Yasmina Reza (born in 1960 in Paris) is a French playwright, novelist and screenwriter. She studied sociology and theatre studies, and trained as an actress at the 'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. She began her career as an actress and acted with several theatre groups and staged her own projects. She performed in several new plays as well as in classical plays by Molière, Marivaux and Sacha Guirty. Soon she started writing screenplays for film and television. In 1988 she translated Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis into French and was nominated for the Molière Award for Best Translation.
Her writing for theatre includes eight plays, all of which have been very successful and translated into thirty languages. Reza wrote her first play in 1987, Conversations after a Burial (Conversations après un enterrement) which won the Molière Award for the best play and many other awards. Her second play, Winter Crossing (La Traversée de l'hiver, 1989) won her another Molière Award. Her third play 'Art' ('Art’), written in 1994 premiered in Berlin and catapulted her into worldwide fame and established her as one of the most successful contemporary playwrights. In 1995 'Art' went on to win three Molière Awards for best author, best play and best production, as well as a Tony Award for best play in 1998 and a Laurence Olivier Award for best comedy (1997). It was followed by Unexpected Man (L'homme du hasard, 1995), Three Versions of Life (Trois versions de la vie, 2000), A Spanish Play (Une pièce espagnole, 2004), God of Carnage (Le Dieu du carnage, 2009), which won a Tony Award for best play and a Laurence Olivier Award for best comedy in 2009, as well at the ACE Award for best play in 2010. In 2011 Roman Polanski directed a film Carnage based on Reza’s play. In Slovenia, five of her plays have been produced in professional theatres.
In her latest play How You Talk the Game (Comment vous racontez la partie, 2011) which premiered in October 2012 at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Reza explores the ambiguous position of a writer in contemporary society. Nathalie Oppenheim, a successful author, accepts an invitation from literature buff Roland to read from her new novel, Land of Surfeit. In it, she tells the story of Gabrielle Gorn, an author who is also writing a novel entitled How You Talk the Game – and planning to murder her husband’s lover. The mysterious Nathalie who rarely accepts invitations to present her work becomes increasingly more uncomfortable at the book presentation in the little French village of Vilan-en-Volène as journalist Rosanna Ertel-Keval will not stop asking probing and rude questions about the autobiographical nature of Nathalie’s story.
How You Talk the Game is a play that questions the position of a writer in contemporary society, and of the role of literature versus reality. The title, How You Talk the Game, is from a quotation made in 1940 by Michael Herr, American writer and war correspondent about Las Vegas: “it is not that you won or lost — but how you played the game”. This tightly wound psychological work centres on verbal play and the strains that arise within a conversation among four people. What matters is not so much the reality of the action, but how the action is described by the characters. It also enquires into the position of the author and deals with many ambiguities that occur in the author-narrator relationship since many contemporary writers have often become interpreters of their own work.
How You Talk the Game is a highly intelligent, funny and cruel play about the cultured community in contemporary society. Moreover, it is also a clever and slightly mean play about a female artist in a province – be it French, European, or universal.
Translator Aleš Berger
Director and Dramaturg Janez Pipan
Set Designer Marko Japelj
Costume Designer Leo Kulaš
Composer Aldo Kumar
Lighting Designer Andrej Hajdinjak
Piano Instructor and Vocal Coach Simon Dvoršak
Language Consultant Jože Volk
Book Designer Mojca Kumar Dariš
Nathalie Oppenheim Pia Zemljič
Roland Boulanger Vojko Belšak
Rosana Ertel-Keval Minca Lorenci
Lord Mayor Renato Jenček
Voice Branko Završan
Extras Gregor Prah, Dani Les, David Vitez, Sandi Abraham, Rado Pungaršek, Metod Kroflič, Manja Vadla (guest appearances)
Opening 9 May 2014
Performance duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes. No interval.