Je suis la Liberté

It’s been a while since I’ve had any thoughts on theatre (hence a change in the site’s tagline well over a year ago) but in light of the recent events, I think it’s about time we thunk.

(I’ll never understand how that word made it into the dictionary, informal or otherwise).

As of last Tuesday, I began rehearsals for one of the two shows I’m directing this year. It focusses on the character of Death, and the perceptions people have of her. She’s a pretty clumsy individual, and today of all days, she made what the industry calls a “whoopsie”: not enough people died.

Last Wednesday, seventeen lives were lost in the shootings on Charlie Hebdo HQ in Paris, and several more were injured. Lives were taken in the name of an entity the culprits believed in, and in opposition to the freedom of expression, a freedom Charlie Hebdo used to satirise varying world religions, politicians and societal constructs. Some people say they were asking for it, others say people didn’t get the joke. But as a country that, politically speaking, is moving further and further to the right, I can’t help thinking there is an irony at a unity rally protesting (and defending) a liberal mentality. Especially in the face of the censorship the attackers valued because their particular religion apparently says so (depends on whose reading the book, I suppose). On the bright side, worldwide rallies meant one was held in Trafalgar Square, so maybe that means the English now like the French… Too optimistic?

So why am I connecting the rehearsal with an event that, even now, I’m failing to comprehend?

Last Tuesday saw myself and my writer-soon-to-be-performer spend five long and lovely hours in a studio, pumping in the same ventilated air and drying our throats, editing every last drop out of her script. Thursday was the result of those five hours and, I have to say, it was a damn fine result. In between those days, the attack happened. I stood in my kitchen, watching the updates: twelve people reported dead at Charlie Hebdo. Speechless.

Come Thursday, the conversation turned towards the attack – it would’ve been weird if it hadn’t. Readthrough #2 had finished, and it was time for a big ol’ think.

Original image by Mortuseon

Original image by Mortuseon


The topic of freedom or liberation that death can bring never surfaced, strangely enough. Admittedly, I didn’t think about it until now, but to some, death is liberation.

I’ll leave you with my notes from Tuesday and Thursday. Maybe it’s just me, but the change between the days is quite stark.

Interesting to see the difference a day makes, don’t you think?

Je suis Charlie? Je suis la Liberté.




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