Arts & Theater

World Theatre: Bernard-Marie Koltès | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Bernard-Marie Koltès: Seven Plays is a collection of new American translations of major plays by the world-renowned French playwright, along with a critical introduction to his work, with Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications (2022).

In the Solitude of Cotton Fields

In this most celebrated Koltès masterpiece, a Dealer stops a Client in the street, at the dark hour of twilight, peddling hidden merchandise which the Dealer keeps secret. The Client, in return, refuses to reveal why he has come here, at this hour, and what he truly desires from the Dealer. This encounter, at the brink of bursting into a street fight or turning into a flirt, transforms traditional dramatic dialogue into a succession of long poetic monologues, reaffirming language as the main medium of this dramatic form.

The Night Just Before the Forests

In a profusion of passionate and desperate words, this one sentence hour-long monologue stages the voice of a beggar who stops you in the street, under the rain, asking for a cigarette, money, or a beer, denouncing his living conditions as an outcast, telling stories of his encounters with other outcasts, and his incessant search for a girl named Mama.


Bernard-Marie Koltès (Playwright) is the most celebrated French playwright of the past forty years, an international figure already before his early death from AIDS in 1989. His groundbreaking work is a staple of modern theatre and addresses present-day issues such as sexual identity, social injustice, gender and racial discrimination. As importantly, his style transformed the genre of modern drama in unprecedented ways, aligning him with a tradition of visionary twentieth-century playwrights who changed the theatre as a medium.

Amin Erfani (Translator) is a professor and scholar of 20th and 21st century French, francophone, and comparative literature, with expertise in avant-garde theatre, critical theory, and psychoanalytic studies. In addition to his scholarly work, he is an author publishing in French and English and collaborates with artists from France and the United States to stage his translations of playwrights such as Bernard-Marie Koltès and Valère Novarina. Currently, he is editing a collection of new and forthcoming American translations of Koltès’ plays with Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications. He teaches at Lehman College, City University of New York.

Philip Boulay (Director) trained with Mario Gonzalez, whom he assisted from 1990 to 1992, and with Anatoly Vassiliev, Andreï Serban and Yannis Kokkos (Académie Expérimentale des Théâtres), and acted as the secretary of Bernard Dort. Artistic director of Wor(l)ds…Cie, he has staged numerous productions in France and abroad. From Santiago de Chile to Atlanta, from Lisbon to Ankara, from Kinshasa to Salvador de Bahia, he always works with major institutions, but is also committed to maintaining links with artists who voluntarily place themselves on the margins to carry out “independent” work. His personal research as a director is inseparable from the question of the actor. Philip Boulay has endeavored to build up the loyalty of groups of actors who are both the foundation and the vehicle of his art. He has created plays by Molière, Marivaux, Musset, Shakespeare and Chekhov, as well as contemporary works by Copi, Valère Novarina, Suzan-Lori Parks, Yukio Mishima, Ramon Griffero, Peter Rosenlund, Rémi De Vos and his favorite, Bernard-Marie Koltès (whose most important plays he has directed). He regularly takes on other, non-theatrical material, such as the work based on La double absence by sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad, Clown based on Federico Fellini’s film, or Théâtre, a short story by Antonio Tabucchi.

Ismail ibn Conner (Actor) is an actor, Krump dance choreographer, and acting coach and most recently toured Pascal Rambert’s With My Own Hand and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in France (Paris, Dijon, Bordeaux, Rennes, Brest, St. Quentin) as well as Bogota, Colombia. Centre Dramatique National Orléans’ production of Jean Genet’s Splendid’s, under the direction of French director, Arthur Nauzyciel, featured performances by Mr. Conner in France (Orléans, Tours, Lille, Bourge, Reims, Tarbes, Paris, Lorient, Marseilles), South Korea, Switzerland, and Spain. Ismail is an Artistic Associate of 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta) and founder of the United States Koltès Project, working in cooperation with François Koltès, on American English translations and international performances, which have produced performances in the U.S. and France: Dans la solitude des champs de coton, Le Jour des meurtres dans l’histoire d’Hamlet, and La Nuit juste avant lesforêts (Biennale Koltès). Mr. Conner has performed in many works at 7 Stages including productions of Black Battles with Dogs by Bernard-Marie Koltès (This production was performed at Festival d’Avignon (In Festival), Hellenic Festival (Greece), Playing French Festival (Chicago) to name a few; Master Harold and the boys, by Athol Fugard (national tour); Skinwalkers by Murray Mednick; Iphigenia a rave fable by Caridad Svich. Ismail is also a Résidences Internationale aux Récollets Laureate and a La Chartreuse: Centre national des écritures du spectacle laureate. Mr. Conner was in artistic residence at Université de Lorraine Paul Verlaine-Metz’s B.M. Koltès theatre for Biennale Koltès 2009, working on translation of Le Jour des meurtres dans l’histoire d’Hamlet and Université de Lorraine Paul Verlaine-Metz’s publication on translation: Bernard-Marie Koltès: Textes et Contextes, in which Mr. Conner’s essay on acting, writing, and translation: Solitude, is featured.

Tony Torn is an actor and director with over a hundred professional credits in film, television and theatre since 1985.   Recent Stage: SPIDER RABBIT directed by Dan Safer at The Prelude Festival; Bedlam’s FALL RIVER FISHING directed by Eric Tucker; Mabou Mines’ MUD/DROWNING directed by Joanne Akalaitis; DOM JUAN at The Fisher Center, Bard College, directed by Ashley Tata. Recent Screen: LAW & ORDER SVU (NBC); THE BLACKLIST (NBC); TEENAGE BOUNTY HUNTERS (Netflix). Upcoming: feature films THE DUTCHMAN & EXHIBITING FORGIVENESS. Tony is known for working extensively with experimental theatre makers Reza Abdoh and Richard Foreman, as the founding director for Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, playing Rusty Trawler in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY‘S on Broadway opposite Emilia Clark, and creating and starring in UBU SINGS UBU with Dan Safer. Most recently, Tony directed the English language premiere of Romina Paula’s acclaimed play THE WHOLE OF TIME at Torn Page, a private event space named in honor of his parents Rip Torn and Geraldine Page.

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