author – director – comedian
Born in 1968, author, director and comedian Wajdi Mouawad spent his childhood in Lebanon, his adolescence in France and his years as a young adult in Quebec, before settling in France. He studied in Montreal and graduated in 1991 with a degree in performance from the National Theater School of Canada. He co-directs immediately with the actress Isabelle LeSet featured imageblanc his first company, Théâtre Ô Parleur.
At the same time, in 2000, he took the artistic direction of Théâtre de Quat’Sous in Montreal for four seasons. In 2005, he created Abé Carré Cé Carré in Quebec and Au Carré de l’Hypoténuse in France. Associated with his French company at the Espace Malraux, National Scene Chambery and Savoy, from 2008 to 2010, he is in 2009 the associate artist of the 63rd edition of the Festival d’Avignon, where he presents the quartet Le Sang Promises (Coastline, Fires, Forests, Skies). He is Artistic Director of the French Theater at the National Arts Center in Ottawa from 2007 to 2012. Since September 2011, he has been Associate Artist at the Grand T theater in Loire-Atlantique, Nantes. In April 2016, he is named director of The Hill – National Theater.
His career as an author and director begins at the Théâtre Ô Parleur, bringing to the stage his own texts, published by Leméac / Actes Sud-Papiers: Game of hide-and-seek between two Czechoslovakians at the beginning of the century ( 1991), Wedding Day in the Cromagnons (1994) and Willy Protagoras locked in the toilet (1998), then This is not the way we imagine that Claude and Jacqueline met co-authored with Estelle Clareton ( 2000). In 1997, he wrote and directed Littoral (which he then adapted and directed to the cinema in 2005); then Rêves (2000), Incendies (2003) which he recreates in Russian at the Moscow Theater Et Cetera (and which will then be adapted to the cinema by Denis Villeneuve in 2010, selected in the category of best foreign language film at the 83ᵉ Oscars ceremony and presented in the staging of Stanislas Nordey at the National Theater of the Hill in 2008 and the National Theater of Strasbourg in 2016) and Forest in 2006. In 2008, he writes, directs and interprets Only, always in tour, especially internationally. In 2009, he devoted himself to the quartet Le Sang des Promesses, which brings together, in addition to a new version of Littoral, shows Incendies, Forests and the creation de Ciels. Then in 2011, Temps is created at the Schaubühne in Berlin in 2011.
He writes plays and stories for children (Pacamambo, A shell in the heart, The little octopus who wanted to play the piano), interviews, as well as the novels Visage found and Anima (which has received several awards and in particular in 2012 the Grand Prix Thyde Monnier of the Société des Gens de Lettres, the Phénix Prize for Literature, the literary prize for Laval’s second novel, and in 2015 the Lire en Poche prize for French literature).
Comedian by training, he plays roles in his own shows, but also under the direction of other artists like Brigitte Haentjens in Caligula by Albert Camus (1993), Dominic Champagne in Cabaret Neiges noires (1992) or Daniel Roussel in Les Chaises Eugène Ionesco (1992). In 2010, he played Stepan Fedorov in the play Les Justes de Camus directed by Stanislas Nordey and presented at à La Colline – National Theater.
His career also allows him to explore other worlds: Al Malja (1991) et L’Exil de son frère Naji Mouawad, Voyage au bout de la nuit de Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Macbeth de Shakespeare (1992), Tu ne violeras pas d’Edna Mazia (1995), Trainspotting d’Irvine Welsh (1998), Œdipe Roi de Sophocle (1998), Disco Pigs d’Enda Walsh (1999), Les Troyennes d’Euripide (1999), Lulu le chant souterrain de Frank Wedekind (2000), Reading Hebron de Jason Sherman (2000), Le Mouton et la Baleine d’Ahmed Ghazali (2001), Six personnages en quête d’auteur de Pirandello (2001), Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse opéra d’Alexis Nouss (2001), Ma mère chien de Louise Bombardier (2005) et Les Trois Soeurs de Tchekhov (2002). Manuscript found in Zaragoza opera by Alexis Nouss ( 2001), Ma mère chien by Louise Bombardier (2005) and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (2002).
He regularly collaborates with Krzysztof Warlikowski (translation of A Streetcar Named Desire – created in February 2010 at the Odeon-Theater of Europe, African Tales after Shakespeare, created at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in 2011, Phèdre (s) created at the Odeon Theater of Europe in March 2016).
Today he is dedicated to bringing to the stage the seven tragedies of Sophocles (in three opus “Women” composed of Les Trachiniennes, Antigone, Electre – created in 2011, “Heroes” with Ajax a cabaret and Oedipus King – created in 2014, the integral under the title “The last day of his life” as part of Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture and “The Dying” freely inspired by Philoctetes and Oedipus in Colone which is presented at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in May 2016.
Her last cycle “Domestique” extends her research around familiar worlds, with the creation of Sisters in 2014, always on tour, then soon Brothers with Robert Lepage, followed by Father and Mother.
At the invitation of the Opéra de Lyon and the Canadian Opera Company (Toronto Opera), he directed Mozart’s Abduction to the Seraglio in June 2016 at the Opéra de Lyon (musical direction Stefano Montanari).
In December 2015, he responded to the invitation of the Château des Ducs de Bretagne in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Nantes and presented until February 2016 “Creatures / Animals have a story”, sound and plastic path giving the floor to the animals in resonance with the works of the permanent collection of the Castle. He designed on this occasion The Animals have a story, first volume of his new Sound Library collection.
He also leads the project 20 years old in 2015 with 50 teenagers (from Mons, Namur, Nantes, Reunion Island and Montreal) who follow the company for five years and grow up during trips to Athens, Lyon, Auschwitz, Dakar, etc. Recently, he led the workshop of 3rd year students of the National Superior Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Paris and staged in Défenestrations, presented in November in Paris. He continues his exchanges with the younger generation during collaborations with the School of Dramatic Art in Paris, the University of Strasbourg and the MC93 in Bobigny.
Distinguished by many honors including the Francophonie Prize of the Society of Composers Dramatic Composers in 2004 for all of his work, he is named Chevalier de l’Ordre national des arts et lettres puis Artiste de la paix in 2006, receives the Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Ecole Normale Supérieure des Lettres et Sciences Humaines of Lyon and the Grand Prix Theater of the Académie française.
His plays and novels have been translated and published in twenty languages and presented in all regions of the world both in his productions as in those of foreign artists.