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59th Avignon Festival to comprise “blood” and “tears”
 The 59th Avignon Festival of the performing arts (Festival d’Avignon) opens on July 8 and will run until the 27th. Coming back from a strike-induced cancellation of the festival in 2003, the Avignon Festival returned in 2004 under the direction of Vincent Baudriller and with a new system by which the festival program is organized each year in cooperation with a different “associate artist.” In the second year under this new system, acclaimed Belgian artist Jan Fabre follows the 2004 festival’s Thomas Ostermeier as the 2005 associate artist. “We hope that the Avignon Festival will continue to be the festival of creativity and discovery that it always has been,” say the directors Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller. This ambitious spirit is reflected in that fact that four in five of the roughly 50 productions on the 2005 festival schedule were still in the works at the time the program was decided, and more than half are new works.
Naturally, attention is focused on the works that Jan Fabre will present. Fabre has been a regular performer at the Avignon Festival, having performed Das Glas im Kopf wird vom Glas (Glass in the head will be made of glass) and in 2000 he presented the work My movements are alone like street dogs. In 2001 a performance of his work I am Blood was given at the inner court of the Vatican along with a display of his installation, painting and sculpture, and in 2004 he presented the new work Angel of Death. This year Fabre will present a new version of I am Blood and a diptych titled History of Tears. There will also be performances of his past works, displays of his installation, painting and sculpture and other projects like a reading of works by Flemish-speaking and French-speaking Belgian writers, a collaboration he has conducted between dancers and a pipe organist, as well a display of his stage designs. It is certain to be a stimulating program of Jan Fabre art, full of the “blood” and “tears” to which his titles refer.
+Program works by Jan Fabre
History of Tears
Aug. 8-13, Cour d’honneur du Palais des papes
I am Blood
Aug. 15-17, Cour d’honneur du Palais des papes. About 20 performers (actors, dancers, musicians) create a world like a Bosch painting.
L’Empereur de la perte
Aug. 20-22, Théâtre municipal. The first of a diptych of monologue plays performed by Dirk Roofthooft. A performing clown also appears.
Le Roi du plagiat
Aug. 25-27, Théâtre municipal. The second of a diptych of monologue plays performed by Dirk Roofthooft. A clown angle dreams of becoming human again.
+Other main works
Frere & Soeur
Dance by Mathilde Monnier
La Place du singe
Dance theater with Christine Angot and choreography by Mathilde Monnier. A work that premiered at the Montpelier Dance Festival in late June.
A new work by Wim Vandekeybus, who has worked in the past with Jan Fabre. A Fanttasy combining theater, dance and film.
Blasted (Aneantis in French)
The first work of Sarah Kanne, directed by Thomas Ostermeier for the first performance in France.
You Made Me a Monster
A new video work from this year by William Forsythe, first performance in France.
+Festival d’Avignon