99 women. 99 stories. 1 stage
99 fragments of lives, funny, tragic, ordinary, remarkable…
They are Chinese, French, Iranian, African, Italian…
They are ten years old and they have been living for decades.
They are creating and searching, they give up and they rebel, they polish shoes and smoke cigars.
They are wise, frivolous, hostile, unpredictable, broken, passionate…
These 99 reveal the diverse and unique responses to the persisting question: how to be a woman?
The play 99 women presents 99 fragments of women lives, captured in their diversity and uniqueness. The public will discover 99 women, but not all women –because femininity escapes any attempt of fixed definition. They will hear 99 episodes of their existence, at time funny, trivial and touching, but not all their lives –because every life counts more days and turns. 99 is not a round figure to denote, between words, what is unaccomplished and remains being said: a space, infinite and forever reinvented that the theater stage manifests and that is perhaps the exact measure of freedom.
The play is composed of 7 Acts, each act reflecting a different dimension of a woman’s existence.
The first movement of the play is called Childhood. This serious and intense time, where little girls jump from beginnings to major events, will be deeply rooted in memory: the light of the long lost Algeria for Helene, the father’s adultery for Antonia, or the loss of a blue cardigan for Pauline.
The second movement of the play is entitled Presence — presence to the world and presence to oneself. Women here experience their bodies: vibrant Tatiana in her Mercedes coupe; tortured Emily and her extravagant austerity exercises; and electric Joy, the psychedelic singer.
The third movement of the play, Dissonance, expresses the unsaid, the tensions, frustrations and excesses. Women here experience otherness, exploring the relationship to the other: erotic for Sandra, conflictual for Ping, passionate for Guan, violent for Komona, and total for Maryam.
Vertigo, the fourth movement of the play, is dedicated to lunatics, rebels, dreamers and the illuminated. They walk on a thread, out of any social conventions, like Marta smoking her cigar wearing extravagant clothes, like Adila who grew up among Jehovah’s witnesses, like Vera, a real Antigone of Sarajevo’s siege.
The fifth movement of the play is entitled Imposture. Here come the goodfellas, the adventurers, the business women who know the rules of the game and want to win it, like Hua, brilliant strategist of Wei Army; Nicole, a senior publicist who created the first feminist slogans; or like Dalila, super mother of five children each named after Egyptian deities.
In the 6th movement of the play, Letters, women draw sketches, play lieder, write sonnets, or merely dream of doing it. Artists or dilettantes, they express their creativity: like Dinah, photographing suburbs; or like Erika, parading in worldly salons; or like Angelica, by painting a wild and vengeful tableau.
The play ends in its 7th movement, Voyage, where women remember what kept them, 15 seconds or a whole life time: a lovely bright green feather for Felicite, the hijacking of a Delta Airlines airplane for Joanne, the company of wise masters for Yanina, or the simple pleasure of seeing things blurred for Georgia.
Since 2015, the play 99 women by Geneviève Flaven was performed around the world with a few character adaptation and translation in local languages. Women around the world use the 99 women play to unleash their creative energies and turn their collaborative power into action.