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Best wishes for the year 2020!



On January 7, I facilitated a rewriting workshop for students of the Croisset vocational high school. In September 2019, I gave the high school students the first version of the play 99 perfumes, written in the heat of the summer, so that they could respond to the stories of fragrance industry workers and enrich them with their own narratives. In December, I could hear a few contributions: texts were touching but hampered by a lack of practice and a little vocabulary. Writing is definitely difficult but rewriting provides incomparable pleasure: tp search for the right word, to shape text materials in many ways and bring out something new, poetic and exciting, to remove flatness and clichés and to cut, cut, cut. This little game gives everyone a lot of fun! The workshop was very nice and I saw in their shining eyes, the little joy of a good job! The next step will be newt month to compose the final play integrating their rewritten stories.

Read a few extracts from the original play 99 perfumes by Geneviève Flaven (French)



In January 2020, the organization of the first phase of the project (the collaborative writing of the play) was threatened by the crisis that shakes Lebanon. Since Christmas 2019, indeed, the situation in Lebanon deteriorated; the political crisis is fuelling the anger of the Lebanese people and the economic context is very worrying. And last but not least, a famous Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian businessman, fleeing Japan, landed in Beirut under extraordinary circumstances. In short, a chaotic context that raised the question whether the writing workshops for the 99 LIVE LEBANON project in March 2020 should be maintained or postponed by a few weeks.

I asked around my Lebanese partners and co-facilitators of the workshops: the director Muriel Abourouss, the performers and singers Michelle and Noel Keserwany and the theater teacher Nathalie Le Gac. They all advised me to wait a few weeks and reschedule the writing workshops in Arabic, English and French in Beyrouth during springtime.

Meanwhile, they continue to create and act at their level with great courage and determination. Thus, Michelle and Noel, on the front lines of the revolution, released a song on January 7 that captures very well the mood, free and feverish, of the young Lebanese generation.

Michelle Keserwany

Watch the video Ka2an 3ayshin كأن عايشين

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At the end of December, I invited participants to the 99 projects, from Shanghai to Sousse via Pune or Nice to share their experience of the project. I already received many responses and the feedbacks are very insightful. I will prepare a complete report next month but here are a few findings.

Generally speaking, the level of satisfaction is very high: 88% of participants declared themselves extremely or very satisfied and 86% of them are ready to start a new project tomorrow!

53% of participants participated in at least two activities. They cumulated roles. They acted AND interviewed, sang AND wrote, coached AND danced. And for 93% of them, one of these activities at least was completely new. The ambition of the project to offer a range of creative experiences “à la carte” worked well.

The # 1 benefit of the project, identified by 65% of the participants, was to allow them to meet people from different horizons and to feel part of a community. I am glad that the project managed to combine an experience of diversity and a sense of belonging.

For those who have not yet answered the survey, the questionnaires are open until the end of January. In advance, thank you for your responses

Shanghai 2015 ( form in English)

Shanghai 2017 (form in English )

Pune 2016 ( form in English)

Best wishes
Geneviève Flaven

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