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Monday, October 30, 2017

In Context: State of Siege

French director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota sets his sights on Albert Camus’ 1948 play, an alternative-fact-filled allegory about fear, contagion, and betrayal in the wake of a government takeover. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.

Program Notes

State of Siege (PDF)

Related Event

Fri, Nov 3 at 6pm / FREE
Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota expounds on his longstanding fascination with Albert Camus, why he chose to stage State of Siege, and his experience creating a totalitarian world in the context of our current climate of fear.


“Resist” is not just a slogan, it’s an action—something every citizen needs to remember in today’s turbulent times.

“L’Etat de siège”: le Théâtre de la Ville s’aventure au pays de Trump (French Morning)
Led by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, the company of Paris’ Theatre de La Ville is touring in the US where Albert Camus’ writing on resistance has a brand new meaning. (In French.)

Facing History (New Yorker)
Adam Gopnik on why we love Camus.

With so much Camus in the air, one has to wonder what is driving this renaissance, and whether there’s anything new about today’s Camus.

Watch & Listen

Camus in New York (Cultural Services of the French Embassy)
Alice Kaplan, Alban Cerisier, and Morris Dickstein discuss Albert Camus’ 1946 trip to New York and the reception of his work in the United States.

"Brave Genius": A Tale of Two Nobelists (NPR)
Sean B. Carroll tells the story of biologist Jacques Monod and philosopher Albert Camus—two men who made significant contributions to their respective fields, and who shared an enduring friendship.

The story of two philosophical titans, animated.

Now your turn...

How did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.


  1. What an exciting evening. At the same time, a very disturbing play that resonates with what is happening here in the US. Acting superb. The play will stay with me for some time.

  2. WWhat an exciting evening. At the same time the play was disturbing, thought provoking. In Camus' time, it may have related to the Nazis but it also relates to what is happening now in the US. The play will stay with me for a long time.

  3. Great writers sometimes turn out duds, and this is an example. When the play was first staged in Paris in 1948 it was critically savaged and rightly so -- cardboard characters, cliches about freedom vs government by numbers, etc. don't add insight. The acting was comically one-dimensional without being comic. Can't see why all these dramatic energy was being spent on a play which is basically not dramatic but a set of tirades.

  4. The production fell totally flat for me and was an unnerving 1.5 hours of histrionics lacking sufficient substance. The acting was hodge-podge, there was limited character development in the handling of the writing, the lighting + sound was coarse and the stage-craft seemed gimmicky with so much of the actual plot and acting overstated, leaving an underwhelming impression.

  5. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the whole evening. I could not help thinking in terms of Twitter every time this absurdly (sadly) familiar regime spoke. I could not help but wonder what Camus would have thought about the term, “fake news.” Indeed, I could not help but think that Camus would be right at home with contemporary politics here in America, and that he would be entirely justified in saying, ” I told you so.”

  6. Pretty bad production. Sorry i went there yesterday ��

  7. Excellent set and actors. Why BAM would decide to produce such a piece on this day and age is beyond us. Trying to make a connection with the present political climate is a stretch. It felt like it went on and on and on way beyond when it should have been a wrap. We left before the end. We couldn't take another minute

  8. This was terrible. It felt overwrought, pretentious and heavy-handed. Though it resonated with current political climate it also felt to add the misguided political strain of undermining the positive role government can play in people's lives and the dedication of most public servants. In short - I hated it.

  9. Though I saw the play for the first time, it felt like something very familiar, nothing new, totally repetitive in all ways. I expected so much more from the Parisian theater with such an old and glorious history. Total disappointment.