“Nothing but the desire for the actor’s body incites one to write for the theatre,” says Valère Novarina, the Swiss-French contemporary playwright whose work lays the foundation for Théâtre du Rêve’s highly physical performance piece, L’Acteur Sacrifiant (The Sacrificing Actor), premiering Jan. 15 at Emory University.

The actor’s body is front and center as Atlanta actors Chris Kayser, Park Krausen and Eliana Marianes join with three French performers to rediscover, or re-invent, the theatrical experience. Tap dancing, live drumming, and a ritual “baptism” are all part of the spectacle.

Valéry Warnotte of Compagnie L’Intervention, Paris, adapted and directs the piece, which is a collection of Novarina’s texts woven into a cohesive but non-linear experience. Warnotte dubs it the “Anti-Actor’s Studio”, referring to the bastion of Method Acting in the mid-20th century. In place of psychology and motivation, he offers a sensual, and possibly even cleansing, experience.

“If you’re looking for psychological drama, this is not it,” says Krausen, the company’s artistic director. “This is not to say that you won’t be tickled, troubled or transported by Novarina’s text. It’s funny, it’s nutty. If there were a Dummies’ Guide to seeing the theater of Novarina, it might read: ‘Turn off your cell phones, turn down your brains and let it wash over you.’.”

L’Acteur Sacrifiant was developed and performed in workshops with the Emory University Departments of French and Italian, and at the Festival des Francophonies in Limousin, France. After its Atlanta premiere it will tour to Washington D.C. in April.

Performances will be 70% in English and 30% in French with super-titles in the opposite language throughout.

Performances are Jan. 15 – 17 and Jan. 22 – 24 at the Performing Arts Studio at Emory University, 1804 N. Decatur Rd. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15 – $25. More information and tickets are available at www.theatredureve.com or 404-875-3829.

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.