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VI Paris

Europe-Ulysses (working title)

Laetitia Ajanohun
Our creative dialogue with the dead

Eighteen established writers, one from each city/region, will be commissioned to write a chapter in a response to their Arts & Society theme within the context of their city.

Just as Ulysses is innovative in its form and language, so the writers will be chosen with a view to reflecting a breadth of genres, styles and innovations. Each writer will ideally attend their own city’s event. All the (new) chapters from the 18 cities/regions will be brought together in a book publication: Europe-Ulysses (working title).

Laetitia Ajanohun will write Paris’ chapter.

Writer’s Statement

Naturally, the cells – or whatever – keep on living. To recombine. Practically we live on forever.

Paris is not the city of my childhood. Paris is the city I chose, the city that made me an author.

To write theatre. To write (…) a Feast, as Jean Genet says in Le Funambule, which will take place at dusk, the most serious, the last, something very close to our funeral.

When I was asked to take part in the creation of ULYSSES European Odyssey and consider a creative dialogue with the dead, Bernard-Marie Koltès and his Nuit juste avant la forêt came to mind. This wandering, developed in a single, long, uninterrupted sentence, was, for me, from the very first reading, that ‘whatever’ which keeps on living; and which led me, a few years later, to take metro line 2 towards Porte Dauphine, to stop at the station Blanche, to walk for ten minutes or so to visit Koltès at the Montmartre Cemetery. On his grave, I left a letter in which I had copied the last lines of La Nuit: “I’ve been looking for someone who’s like an angel in the middle of this mess, and you’re here, I love you, and the rest, beer, beer, and I still don’t know how I’ll be able to say, what a mess, what a mess, comrade, and then always the rain, the rain, the rain”.

I’m in his forest. It’s 11 o’clock. The monologue continues.

Writer’s Biography

Laetitia Ajanohun was born in Liège to a Belgian mother and a Beninese father, and now lives in Paris. She trained as an actress at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (Belgium) and soon felt inspired to write and direct and to explore other worlds.

She began developing projects and performing in productions in Brussels, Montreal, France, Berlin, Cologne and various French-speaking African countries (Burkina-Faso, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal…). For the past ten years, she has been working with the Tarmac des Auteurs in Kinshasa.

Laetitia has worked regularly with the company Les Bruits de la Rue directed by Dieudonné Niangouna since 2012, both as an actress and artistic collaborator (Shéda, Nkenguégi, Le Kung-fu, Trust/Shakespeare/ Alléluia).

Having recently performed under the direction of Jean-Paul Delore and Jean-François Auguste, Laetitia co-founded the Compagnie du Risque with Hélène Capelle in 2019.

With around twenty plays to her name, some of which have been published while others have been read or performed at international festivals, national arts centres and in non-traditional locations, Laetitia Ajanohun is associate author at the national theatre, Le Tangram (2020-2021, 2021-2022 seasons) and has been a writer in residence at Comédie de Caen, CDN de Normandie in 2022 and at the Festival Textes en l’air in 2023.

Laetitia develops her writing by moving back and forth between several French-speaking territories, making numerous attempts at decentralisation. She wants her language to be “maquis” or “mikiliste” (theatre of artifice and dreamlike representation) – polymorphous and in perpetual motion.