situations preview II

These are the Situations from 19 to 25.

You ll find here a preview, a short description, and if you want to order the complete score,
send an email to francois.sarhan[at]

you ll find the preview for the situations 1-18 HERE.

thanks for your interest !

Situation 19

2 performers standing up (no props)

The text is a quotation from Siegfried Buback, former nazi, who was General attorney of Germany in the 70´s.

Situation 20

3 performers or more
one standing up, the others can stand up or sit (no props)

The text is a classical quotation from the moderns.

Situation 22

1 performer
 (no text)

props: one instrument (indifferent), one chair, one music stand, one music score

Situation 23

1 performer  (no props)

The text is a semi quotation from Plato, quoted by Jacques Rancière in Le philosophe et ses pauvres.

 Situation 25

one performer
props: one table, one chair, one glass, one bottle.

The text is a personal statement given by a post modern artist.

The philosophy in the Boudoir II

The philosophy in the boudoir is a music theatre show, premiered in Stuttgart on the 5th of february 2016, and performed by the incredible Neue Vocal Solisten, in the context of the Eclat music festival.

I (FS) conceived the show, directed it, composed the music, compiled the texts, organised the stage design, and i did the video.

The main theme of the show is the pressure (or oppression) put on an individual by a group, more specifically on a woman, by a group of men. This general theme is developed in three different contexts which are displayed simultaneously from three perspectives in the room. Each third of the audience attends one of the three.

To achieve this, i used a simple trick: first, the action is set around a table placed in the center of the room, so that each third of the audience sees the same table but from a different angle, and second the singers use an invented language, which is translated into german and projected above the table.

Each of the three translations is visible by each third of the audience. It is possible to seat in a position which shows a bit of 2 stories, but 360° is not possible.

The first question which came was: how is it possible to make only one music, one action for three radically different actions and contexts without facing destructive and counter productive contradictions?

That could be a statement, which is that the signification of the words is indifferent, or at least disconnected to the musical and theatrical action. That is partly true, the words are radically different according to the version, and sometimes leads towards a absurdist or irrealistic behavior from the singers in relation to the plot. However, the simultaneity of these words and the music and the action create a unity, therefore a signification and "builds a reality” so to speak, an overlaying of meanings. And in any case the general course of the play is very strictly focused on the annihilation of this character (namely, the soprano), so that what is not realistic in detail is consistent on a larger scale.

Johanna Zimmer

The stage design was made of a large paper accumulation, suspended above the singers. It is a sort of "association cloud", in other words a set of evocations which help to focus on one story context.

Before going to details for each of the three contexts and stories, i d like to point out that all the words and ideas and notions expressed in them is found material. One of the plot is taken from La Philosophie dans le Boudoir, by D.A.F de Sade, that i have cut drastically. For the two others I collected historical material, interviews, testimonies, and i´ve cut, rearranged them, without adding anything significant (only linking words). That said for those who wouldn´t believe that these words have really been said or heard in our world: here there is (sadly) no invention and no exaggeration. The sources are mainly accessible on the internet.

A job interview in a big company.

The competition and pressure between big coroporations has become such that the head hunting is more and more shameless, and lifes get broken because of impossible situations or pressures put by companies on individuals, sometimes leading to suicide.
Here we attend a job interview which turns to be blackmail, or greenmail. To be hunted by a big company which offers a better salary is ca common situation. That this offer turns to be blackmail or at least a no choice one is (happily) much more unusual.
The situation is real and is taken from an (anonymous) testimony of an employee.
The names of the employer is changed, the context also, but not the mechanism of the blackmail. The topics and arguments are a compilation of differents CEOs quotations, namely Koch (MBM), Alexandre de Juniac (Air France, about legal working age) Patrick le Lay (french national television, about the role of television to sell empty brains to Coca Cola), Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestle ´s Chaiman about water as an product, etc. I also used examples from Naomi Klein, in No Logo, to describe the discret but powerful actions of these companies to modify the legislations and manipulate the experts.

la Philosophy in the Boudoir
Text by D.A.F de Sade

The last scene of the play stages the assembly of libertines. They gave to Eugenie, who is an young adolescent, an initiation in the general moral aspect of life (absence of God, sexual freedom, preeminence of the individual will upon the collective needs, equality man/woman in all the domains). At that moment appears Mrs M., Eugenie´s mother, who comes to rescue her daughter from the influence of these dangerous and immoral free thinkers. What was first the condamnation of the society and its values become the trial of a woman, or in other terms the impersonalization of the values of the society into a single person. Here lies the contradictions of de Sade: his call for freedom and free thinking is presented by him as universal but is actually restricted to the few ones who share his views, and who can afford to keep their life standard through slavery. It is yet another proof that the “declaration Universelle des Droits de l´homme” of the french revolution, which is the ideology he defends and pushes to its extremes, was limited to a very small and privileged group of people, thus unconsciously perpetuating the feodal society model they were loudly condemning.

