and sound composer Nicolas Baby and a reception. 404-727-6564 or

• Witnessing Translation
Monday, Oct. 20- Friday, Oct. 24; Monday, Oct. 27-Thursday, Oct. 30. Monday, Mar. 16-Friday, Mar. 20, 2009.  Free

Observe French stage director Thierry de Peretti, sound composer Nicolas Baby, translator Isma`il ibn Conner and actors from 7 Stages, including artistic director Del Hamilton, as they work on "The Day of Murders in the History of Hamlet" by Bernard-Marie Koltès. The public may reserve a time to come individually or in small groups to witness what often takes place behind the scenes. The team will work through the text of the play and discuss how the words will translate to stage. For location and times, and to reserve a seat, contact Amin Erfani at or 404-290-3179.

Director's Roundtable with Thierry de Peretti, Nicolas Baby and Janine Barris
Monday, October 27, 4:15-6p.m. White Hall 205. Free
Showing of de Peretti's short film, "Le Jour de ma mort," followed by panel discussion on the new Koltès production. Hosted by European Studies. 404-727-6564 or

Brave New Works Reading of Isma'il ibn Conner's Translation of Koltes' "The Day of Murders in the History of Hamlet"
Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, 7 p.m., Schwartz Center, Theater Lab, 1700 North Decatur Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322
The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory presents a biennial Brave New Works new play festival featuring public readings, workshops, discussions, artist residencies and more. The reading of "The Day of the Murders in the History of Hamlet" is one of nine projects in this year's festival. 404-727-6564 or

• Thierry de Peretti & Nicolas Baby in Conversation
Thursday, March 19, 4-5 p.m., Schwartz Center, Theater Lab, 1700 North Decatur Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322. Free
The production of Bernard-Marie Koltès' "The Day of Murders in the History of Hamlet" ("Le Jour des meurtres dans l'histoire d'Hamlet") will be discussed by French director Thierry de Peretti and sound composer Nicolas Baby, followed by an audience question and answer period. 404-727-6564 or



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