Suddenly the Night

Compagnie Du Zieu, Fere-en-Tardenois, France, 2016
Author: Olivier Saccomano
Directed by Nathalie Garraud, Olivier Saccomano

about the production

On board a flight from Istanbul a young man of Arab origin dies suddenly. Had he brought to Europe a lethal virus? Some of his fellow passengers find themselves locked in quarantine in an examination room of an airport. Is there a risk that they became carriers of the virus?

The author of the text Olivier Saccomano and director Nathalie Garraud stage a model situation of a handful of strangers together with a doctor – their supervisor finding themselves in closed space. The doctor, originally from Morocco and integrated in the European society, is trying to treat them. After the sudden captivity night falls upon the city, the locomotion at the airport quietens down and time in the examination room seems to have stopped for a while. The relatively free movement of people and migration that are closely related to the airport operation are interrupted. Unusual situation and circumstances under which the group of the ´suspects´ is to be subjected to examination and subsequent treatment unexpectedly becomes the trigger of their mutual interaction. The parts in which the doctor together with nurses tries to diagnose the five passengers is interlaced with monologues of the protagonists that reflect the themes of origin and nature of human existence. Thorough baggage controls and body checks to which we are accustomed as airport passengers, thus change their purpose. The doctor focuses particularly on that which is hidden from the sight and ordinary looks of the security officers – the ´strange bodies´ and their souls. Within a short time, from dusk to dawn, the passengers and their doctor get to know each other and grow close. In the metaphoric space of the examination room the authors thus created a probe into human soul, revealing dreams and desires of the passengers.

At the time when not merely it isn’t just Europe that is dominated by the themes of immigration crisis, terrorist attacks and the spread of lethal diseases, the authors of the Suddenly the Night offer a particular take on the reality, and address the issues of the origin of foreigners and immigrants, and their integration in the society. Contrast also arises from the very principle on which the authors have chosen to reflect the themes: passengers returning from the world to their home are examined by a doctor – a foreigner integrated in the local society. Placing the story in an unnamed European international airport further enhances its drama and tension. The airport space is meanwhile characterised by two perspectives: on the one hand it is the global venue for arrivals and departures, the encounter of many nations and cultures, and yet it is especially a hermetically limited area with an atmosphere of fear and permanent control. The pint at which the place of free movement turns into jail. Although the focus of interest of the creative duo Saccomano and Garraud is in the ´strangers’ bodies´ that currently resonate within the society (ISIS followers or the carriers of the lethal virus), they are represented on stage by ordinary people – a steward, female merchant and diplomat. The authors thus transform stereotypical ideas about what is alien and dangerous for Europe.

The production closes the trilogy entitled The Spectres of Europe in which the authors studied Europe in terms of its borders, composition of states and neglected principles, or, ultimately, the very relationship between the East and West.
Ján Balaj

“With their bodies and simple means – live bodies of the naked actors as a counterpoint to the cold of the handy conference chairs that fill the room, the Garraud – Saccomano tandem says plenty about up rootedness in the world, about the world whose ´one half is enslaved by money and the other by the lack of it,´ about the world that seems to be on the brink of apocalypse, yet one in which Nathalie Garraud and Olivier Saccomano will not act as mere footmen: the conclusion of their performance is like an appeal to rebuild the ship named Europe which is perhaps not sinking as much as some think and say.”
Fabienne Darge, 11 July 2015, Le Monde

 “With the Suddenly the Night people suddenly loose masks, revealing personal and collective neuroses. The director Nathalie Garraud and author Olivier Saccomano use the play to try to introduce the speech of the unspeakable. They allow themselves to be swallowed by places which we dare not to enter.”
Le Dauphiné



directed by Nathalie Garraud
conception: Nathalie Garraud & Olivier Saccomano
set design: Jean-François Garraud
lights: Guillaume Tesson
video: Camille Lorin
costumes: Sarah Leterrier, Sabrina Noiraux
sound: Hugues Laniesse
assistant to the direction: Steven Cayrasso
cast: Michel: Julien Bonnet, Lucie: Laurence Claoué, Julie: Mitsou Doudeau, Marie: Laure Giappiconi, Chahine: Cédric Michel, Ange: Florien Onnéin, Nora: Conchita Paz, Ben: Charly Totterwitz


Nathalie Garraud (1977) founded, in Paris in 1998, Compagnie du Zieu – a platform for experimenting with contemporary texts that draws together writers, actors, as well as architects. Between 2003 to 2005 she worked in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The power of the experience has led her make the production The Europeans by Howard Barker. Since 2006 she runs the Compagnie du Zieu together with Olivier Saccoman with who they made a dramatic project based on thematic cycles. Following the cycle of tragedies Petitioners (2007 – 2010) and the cycle about youth It is Good, It is Bad (2010 – 2013) they launched a cycle which addresses the status of a foreigner within a society, entitled The Spectres of Europe (2013 – 2015, the last part of the trilogy, Suddenly The Night was introduced at the Avignon Festival in 2015).

Along with the above engagements, Nathalie Garraud is working on additional projects in France and abroad: cooperation with the Zoukak team from Beirut (since 2006), student production at the University of Provence (2011), creative lab with Italian actors within the European project Cities on Stage (2012), international cooperation project STAMBA in Iraq (2013).


Materials available

Video of the production: no
Script of the production: SK, EN, FR

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