This play – inspired by a novel written by Édouard Louis, an emerging star of French literature – is about the painful process of “coming-out” and abandoning one’s own class identity. It is directed by Anna Smolar, one of the most accomplished artists working in contemporary Polish theatre.
A name is not just a name, not just a line of letters and syllables – it is also a story. The name I was born with – Eddy Bellegueule – led me to the past and stories I did not choose, stories I wanted to escape from. Édouard Louis
Anna Smolar’s play, inspired by the novel The End of Eddy (En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule) by Édouard Louis, takes a closer look at systematic oppression and asks questions about loyalty to one’s roots and social class origins.
Anna Smolar stresses that the world described in Édouard Louis’ book leaves no room for otherness, no chance for showing weakness, being delicate, ambitious or hopeful of being able to become someone else – all this vanishes beneath the weight of exhausted bodies and red bricks which join to form the background of a small town world. Édouard’s return to the story of Eddy’s upbringing in a poor, working-class family is an emancipatory gesture, serving to erase this person – the one who experienced oppression and rejection from the community around them. Édouard erasure this deletion in order to tell his story anew.
En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule (The End of Eddy) – Édouard Louis’ debut novel has been a huge success in France and around the world. At age of 22, the author has been nominated for the Goncourt Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world, his novel selling over 300,000 copies in France and being published abroad in translation into 25 languages. Since then, Louis has written two more novels based on true facts, including Qui a tué mon père (Who Killed My Father), published in May of 2018.
Anna Smolar, a theatre director, dramaturg and translator, graduated from the University of Paris-Sorbonne with a degree in literary studies. She has staged her works at the likes of Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, Polski Teatr in Bydgoszcz and Narodowy Stary Teatr in Krakow. She won the Paszport Polityki Theatre Prize in 2016 and published her translation of Grażyna Jagielska’s novel Miłość z kamienia (Love From a Rock) in French. Her best known plays include Aktorzy żydowscy (Jewish Actors) at the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, Kopciuszek (Cinderella) at Stary Teatr in Krakow, Henrietta Lacks at Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, Kowboje (Cowboys) at Teatr im. Osterwy in Lublin and Slow motion at the National Theatre in Vilnius.