- Jan Neumann (Regie)
- Matthias Werner (Bühne & Kostüme)
- Johannes Winde (Musik)
- Eva Bormann (Dramaturgie)
- e-werk weimar (Kesselsaal)
- Premiere 14.11.2021
- Age age 16 and older
Play development based on the novel by Annie Ernaux
"All the images will disappear." With this sentence, author Annie Ernaux opens her autobiographical portrait Les années, which was first published in France in 2008. How much weight is attached to memory and how long can we preserve it? And where do the experiences we have gained remain? Ernaux's work spans a period that begins before her own birth in 1940 and continues through her childhood in Yvetot, her adolescence and adulthood, and her subsequent working life as a teacher to the present day, when she now is a mother of two and a successful writer. In doing so, she looks over her own and her generation's shoulder without compromise and identifies explicit ambiguities: political interest soon reveals itself as frustration and is pushed out of private everyday life. With her literary voice, which has also received attention in Germany for some years now, Ernaux has precisely formulated female perception and life reality in relation to the respective political and social developments. As European world and consumer history unfold, the role of women takes new shape: "For the first time, life was imagined as a march towards freedom. A typical female feeling was about to disappear – that of a natural inferiority." Truly completely? To what extent are we judged by gender and origin? Which characteristics of our own milieu do we assert, and which do we let go by the board? Which luxury items and products do we consider indispensable because they express our identity? And what is the measure of whether and how a woman receives social recognition? By radically making her own self the object of investigation, by unsentimentally tracing biographical contradictions and ruptures, Ernaux never leaves us in the dark about how much social adaptation to new milieus and living conditions is still required, what possibilities are emerging and why the change between social classes still cannot be made without self-denial. And so, with her life story, she provides readers with a universal chronicle for their own comparison.
Jan Neumann, who has been a resident director in Weimar since 2013 with a wide range of productions, succeeds in his work with an approach that is both sensitive and humorous: it is allowed to laugh and mourn over the low blows, moments of happiness may be doubted and celebrated. Together with the ensemble, he is developing a narrative about femininity and shame, emancipation and sexual powerlessness, about class, social boundaries and personal opportunities, based on Annie Ernaux's extraordinary contemporary document.