04/26/2021, 18.00 – 04/29/2021, 18.00

In French with English subtitles


Concept, Text and Direction: Anne-Cécile Vandalem (Brussels/Liège)

Guest performance during FIND 2017

Europe, the present. Radical right-wing parties are experiencing a meteoric rise. Among them is Martha Heiger’s »Party of National Awakening« which is gaining an increasing amount of influence in the Scandinavian countries. Only eight inhabitants remain on the fictional Danish island of »Sadnesses«, all bound together by a strange melancholy. One day the body of Ida Heiger, Martha’s mother, is discovered on the island. Her corpse is wrapped in a Danish flag and she appears to have hanged herself. Party leader Martha Heiger, who is just about to be elected Prime Minister, has a strong interest in hushing up the affair. Her arrival is announced on the island for the funeral. Two young women whose future has been threatened by the politician plot to kill her. But on the day of the burial itself, the situation is turned upon its head … In »Tristesses« Anne-Cécile Vandalem, who herself plays Martha Heiger, explores the relationship between power and emotionalisation. The tone of the production constantly fluctuates between criminal investigation and political comedy. With a large ensemble cast, live video and music especially composed for the piece, along with a rich vein of dark humour, Anne-Cécile Vandalem lays bare how contemporary politics is rendered hysterical, emotionalised and manipulated as well as revealing the questionable role the media plays in political discourse.

>>> Essay about the production in Pearson's Preview: Creating Distance

Coproduction: Théâtre de Liège / Le Volcan – Scène Nationale du Havre / Théâtre National – Bruxelles / Théâtre de Namur, centre dramatique / Le Manège.Mons / Bonlieu Scène Nationale Annecy / Maison de la Culture d’Amiens – Centre européen de création et de production / Les Théâtres de Marseille – Aix en Provence. Prospero coproduction: Théâtre National de Bretagne / Théâtre de Liège / Schaubühne Berlin / Göteborgs Stadsteatern / Théâtre National de Croatie, World Theatre Festival Zagreb / Festival d’Athènes et d’Epidaure / Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione.


Concept, text and realisation: Anne-Cécile Vandalem

Duration: ca. 130 minutes