Hammer and Sickle / Don DeLillo

I read Hammer and Sickle for the first time as it was fully released a few years ago in a French newspaper called Libération. It was the first time I had ever read Don DeLillo’s work. For several years, I kept this short story close at hand in my laptop and bagpack. I would often read it to myself or read it to friends or apprentice actors I would meet.

 

This story is pervaded with everything that moves me in a writer’s work as well as in contemporary literature. This has been the essence of my work for more than ten years now. Hammer and Sickle tells the story of a man, Jerold Bradway who used to be a trader and is currently living in a prison or what seems to be a detention camp overlooking a highway. We move from a TV room to a football field where other inmates play. Just like him, they used to be powerful bankers who became rich thanks to hedge funds, or art dealers who misappropriated billions of dollars. There, they are mired in utter loneliness and treated like children or old men whose only power they have left is looking at the overview or remembering their lost lives, their smartphones, their departed fathers or the master paintings that used to hang on their home walls. Written in response to the 2008 global economic crisis, this short story is much more than a mere diatribe against financial capitalism and its excess. It is also a reflection on possession and loss, on men’s fragility and need to bond, on the absence of hope.

 

This text was part of Players, Mao II, The Names presented at the 2018 Avignon festival. It was wonderfully performed by Joseph Drouet. We have now decided to present the short story as it is, an immense and yet simple text performed by a man standing alone in front of us, leaving to DeLillo’s words and staggering vision of contemporary void all the space and light it deserves.

 

    Julien Gosselin, March 2019

 

 

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TEXT Don DeLillo

 

TRANSLATION Marianne Véron

 

ADAPTATION AND STAGE DIRECTING Julien Gosselin

 

WITH Joseph Drouet

 

SET DESIGN Hubert Colas, assisté de Andréa Baglione

 

STAGE DIRECTOR ASSISTANT Maxence Vandevelde

 

MUSICAL CREATION Guillaume Bachelé & Maxence Vandevelde

 

LIGHTING DESIGNER Nicolas Joubert

VIDEO DESIGNER Pierre Martin

SOUND DESIGNER Julien Feryn

COSTUMES Caroline Tavernier

 

ADMINISTRATION, PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Eugénie Tesson

TOUR ORGANIZATION & COMMUNICATION Emmanuel Mourmant

ADMINISTRATION Paul Lacour-Lebouvier

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Nicolas Ahssaine

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR ASSISTANT Vianney Brunin

 

The adaptation of Hammer and Sickle is represented in French-speaking countries by Dominique Christophe l’Agence, Paris, in agreement with Abrams Artists & The Wallace Literary Agency, New York

Text published by Editions Actes Sud

 

PRODUCTION Si vous pouviez lécher mon cœur

DELEGATED PRODUCTION

Le Printemps des Comédiens

COPRODUCTION Printemps des comédiens Montpellier / Maison de la Culture de Bourges, CCAM Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, Romaeuropa

(coproduction en cours)