Adapted by David Furlong, Co-Directed by David Furlong and Kevin Rowntree
A play with the live band A RIOT IN HEAVEN on stage.
Produced by Exchange Theatre, Myriad Productions, Indie Ocean and Camden People’s theatre.
“A Mauritian company presented an amazingly intense performance” The Scotsman
“A host of theatrical innovations, enthralling, gripping action,totally engaging” 4 stars, Fringereview.
“It’s commendable to see so much innovation, invention, and energy !” The Londonist
Sartre tells in The Flies “the tragedy of liberty against that of fatality”. The flies are the symbol of the burden of fate. Fear is what drives people, today, to become, like in Argos, ghost like, fed by TV and sugary sodas. “THE FLIES meets Fight Club” is a raw performance with live music: a Greek myth, revealed as a bloody tale of liberty : Orestes comes back to his birth-place of argos to find a whole population under the oppression of fear and guilt: They all bear the burden of his father Agamemnon’s assassination by Clytemnestra, his mother, and her lover Aeghistaeus some fifteen years ago. The flies are constantly tormenting Argos. He discovers his sister has been turned into a servant and tries to lead a revolution. Orestes decides to kill Aeghisteus and Clytemnestra. « The painful secret of Kings and Gods is that men are free ». The Flies are an image, a symbol of several ideas such as remorse, guilt, fear and fate. The people of Argos are part of a system into which they were born, which they had not chosen and which they accept passively and guiltily. Orestes will realize that he is Free. The contrast between free responsibility, symbolized by Orestes, and guilty responsibility, symbolized by the flies, is a central theme of the play.
Jean-Paul Sartre, in his early thirties, was captured in 1940 and spent nine months as a prisoner of war where he wrote The Flies. His work explored the problem of being both an intellectual at the same time as becoming “engaged” politically. He is the most famous existentialist writer along with Albert Camus, and an eternal figure of rebellion. Sartre was a rebel rejecting tradition and any form of imposed order. He was polygamous,revolutionary (a communist but never wanted to be a member of the party), and he even refused the Nobel Prize of literature late in his life, saying he didn’t want “to be changed into an institution”. In 1968, even aged 63, he was arrested for civil disobedience.
Director’s note: Sartre meets Fight Club
« Existentialism frightens because it leaves room for choices »
If you look for “Existentialism” in Wikipedia, you will find Sartre and you will also find the 1995 book FIGHT CLUB by Chuck Palahniuk. The two works, separated by 45 years, talk about the same universal and contemporary matter: Freedom. Nowadays, in a world of political correctness, Sartre would be the most rebellious philosopher. Furthermore, Sartre would be fighting today against the disinformation of the people and still urging westerners to look for their freedom of speech and opinions and ways of living. It is hard to choose freedom. It is more easy to remain in fear. The moral boundaries represented by The Flies would be today that of the westerners so called moral values that led to war in the middle east, to the destruction of the whole Iraki culture and to lies about weapons of mass destruction. Fear is what leads half the world to be at war with the other. And it is also the same fear, broadcasted on Tv, and supported by the medias once again that drives people to become, like in Argos, ghost like, fed by Tv and sugary sodas. Once again the comparison with FIGHT CLUB seems very accurate when looking closely at the anti-consumerism, anti-mtv pamphlet. “ In 20th century Western culture, theatre is primarily visual entertainment. We see it with our eyes but do not experience it and learn from it.” JP SARTRE. The Flies by Echange Theatre is a performance as rough as “Sartre meets Fight Club. With live music, ECHANGE THEATRE and A RIOT IN HEAVEN welcomes the audience to a unique performance. where a greek myth will be revealed to them as a bloody, crude and contemporary recount of their own world. Physical theatre and real stage Fights brought by Myriad Productions. With the support of footages broadcasted on six tv sets on stage, The Flies takes life and Argos resembles undoubtedly a very familiar world for the audience. Following Sartre ’s most important principles, The Flies is a show of rebellion and hopefully of liberty.
July 2008: Camden fringe festival
11th to 29th of March 2009: Camden People’s Theatre
With Pierre Becker, Niall Costigan, Miranda Colman, Fanny Dulin, Brett Foulser, David Furlong, Shani Perez, Adam Piercy, Kevin Rowntree, Sadao Ueda, George Xander, Aqil Zahid.
Live music by the band, A RIOT IN HEAVEN, live: Nicolas Fok Shan, Dilan Hookoomsing, Stephan Palmyre, Christophe Pigeot.
Video design: Jason Greenberg,
Fights choreographies: Kevin Rowntree,
Technical supervisor: Benedict Cooper.