When a comet appears in the sky over the fortified city of Cádiz, Nada, the nihilistic town drunkard, warns that it is an evil omen. The stir among the people is quashed by a government edict forbidding them to acknowledge that they have seen a comet, and a chorus parrots “Nothing is happening, nothing will happen.” Thus begins «The State of Siege,» a modern myth created by Albert Camus that was originally staged in 1948 by Jean-Louis Barrault.
Both prescient and poetic, this rare piece—restaged by the internationally renowned French company Théâtre de la Ville (page officielle)—is a distorted reflection of a nightmarish future in which a city is reduced to silence and submission under the leadership of a character called La Peste (“The Plague”).
Created in 1968 under the auspices of the City of Paris, Théâtre de la Ville has become one of the most important cultural landmarks in Paris today. Their 2012 production of Ionesco’s «Rhinoceros» at Royce Hall was one of the highlights of that season.