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The "Diaspora Bidaian" show has taken to the road

Oct 17, 2009

The Théâtre du Versant has created an international coproduction called "Diaspora bidaian" on the subject of the Basque diaspora. Based on texts by Bernado Atxaga, Joseba Sarrionandia and Pier-Pol Berzaitz. Discover from Autumn 2009 onwards...

An international coproduction

For 10 years now the Théâtre du Versant company has attempted to put into practice notions of cultural diversity and exchanges through international experiences.

This is the case with its new performance "Diaspora Bidaian" which examines the presence and involvement of Basque culture in other cultures. This investigation led to the creation of an international network of artists and a co-staging associating Gaël Rabas (Théâtre du Versant) and Orlando Arocha, a Venezuelan director who on this occasion "discovered" his Basque roots.

Those involved in the "Diaspora bidaian" project (Photo: Théâtre du Versant)

Four other companies are involved in the project: Contrajuego (Venezuela), Le Cochon SouRiant (Quebec), Ayizan (Haiti) and Oihulariklown (Basque Country).

The diaspora, between legend and reality

The play "Diaspora Bidaian" is based on the extraordinary story of two brothers, Léon and Jean-Baptiste Uturburu from the village of Barcus in Soule who emigrate to the Americas in the 1820's. One of them had a very unusual destiny which crossed that of some of history's great names: Simon Bolivar, Darwin ...
At the summit of his glory and owner of an immense fortune, he returned to Barcus to finish his days.

Bernardo Atxaga

But "Diaspora Bidaian" is not a historical play. It mixes times and places, going form the Ile aux Basques in Quebec to the Venezuelan jungle, from the docks in Bordeaux to a small road just outside Barcus.
In addition to texts by the writers and poets Bernardo Atxaga and Joseba Sarrionandia there is also the epic story of the Uturburu brothers told by Pier-Pol Berzaitz.

As with places and periods, languages, such as Basque, French and Creole, also co-exist on stage.

The performance was given for the first time in Bordeaux on 13 and 14 November 2009 followed by several dates in the Basque Country in November and December (cf. agenda "Spectacles" on the Basque culture's portal website) and a tour in Quebec in 2010.

Note: Before performances two accounts of emigrants to the USA who returned to the Basque Country to live will be projected (Mayi Oçafrain who emigrated to California in 1970 and Jean-Pierre Erreca, who left in 1951). These videos were created within the framework of the programme to collect the collective memory in the Northern Basque Country "eleketa" organised by the Basque Cultural Institute.

Further details

"Diaspora Bidaian" is a coproduction associating the Théâtre du Versant, Scène Nationale de Bayonne Sud-Aquitain, Basque Cultural Institute and the Atlantic Pyrenees General Council.