de Claus Beck-Nielsen

Traduit du danois par Terje Sinding

Avec le soutien de la MAV


  • Pays d'origine : Danemark
  • Titre original : Ci-vi-li-sa-tion
  • Date d'écriture : 1999
  • Date de traduction : 2001

La pièce

  • Nombre d'actes et de scènes : Acte I : 10 scènes - Acte II : 1 scène
  • Décors : 1
  • Nombre de personnages :
    • 9 au total
    • 8 homme(s)
    • 1 femme(s)
  • Création :
    • Période : avril 2000
    • Lieu : théâtre Royal Copenhague
  • Domaine : protégé : Teaterförlager Colombine, Gaffelgränd 1A - 11130 Stockholm (Suède)



This play by Claus Beck-Nielsen comprises two acts. The first comprises ten scenes involving five people who meet, two at a time, in the cemetery of a large city. This circle of characters centres on a young girl who is due to marry the following day and is having her hen party. As she moves from bar to bar, she gradually loses her friends in the crowd and comes into contact with the other characters: a member of the Russian mafia, a young mercenary fighting in what could well be one of the Balkan wars, a political refugee intent on self-immolation to draw attention to the predicament of his people, and a homeless person who collects empty bottles. The events take place against a background of noise from a large crowd gathered in one of the city squares to watch a match on a giant outdoor screen.
The second act begins with the refugee's immolation. This is one long scene that brings together all the characters from the first act, along with three new characters: Dobermann, Schäfer and Rottweiler, supporters who were watching the match. But are they the guard dogs of a disintegrating civilization or mutant forebears of a new barbarism? In truth, they are probably a mix of both, and end up organising a strange ritual that involves handing over the young girl to the mafia then to the young mercenary. During all this, the bottle collector comes and goes, throwing all kinds of objects - the scraps of our civilization - onto the fire started by the political refugee's self-immolation. The scene ends when the fire goes out, revealing a young man in morning dress carrying a bride's bouquet.

Regard du traducteur

A dark, intense play that is both sordid and lyrical, portraying a civilization - our own - in an advanced state of decay. Beck-Nielsen's style is rich and inventive, while the form is fascinating (the 'random' structure of the first act, with its indefinite order of scenes) and the script is a remarkable work of dramatic efficiency.