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Les variations Darwin

Les variations Darwin

Jean-François Peyret
Alain Prochiantz


A man of theatre; a man of science. Darwin, Kafka, Nietzsche, the ape, the brain, man’s place in nature, the living, GMO’s, new forms of procreation, the computer. Comedians, a stage, texts displacing and answering each other.


Jen-François Peyret and Alain Prochiantz give a testimony of the living matter they use in creating theatre. Here we will also find the scripts to their last two shows “Des chimères en automne” and “Les Variations Darwin”, but mostly the direct echo from a creative process that is unique in its kind.

Odile Jacob


Jean François Peyret

Jean François Peyret, born in 1945, is a stage director and university professor (Institut d’études théâtrales of the Université Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle, until 2008). Between 1982 and 1994, he created around fifteen shows with Jean Jourdheuil (as a writer, translator, and stage director), from non-drama texts by Montaigne and Lucretius, but mostly about the work of Heiner Müller.


In 1993-1994, he managed, along with Sophie Loucachevsky, the Théâtre Feuilleton at the Théâtre National de l’Odéon, where he created several shows about Franz Kafka. Between 1995 and 2000, in residency at Bobigny’s MC93, he presented a cycle of shows: the trilogy “Traité des Passions”, followed by “Un Faust-Histoire naturelle” (written with Jean-Didier Vincent), and of shows about Alan Turing (“Turing-machine”, “Histoire naturelle de l’esprit — suite & fin”), finishing this period with “Projection privée/Théâtre public” about Auden’s poems, at the Théâtre de la Bastille. His “Le Traité des formes” (in collaboration with Alain Prochiantz), is a fantastic reflection around the living and the artificial, the body and the machine, a variation on the technological faith of humanity, based on the works by Ovid and Darwin. This research was followed by “Le cas de Sophie K” (created in Avignon, in 2005, and restaged at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in 2006), an essay on the work and destiny of the Russian writer and mathematician Sophie Kovalevskaïa. The show “Tournant autour de Galilée”, in collaboration with Françoise Balibar and Alain Prochiantz, premiered at the Théâtre National de Strasbourg on February 28th and ran until March 16th 2008, and was then staged at the Théâtre National de l’Odéon from March 27th to April 19th 2008. The show with which he continued this research about Galileu, created in collaboration with Alain Prochiantz, “Ex vivo/In vitro” (Théâtre National de la Colline, November 17th to December 17th 2011), was about medically assisted reproduction and the affiliation problems it creates.


His following project, about Thoreau’s Walden, received the support of Empac (U.S.A.), CECN (Belgium), Théâtre Paris Villette (France), Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, La Colline – Théâtre National, Chartreuse de Villeneuve lez Avignon and of Festival d’Avignon. His installation version was created on Panorama at Fresnoy in June 2010, and restaged as an individual exhibition, “Walden Memories”, from February to March 2013. The musical performance was created at Empac in 2010 and presented in February 2012. The show “Re:Walden”, after its sneak preview at the Théâtre-Paris-Villette in 2010 and 2011 (Festival Open), was presented in July 2013 at Festival d’Avignon, and later restaged at La Colline – Théâtre National in January and February 2014.


His last show, “Citizen Jobs”, worked as a part two, along Re:Walden, of an American diptych. It was presented at the 104 (in Paris) in March 2015, and restaged at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausann, touring in 2016.



Alain Prochiantz

Born on December 17th, 1948, in Paris, France, Alain Prochiantz is a researcher and a professor of neurobiology at the Collège de France, where he also served as a director from 2015 to 2019. A former student of the École normale supérieure, and after obtaining a science thesis in 1976 in the field of genetic translation, he turned towards neurobiology by working with Jacques Glowinski and became a research fellow, and then research director, at the CNRS. He was appointed head of the Biology Department at the École Normale Supérieure, having maintained the role until 2006, when he became the holder of the “Morphogenetic Processes” chair at the Collège de France. He has also been a member of the French Academy of Sciences since November 2003 and chairman of the Research Committee of the Foundation for Medical Research (FRM). In 2011, he received the Grand Prix de l’Inserm for all his work.


Alain Prochiantz is also the author of numerous scientific articles and books on the brain and participates in scientific theatre productions with his friend Jean-François Peyret.

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