French Play on Campus

The French Program of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Theater Arts Program were thrilled to welcome French theatrical troupe Prospero Miranda to campus on Wednesday, April 2, for a bilingual production of Je reviens de la vérité / I Return from the Truth, directed by Agnès Braunschweig and based on the play Qui rapportera ces paroles? by French Resistance fighter and Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo.

Je reviens de la vérité recounts the story of a group of over 200 French women arrested together for their efforts to undermine the Nazi Occupation of France during World War II, subsequent to which they were sent as prisoners to Auschwitz. Their story is one of both tragedy and triumph. Many of the women die of a variety of causes during their internment, yet those who survive promise to “carry back their words” (leur parole), hence this enduring story. In Prospero Miranda’s production, those words are reinforced by a powerfully choreographed physical performance and an exquisite articulation of the text.

Performed in French with English supertitles, Je reviens de la vérité was a stunning success among students, staff, faculty, and community members alike. The house was nearly full both in the afternoon and in the evening, and several local high school classes attended with their teachers, as did a large contingent from the Santa Rosa Symphony, where Ms. Braunschweig’s spouse, Bruno Ferrandis, serves as musical director. Many community members remained to participate in a Q&A after the evening performance, which allowed the three actors to discuss their aesthetic choices and personal engagement with the play. Comments included statements in French and English such as: “Fabuleux!” “Really powerful!” “A valuable reflection on the Shoah,” and “I was amazed by their performance.”

This production was sponsored by the Daphne Smith Fund of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the School of Arts & Humanities, the School of Social Sciences, the Jewish Studies Program, the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, Phi Beta Delta (the honors society for international scholars on campus), and the Theatre Arts Progam.

Photos by Graham Lawler

Top Photo: Edith Manevy, Christine Renaudin (SSU), Caroline Nolot, Agnès Braunschweig, Suzanne Toczyski (SSU), Scott Horstein from Theatre Arts

Bottom Photo: Agnès, Edith, Caroline