How, and to what end, do we continue to glorify then debunk resistance movements? Belgian communist partisans during the German occupation, leftist French resistance fighters at the heart of the Algerian War, agents in the Congo’s struggle for independence: what should we take from their testimonies? Adopting a rigorous approach, Adeline Rosenstein and her indefatigable team confront the complexity of History with humility.
Laboratoire poison demands a radical commitment of us: to question the mechanisms that are set in motion when we make judgements. Bodies, archival materials, and living photographs move in precisely calibrated choreography, passing blame around with delightful alacrity. The twelve performers on stage are passionate storytellers seemingly able to embody the voices of hundreds, even thousands, of individuals, reminding us of the masses of rebels who have defied the wall of authority. A dense, instructive, exhilarating work!
Produced by Halles de Schaerbeek + Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne – Centre Dramatique National
Created, written and directed by Adeline Rosenstein
Performed by Aminata Abdoulaye Hama + Marie Alié + Habib Ben Tanfous + Marie Devroux + Salim Djaferi + Thomas Durcudoy + Rémi Faure El Bekkari + Titouan Quittot + Adeline Rosenstein + Talu + Audilia Batista + Jérémie Zagba
Sound Design Andrea Neumann + Brice Agnès
Set and Costume Design Yvonne Harder
Lighting Design Arié Van Egmond
Assistant Director, Text and Dramaturgy Marie Devroux
Outside Eye Léa Drouet
Technical Direction Jean-François Philips
Lighting Manager Benoît Serneels
Documentation Saphia Arezki
Historical Consultants Jean-Michel Chaumont (Poison 1) + Denis Leroux (Poison 2) + Jean Omasombo Tshonda (Poison 3)
Dramaturgical Consultants Michael Disanka + Christiana Tabaro
Production Coordination Maison Ravage – Edgar Martin + Hanna El Fakir
Touring Habemus Papam – Cora-Line Lefèvre + Julien Sigard
Executive Producer Halles de Schaerbeek
Translation Brune BAZIN with the support of Wallonie-Bruxelles international
Surtitles revision and preparation Elaine Normandeau
Surtitles operation Adèle Saint-Amand
Co-produced by Maison Ravage (Bruxelles) + Festival de Marseille + Théâtre Océan Nord (Bruxelles) + Festival Sens Interdits (Lyon) + Théâtre des 13 vents – CDN Montpellier + La Comédie de Saint-Étienne + Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers + La Balsamine (Bruxelles) + Little Big Horn (Bruxelles) + La Coop asbl (Bruxelles) + Shelter Prod (Bruxelles)
With the support of Taxshelter Taxshelter.be + ING + Tax-Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral Belge + Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles – service Arts de la Scène
Creative residency Théâtre Océan Nord (Bruxelles)
Presented with the support of Institut Français + Consulat Général de France à Québec + Wallonie-Bruxelles International in association with Place des Arts
Premiered at Théâtre Dijon-Bourgogne, on May 22, 2021
A North American première
Written by Catherine Girardin
Translated by David Dalgleish
About the artist
Adeline Rosenstein (Brussels) Maison Ravage
Her involvement in her neighbourhood’s community associations and her militant activism against the discrimination toward immigrant families in Belgium’s francophone school system reflect her grounding in urgent issues of the present—a present that has inevitably been shaped by History, whose representations she questions. For instance, she tackled the international Question of Palestine in décris-ravage (2011-2016), which won Belgium’s Prix de la critique award in 2014 and the 2016 Prix SACD award in the “Discoveries” category. Rosenstein and her actors seek to eschew aesthetics in order to make space for contributions from the audience’s imagination and reveal how historians, sociologists, journalists, and witnesses “format” their knowledge. Starting with archival materials openly shown as incomplete and sometimes patched together, the group aims to expose and understand the obstacles faced by those fighting for change—obstacles put in place by the small minority that profits from, and makes accommodations with, the current state of the world.
With degrees in acting from Nissan Nativ Acting Studio in Jerusalem and in directing from the Ernst-Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin, Adeline Rosenstein established herself in the late 2000s in Brussels, where she worked as a director, a dramaturge, a translator, an actor, and a writer, notably of a comedy for young audiences based on Orestes, called Détester tout le monde (2019), and radio plays.