The play 99 women presents 99 fragments of women’s lives, captured in their diversity and uniqueness. The public discovers 99 women, but not all women–because feminity escapes any attempt of a fixed definition. They hear 99 episodes of their existence, at times funny, trivial and touching, but not all their lives–because every life counts more days and turns. 99 is not a round figure. It is meant to denote between words, what is unaccomplished and remains being said: a space, infinite and forever reinvented that the theatre stage manifests and that is perhaps the exact measure of freedom.
Genevieve Flaven, author
On October 9th, 10th and 11th, 2015 in Shanghai, the Children’s Art Theater of China Welfare hosted the premiere of 99 women. This trilingual play, written and directed by Geneviève Flaven, combined theater, dance and music.
Video capture (Shanghai October 16th, 2015)
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.
The production was a collective journey for more than 120 women ranging from 20 nationalities, living and working in Shanghai, who play, create and collaborate together. 99 women was supported by La Ruche, meaning “the Hive,”a French speaking women network of Shanghai.
Creative team : Laetitia CAPPOEN, Amy CHAN, Geneviève FLAVEN, Liz HINGLEY, Kathryn ROBBINS, Mindy RUSKOVICH, Jordan KOSTOV, Jojo PARIS, Marie-Claire BIZOT, Agnès CROSNIER, Daniel NI, Yoann MOLIN, Isabelle PAMBIANCHI, Florence GUILLOT, Aurélie LALANDE, Annie LI, Philip CACOURIS, Cécile PETIT-OBERT and assistants.
Caroline BENARROUS, Emmanuelle BOUAUD, Anne-Sophie BRABANT, Johanna CACCIARI, Sylvie DUGENEST, Emilie DEMERY, Florence FAUCHEUR, Nadège IFF, Audrey LARGE, Cannelle MARTINELLI, Frédérique SAURAT, Anne-Claire VU.
Actresses and dancers: Caroline BENARROUS, Emmanuelle BOUAUD, Anne-Sophie BRABANT, Johanna CACCIARI, Sylvie DUGENEST, Emilie DEMERY, Florence FAUCHEUR, Nadège IFF, Audrey LARGE, Cannelle MARTINELLI, Frédérique SAURAT, Anne-Claire VU. Aurélie LALANDE, Cendra BELTRITTI, Chloé DECLERCK, Chloé DUGENEST, Evelyn CHU 阿爽, Ivory LI 李红 梅, Joëlle BROHIER, Peilu MA 马佩璐, Phounkeo PHAYVONG, Sofia DUMENIL, Simona PETROVSKA, Rachel BARAC, Natalia YAKOVLEVA, Anne Claire VU, Caroline BENARROUS, Fei FANLING 范羚飞, Anaïs CUISINIER, Isabelle PAMBIANCHI, Anne Sylvie LENOIR, Juliette LEFRANC, Lù XU 陆旭, Natacha TARRASCON, Marion BLEIN, Yingpei XIA 夏英培, Xu WEI 徐慰, Florence GUILLOT, Mira MLADENOVA, Jessie Jing JING金晶晶, Sylvie DUGENEST, Laetitia CAPPOEN, Laurence DAMIER, Edwige CHAPOULAUD, Mathilde GRILLET, Marine BIGO, Elsa MICHANOL, Olga MEREKINA, Stephanie SANCHEZ ROJAS, Stephanie STILL, Sheila MONTES DE OCA, Maya SEBESTYEN, Jian XU 徐健, Vanessa 麻雀船长, Lolo LUO 罗罗, Emilie DEMERY, Audrey LARGE, Emilie ROUSSET, Na LI 丽娜 黄, Mindy RUSKOVICH, Salomé IFF, Saori INAOKA, Joanne KIM, Iris HSU, Emilie LACOSTE, Shu Ping JIA 淑萍 贾, Andrea JONES-ROOY, Lea HINDELANG, Sabrina FERNANDEZ, Nadège IFF, Frédérique SAURAT, Chidelia EDOCHIE, Adja SY, Kelley TAYLOR, Rita PINTO, Tanya ZHANG 张静, Louise LU 陆, Jingyan QI 齐婧妍, Stella XIE 谢一帆, Helen WANG 王, Ouyang SIMAN 欧阳斯曼, Star SHAO 邵欣欣, Vanessa TOBELEM, Agnes CROSNIER, Anne-Sophie GILLIN, Estel VILAR BOFIL, Marie Claire BIZOT, Marion BONTE, Lili FAUCHEUR, Kiki WANG 王愷, Olivia DAI 戴佳琳, Grace YAN 晏楚奇, Marie DUVAL, Annalisa FIORILLO, Amélie PAPIN, Audrey Du 杜佳妮, Raquel LARA, Florence FAUCHEUR, Alice COCHAUX, Heléne COCHAUX, Beatrice SOCHER, Oceane MABILON, Chen 陈芝君, Yiming YIN 殷一鸣, Laurence LINIERE, SULA PANG Kaixin庞凯心, Mathilde PLANCHOT, Florence KA, Daniela MAURO, Amaëlle MAYER, Aya TAZABEK, Emmanuelle BOUAUD, Audrey 明, Cannelle MARTINELLI, Johanna CACCIARI – and all the backups.
photos by Liz Hingley copyright 2015
La Ruche association members : Marguerite DEPERROIS, Sarah OUVRAY, Hélene COCHAUX, Sandra BARAUD, Marion BLEIN, Séverine CLEMENT, Jade FRANCINE, Louisa MARECHAL-FABRE, Cannelle MARTINELLI, Karine PARSY, Frédérique SAURAT, Nathalie SHEN, Natacha TARASCON, Emilie DEMERY, Nadège IFF, Rym JARBOUAI, Isabelle PAMBIANCHI, Emilie ROUSSET, Clotilde VASSAL, Mathilde GRILLET, Alicia VENEZIANI, Marie Caroline BIZET and punctual helps.
Partners: Sephora, Mei.Com, Okaidi, Expatrimo, Cache-Cache, Pixalib, Simone Perèle, Mill De Lin, Frank Provost, Belloite, Summergate, Kartel, Mosaic Voyages, Swissnex, Bel, Glamour Lab, TC Clinic, Mon Petit Boudoir, Run Rachel Run and companies that brought their support in kind.
All the benefits of the shows were given to the NGO A Pleines Mains.