—It’s a play with a powerful political and social message about people’s experiences of immigration and displacement in today’s world. Its premiere was very much aligned with this issue: The Lingering Now was performed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during the first few months of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency, in the midst of protests about his administration. “It’s Shakespearean”, said Christiane Jatahy in an interview with Le Monde about the country’s situation.
—It’s been one of the European circuit’s most acclaimed pieces of 2019. At the Festival d’Avignon, where it was performed last July, critics called it a much-needed and relevant production. “The Lingering Now has received lots of write-ups: it’s had amazing reviews in the French specialist media”, says Paris Match. Critic Andrew Todd from The Guardian gave it five out of five: “This extraordinary, vital, funny, deeply moving show allows us to feel that we all, to some degree, share her fear”.
—Its special format blurs the boundaries between theater and cinema, taking the audience on a journey that they themselves get involved in. The show suggests that immigrants, the displaced and refugees are just like the rest of us; they could even be one of the people sitting next to us during the performance. Christiane Jatahy has said that, in The Lingering Now, the limits between fiction and reality are tampered with, since the people who appear in the video projections are actually actors, but actors who in real life have had to leave their countries and have been persecuted for their beliefs.
—The Odyssey: This is an epic Greek poem from 7AD written by the poet Homer. It’s made up of 24 books and tells the story of the journey home of hero Odysseus (also known as Ulysses) after fighting in the Trojan War. It takes him two decades to return to the island of Ithaca, where he was king. Penelope, his wife, is waiting for him, dealing with suitors who assume Ulysses is dead and want to take his crown and Telemachus, his son, who decides to go in search of him. It’s considered as one of the founding texts of western literature.
—Ithaca: This is the name of the first piece in Christiane Jatahy’s Our Odyssey project. Like
The Lingering Now, it also links current affairs, territories in conflict and refugees to the Homer’s historical story, by multiplying the characters of Penelope and her suitors. In The Odyssey, Ithaca is the island where Ulysses lives.
—Festival d’Avignon: Started in 1947 in the city of the same name, today it’s the most important performing arts event in France and one of the most attended and most important ones in Europe.