[ndlr] Résumé succinct de notre intervention au Service Historique de la Défense dans le cadre de la journée d’étude « Saigon, témoin de l’histoire à travers les archives ».
Depuis sa construction en 1898, le théâtre de la ville de Saigon a épousé les soubresauts politiques et sociaux de la ville. Ce récit visuel propose une pérégrination commentée des principaux moments clés de ce monument emblématique en contexte colonial et postcolonial. A travers 9 périodes historiques identifiées, nous interrogerons les différentes destinations de ce lieu à la fois acteur et témoin de l’histoire de la ville. Intérieur, extérieur, dedans, dehors, autour, au-dessus… nous verrons comment la centralité de ce bâtiment lui a conféré une place privilégiée pour appréhender l’évolution politique, sociale ou culturelle du Saigon colonial à la mégapole d’aujourd’hui.
Notre communication s’appuiera sur la documentation photographique présente sur le portail Virtual Saigon, entrée Saigon Opera House.
[ndlr] Annonce Sens Interdits, Festival international de théâtre 2013.
Après le très bel épisode de la création de la 1ère Époque en octobre 2011 au Théâtre des Célestins, la jeune et lumineuse troupe cambodgienne de Phare Ponleu Selpak adapte la deuxième partie de la pièce. Débutant au mois de mars 1970, elle fait entrer sur scène les Khmers rouges. Grande fresque d’une tragédie qui n’est, à ce jour, toujours pas apaisée, cette épopée vibrante marche sur les pas de Norodom Sihanouk, roi à la fois impulsif, capricieux et romantique, pris en étau entre intrigues de palais et mécanismes de l’histoire politique mondiale.
C’est avec une très grande fierté que le Festival Sens Interdits, aux côtés du Théâtre du Soleil, accompagne sur la durée ce voyage audacieux, singulier et bouleversant dans l’histoire chaotique du peuple cambodgien.
Représentation les mardi 29 et mercredi 30 octobre 2013 – Grande Salle (Célestins)
De : Hélène Cixous | D’après la mise en scène de : Ariane Mnouchkine (1985) | Mise en scène : Georges Bigot, Delphine Cottu
Avec Chea Ravy, Chhit Phearath, Chhit Chanpireak, Horn Sophea, Houn Bonthoeun, Huot Hoeurn, Huoth Hieng, Khuon Anann, Khuonthan Chamroeun, Mao Sy, Nouv Srey Leab, Nut Samnang, Ong Phana, Pin Sreybo, Pov Thy Nitra, Preap Pouch, Sam Monny, Sam Sary, San Marady, Sim Sophal, Sok Doeun, Sok Kring, Thorn Sovannkiry, Uk Kosal, Uk Sinat Musicien(s) – Norng Chantha, Pho Bora, Pring Sopheara, Vath Chenda / Assistant à la mise en scène – Sophie Piollet / Créateur lumière – Elsa Revol / Créateur costumes – Marie-Hélène Bouvet, Elisabeth Cerqueira
Direction historique et textuelle – Ashley Thompson / Traduction – Ang Choulean / Décor – Everest Canto de Montserrat, Elena Antsiferova / Interprète et surtitrage – Rotha Moeng
D’après la mise en scène d’Ariane Mnouchkine (1985)
Coproduction – Théâtre du Soleil, Festival Sens Interdits – les Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon , École des Arts Phare Ponleu Selpak
Nguyen Chi Thien, l’auteur des Fleurs de l’enfer est décédé le 2 octobre à l’âge de 73 ans en Californie. Pour son attitude critique vis-à-vis du régime, il passa 27 ans de sa vie dans les geôles du Viêt Nam communiste. A l’occasion de sa disparition, Mémoires d’Indochine reproduit ci-après sa fiche biographique parue dans The Viet Nam Literature Project. Composés de mémoire pendant les différentes périodes d’incarcérations de Nguyen Chi Thien entre 1960 et 1991, les poésies du receuil les Fleurs de l’enfer ont été traduites en langue anglaise et éditées à plusieurs reprises. Elles furent interprétées au Théâtre du Ranelagh à Paris en 1987 par Stanislas de la Tousche et Katharina Wittkowska. Une façon pour les éditions Đường Mới La voie nouvelle de rendre hommage au poète contestataire alors qu’il était encore emprisonné au Viêt-Nam.
