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Caroline Giela Nguyen. “I am the only female director of the national theater, people tell me that a lot”

The new director of the National Theater of Strasbourg is brimming with projects full of energy and humanity. Weaver of links and sculptor of words, he stages life in all its diversity.

She is a theater woman, author, director, company director at the same time. Its specialty is that it represented different faces and bodies, whole parts of the world that were missing from filming. Caroline Giela Nguyen has just published an artistic manifesto. Theater of the heart (1), and will take over the reins of TNS in September.

In the video, In the bodythe teaser

Miss Figaro. – Talk about your appointment as head of TNS.
Caroline Giela Nguyen. It is a great honor for me to become the director of this beautiful theater. I am the only female director of the National Theater. They pay a lot of attention to me. Let me add that there is no reason for me to be the only one. I come with inner convictions and above all diversity. I am going to expand my work with the tools of theater: audience diversity and the set.

You say that when you were at TNS school you were the only non-white…
Yes! And I intend to increase diversity in the school. Even if my predecessor, Stanislas Nordey, has already asked himself these questions. I also really want to make this place an intersection of audiovisual and cinema. We are going to create a partnership with Arte.

Your book Theater of the heart just a bookstore. Why this title?
Someone sent me a message after the performance. “Your theater is heartfelt forever“. I found myself very beautiful. The title stood out clearly.

Your company is called Approximate Men. Do you like beautiful titles?
It’s similar theater of the heart I choose the titles without really knowing what they will cover. I have never read Tristan Czar and came across this book at a party. The closest person. It spoke to me. I didn’t do the same shows at all. It was as if the title revealed the upcoming program to me.

“Diversity is exclusively political”

What about your work?
Diversity is highly political. When I start a show, I don’t ask myself the question in these terms. It’s just my need to write, its material. What I mean by that is that for juice, inspiration, a reason to start writing, I imagine scenes, situations, with people who wouldn’t a priori talk to each other. I need to hear languages.

It comes from your background…
My Vietnamese mother lived in exile in the holds of a boat. My father is an Algerian Jew, the same. After World War II, he joined Algeria in a boathouse. The French state did not consider it normal to return its soldiers from Africa to the homeland. I was born in 1981 and grew up in one of the villages in the south. My only obsession is to have a Chevignon bag like my friends. I don’t know what has happened in their lives. I built myself into this ignorance, this kind of thing gap space between them and me.

It’s in the holes of history, isn’t it, that the imagination runs wild?
Of course… I am presenting a certain history of France. My mother did not teach me Vietnamese. My father never spoke Arabic. But my mother’s silence is a political, French silence. He didn’t have to speak his language to fit in.

In your book, you say that there are traces of Vietnamese in Duras’ script…
It’s great and exciting… He spoke Vietnamese as a child. He kept something from Vietnam. This is one of the reasons that made me passionately love his books. He spoke to me in Vietnamese, a language I have not learned.

My Vietnamese mother lived in exile in the holds of a boat. My father, a Jew from Algeria, the same (…). I present a certain history of France

Carolyn Giela Nguyen

How do you write? In your book, you talk about the Bible as Godard’s closet, which contains everything the viewer doesn’t see…
I’m not into writing. I come with a narrative universe, I propose it to the actors, we work. Then I write again, the language is still there. I spend my life writing. If we talk about the Bible, it really is Godard’s closet. I believe in theater, in the thick of things. I always have a knack for making the audience think that a character exists before they see it. The Bible is the order of the unseen, the inner geography of characters.

Your room Saigon (2) ends like this. “This is how stories are told in Vietnam, with many tears. »
These tears are why people either love me or hate me. It’s something I won’t miss. my relationship with emotions, tears. My next show in May 2024 on TNS is called Lacrima. I can only say that I spend a lot of time with lace makers from Alençon, old women who have the know-how, this secret of the workshop. I also spend time in associations that provide legal support to women who are victims of domestic violence.

You are going to make history… Your last show was commissioned by the Berlin Schaubuene…
Kindheitsarchive: work on international adoption where I listened to adult adoptees speak. What does it create as an exile? The piece is more rooted in reality than the others.

Have you made a movie? The sunken one (3)…
I did a seminar with long-term prisoners from Arles prison. We created fiction. The issue of time was central. When you have a family, how do you banish yourself from your life for ten, twenty years? Back to: Lacrima, it is the first opus of a more global repertoire of reasons to cry. I begin the modern history of tears.

(1) theater of the heart With the complicity of Aurélie Charon, published by Actes Sud-Papiers. (2) Saigon, On May 26 and 27 at the Singles Festival in Antwerp (Belgium). (3) Absorbed broadcast of the short film on February 25 at La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand. As well as :Brotherhood, a fantasy tale, on February 3 at the National Theater in Nice, and from February 23 to 25 at La Comédie in Clermont-Ferrand.

Source: Le Figaro

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