Comdie-Franaise: The Damned (Les Damns)




Crackling with intensity, this triumphant spectacle directed by Ivo van Hove depicts the disintegration of a society, undone through a venomous alliance, the drama finding unsettling parallels today.

Luchino Viscontis screenplay is the springboard for a ceaselessly creative production, which follows a family of German industrialists the corrupt and debauched Essenbeck clan. With echoes of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, their deepening collusion with the nascent Nazi regime puts them on a perilous path to destruction.

Invited to direct the illustrious troupe of Comdie-Franaise for the first time, Van Hove and his long-time collaborator Jan Versweyveld populate the Barbican stage with a company of 30 actors and technicians. Archival footage and live recordings projected onto a screen form a counterpoint to the immense and involving action, the roving camera at times turned on audiences. Pulsating sound and arresting visual metaphors heighten the impact of a play that really must be seen, sensed and felt (New York Stage Review).

This is show is part of the Spotlight on Comdie-Franaise festival at Institut franais

Duration: 2 hours 10 mins, no interval
Age guidance: 16+ (contains adult themes, graphic violence and nudity)

Performed in French with English surtitles

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