Stammheim, 1975

During the trial of the RAF members Ensslin, Baarder, Raspe and Meinhof, an intense political and mediatic activity tried to reduce the possible sympathy of the population for the accuses, and to avoid the contagion of their actions and ideas. Years after, part of this activity (there is certainly still much more to discover) has been revealed to the public, notably the one of general attorney Buback, who didn´t believe in the legal action against RAF, but merely in military action. (he said for instance “People like Baader doesn´t deserve a fair trial”). A discret episode of this sadly fascinating saga was the inquiry about Meinhof´s brain. She had a minor brain surgery in 1962 that Buback tried to instrumentalize in 1975 in order to prove that she was insane, and therefore insinuating that she could need another brain surgery. This new one, he suggested, could be done by Dr. Loew, a notorious neurosurgeon in Germany, who was experimenting with “adaptive surgery” on prisoners. What does this elegant term "adaptive” mean? For some it´s cretinization, lobotomy...

The Philosophy in the Boudoir

A music theatre piece,
with the Neue Vocal Solisten Stuttgart

this is a short description in french...

La situation scénique de départ est la rencontre autour d´une table de six personnes, situation qui pourrait etre celle d´un anniversaire formel, une fete de bureau, un club quelconque.
Cette action utilise quelques gestes quotidiens, tels que boire, s´adresser à quelqu´un, lever un papier, une bouteille. Puis, elle les détourne. L´action est entièrement notée : se lever, serrer la main, regarder à gauche ou droite, etc. Cette action obéit toujours à une logique musicale, c´est à dire  des séquences de développements, avec l´introduction de nouveaux éléments, etc.

La dissociation de ces gestes et de leur fonction entraine de l´absurde, éventuellement du comique. Le comportement qui en découle devient mécanique, ou  lyrique, ou animalier. 

L´idée générale est qu´il y n y a pas de correspondance entre le texte et la musique ou l´action scénique a priori. Cette relation s´est définie pendant la conception des trois livrets, qui s´est faite après la composition musicale. Les livrets sont, du reste, optionnels, car ils ne sont destinés qu´à etre projetés sous forme de surtitrage.
L´action est donc abstraite de tout contexte, de tout texte. C´est du mime.
La dramaturgie aussi tourne à vide, si ce n´est le sens qu on peut lui donner a posteriori.
On pourrait donc dire qu il y a quatre dramaturgies: trois livrets, et une action musicale et scénique.

L´intrigue est triple,  et il y a trois surtitrages parallèles.

1- La philosophie dans le boudoir, de Sade, ou plutot la fin du texte. La soprano est la mère d´Eugénie qui vient squver sa fille (de gré ou de force) de la dépravation et de la débauche commise avec et par les autres, qui sont des libertins anarchistes.

2- Sur la scène “bizness”, c´est l´intronisation  ou au moins un entretien d´embauche pour une femme (toujours la soprano) dans une grande entreprise, entretien qui va virer au chantage. 

3- Sur la troisième scène, il s´agit d´un extrait du jugement d´Ulrike Meinhof en 1975-76, (incarnée par Johanna Zimmer), pendant lequel a été émise l´idée de lui faire subir une opération du cerveau.

Aucun de ces textes n´est de moi, pour Sade il s´agit d´une couture d´extraits du texte original, plus un ajout extrait des 120 journées de Sodome.

Pour la scène “bizness” il s´agit d´une compilation de déclarations de CEOs, patrons, directeurs commerciaux, etc.

Pour le procès Meinhof, c´est une compilation des minutes du procès, des extraits de lettres de Meinhof, des déclarations officielles à la presse.

Dans les trois cas, je n´ai fait qu´ajouter quelques mots outils ou répliques qui forment des transitions ou des liens, mais rien qui ne soit substantiel.

Je n´ai rien inventé, je n´ai fait que prélever, coller. Ce point est très important, parce qu´il s´agit d´un contrat avec le spectateur : tout ce qu il entend est vrai, a été dit, et/ou fait, et dans le cas de Sade, c´est un emprunt à l´œuvre littéraire.

Je n´ai pas besoin de m´étendre sur ce qui relie et différencie les trois livrets (oppression, relation au pouvoir, violence d´un groupe sur un individu, en particulier une femme, destruction idéologique, etc.).
Je mentionnerai juste que je n ai pas cherché le contraste entre les trois, pour provoquer des scènes qui feraient rire d un coté et peur d´un autre, par exemple.
Je dirais simplement que quelqu´un qui assisterait aux trois versions en déduirait une vision plutôt pessimiste des rapports de pouvoir, qu´ils soient déclarés ou latents.

Francois Sarhan


The scores of the Situations are on sale (just send me an email)
for the ones who are curious of the ones which have no interpretations available on youtube, these are screen shots (for previews)

You ll find previews for the Situations 19-25 HERE.

3 players

1 player
with percussion instruments, or kitchen set, or body percussion

SITUATION 3 "Use composition"
 one player

SITUATION 4 "Vice versa"

SITUATION 5 "a good action"
1 player
 no props, one table

SITUATION 6 "hope"
2 or 3 players
no props

SITUATION 7 "imagination"
2 players
no props

SITUATION 8 "Art Incognito"
2 players 
2 chairs

SITUATION 9 "only"
one or two players

SITUATION 11 "forget it"
one player
one chair
one sheet of paper

 SITUATION 12 "An announcement"
 1 player
one table, one chair, one bottle, one glass.

 SITUATION 13 "reality is unbearable"
 3 players
no props

 SITUATION 14 "it can´t be"
 tyo players
2 bass drums

 SITUATION 15 "Macht und Freiheit"
3 players, various props

SITUATION 16 "now to understand"
one player
one chair
one table

2 players
no props

SITUATION 18 "I is an identity fantasy"
2 players
no props

You ll find previews for the Situations 19-25 HERE.