Nguyen Chi Thien
There is nothing beautiful about my poetry
It’s like highway robbery, oppression, TB blood cough
There is nothing noble about my poetry
It’s like death, perspiration, and rifle butts
My poetry is made up of horrible images
Like the Party, the Youth Union, our leaders, the Central Committee
My poetry is somewhat weak in imagination
Being true like jail, hunger, suffering
My poetry is simply for common folks
To read and see through the red demons’ black hearts
1975 – from Flowers of Hell by Nguyen Chi Thien translated by Nguyen Ngoc Bich
Nguyen Chi Thien was born in 1939 in Ha Noi. His father worked as an official in the municipal court and his mother sold small necessities in the neighborhood. At the end of 1946, when the war between France and Vietnam broke out, his family fled to their native village in the countryside.
The family returned to a more stable Ha Noi in 1949 and Thien started school in private academies. After the defeat of the French in 1954 he cheered the Viet Minh revolutionaries as they also returned to the city, proud to invite soldiers home to supper.
The drama of Nguyen Chi Thien’s life begins in Haiphong, the strongly Communist port city of northern Viet Nam. When Thien contracted tuberculosis in 1956 his parents sold their house for money to treat their son and moved with him near his sister and her family there.
The authorities already held Thien in suspicion, because his brother had joined the National Army moving to South Vietnam. One day in December, 1960 Thien unwittingly stepped over the line while covering the high school class of a sick friend.
Thien noticed the history textbook taught that the Soviet Union had defeated the Imperial Army of Japan in Manchuria, bringing an end to World War II. Oh no, he told his students, the United States defeated Japan when they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nguyen Chi Thien paid for this remark with three years and six months in labor camps, on a sentence of two years. He met other literary men in jail, composed poems in his head and learned them by heart. In 1966 he was returned to prison after a short release.
This time the police charged him with composing politically irreverent poems that circulated in Ha Noi and Hai Phong. He denied it, and spent another eleven years and five months in labor camps.
Authorities never brought him to trial, for lack of evidence, but they had the right man. The tubercular youth had become an outlaw whose every step and breath counted the beat of verses, poetry against oppression.
In 1977, two years after Saigon fell, Thien and other political prisoners were released to make room for officers of the Republic of Viet Nam. He had been composing poems all the while, and now seized the opportunity of freedom to write them down and bring his art to the world.
Two days after Bastille Day, on July 16, 1979, Thien dashed into the British Embassy at Ha Noi with his manuscript of four hundred poems. He had prepared a cover letter in French, but the embassy of France was too closely guarded.
British diplomats welcomed him and promised to send his manuscript out of the country. When he got out of the Embassy, security agents waited for him at the gate. Dragged to Hoa Lo prison, the famous Ha Noi Hilton now empty of US flyers, he spent another twelve years in jail and prison camps, often in stocks in solitary darkness.
It came to a total of twenty-seven years’ imprisonment. But meanwhile, the British diplomats kept their word. Nguyen Chi Thien’s manuscript collection Flowers of Hell appeared in Vietnamese in two separate editions overseas.
Nguyen Chi Thien had the great satisfaction of seeing a copy of his book waved in his face by his angry captors. He didn’t know that his poems also were translated into English, French, German, Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, and Korean. They were set to music by the great Pham Duy and sung around the world.
While their author lay in irons, Thien’s poems won the International Poetry Award in Rotterdam in 1985. Six years later the poet was released from jail, as the socialist world collapsed in 1991. He lived in Ha Noi under close watch by the authorities, but his international following also kept an eye on Thien.
Human Rights Watch honored him in 1995. That year he emigrated to the United States, due to the intervention of Noburo Masuoka, retired Air Force colonel, a career military officer who was drafted into the U.S. Army from an internment camp for Japanese Americans in 1945.
After the normalization of relations with Viet Nam, Masuoka was able to arrange special asylum for the poet in the United States. Thien went to Virginia, the home of his brother, Nguyen Cong Gian, whom he had not seen for forty-one years.
Gian himself had lived America only since 1993. A lieutenant colonel in the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, he had been taken to a re-education camp in the North right after the fall of Saigon in 1975, to remain for thirteen years.
As if released from prison once more, Thien wrote down another book’s worth of poems from memory. The three hundred Vietnamese poems and some select English translations were published in 1996.
In 1998, The International Parliament of Writers awarded Nguyen Chi Thien a three-year fellowship in France. He lectured around Europe while he wrote and published a collection of short stories, rooted in the reality of his years in Hoa Lo prison.
Nguyen Chi Thien returned from France to Orange County, California, where he took the oath of American citizenship in 2004. He continues to improve his health and speaks regularly on humanitarian issues of interest to the Vietnamese community.