Lena Endre

Returning to Reims

Personal reflections on origins, identities and class-crossings

An actress is recording a voice-over for a film version of Didier Eribon’s highly praised book Returning to Reims under the leadership of a director. Before long, the film’s questions about class awaken a lively discussion in the recording studio. The ensemble: Lena Endre, Jesper Söderblom and the critically praised rapper Parham.

The film, used as a backdrop in the performance, is a documentary essay in which the sociologist and writer Didier Eribon recounts how he returned to his hometown and his family after an academic career in Paris. Confronted with his own past, he now reaches new insights about the brutal excluding mechanisms of the middle class and the migration of the working class to the extreme right. How did it happen? Are the leftists to blame? Or is it his own fault, having denied his own working-class background for such a long time? And what’s the solution? In the studio, the actress and the director try to deal with these questions. In the background, a sound technician moves around with unexpected abilities.

The production is directed by one of Germany’s and Europe’s most eminent directors, Thomas Ostermeier, artistic director of the highly influential theatre Schaubühne in Berlin. This is a co-production with Sweden’s Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten), where it opens on September 26. The play had its world premiere in Manchester and has since been produced in Berlin, France and Italy.

Returning to Reims is based on the book with the same name (Retour à Reims) by Didier Eribon, Editions Fayard, France. The Swedish edition of the book was translated by Johan Wollin.

Stora Scen

Based on the book Returning to Reims by Didier Eribon
Concept Schaubühne Berlin
Translation Johan Wollin, Ulf Peter Hallberg
Direction Thomas Ostermeier
Ensemble Lena Endre, Parham, Jesper Söderblom
Set design Nina Wentzel
Light design Erich Schneider
Sound design Jochen Jezussek
Film Sébastien Dupouey, Thomas Ostermeier
Camera Marcus Lenz, Sebastién Dupouey
Film sound Peter Carstens
Composer Nils Ostendorf
Dramaturges Florian Borchmeyer, Maja Zade