Sometimes we are occupied and suddenly someone comes along with painful news. And sometimes we become eyewitnesses to very difficult events. At such moments our consciousness sharpens to the extreme, we take in every detail to be able to reconstruct how things went at a future date. Unless it refuses to cooperate, and our memory proves faulty. It can also happen that a story transforms when the teller takes control of it and adds their own details. Emmanuel Carrère’s “Yoga” comes across as such an unpredictable reconstruction of pain—our own and others’. As an attempt to come closer to the moments that are hard to talk about, but with which we still need to come to terms.
“Yoga” is a play based on the autobiographical novel by Emmanuel Carrère, initially intended as a cheerful meditation handbook, but which, affected by the political events that shook France in 2015 and the personal problems that upset the author’s emotional life, turns into an intimate tale of a severe mental health crisis.
Literature, for Carrère, is a place where one does not lie, neither about oneself nor about others. The author decides on a non-fiction pact, believing in its cognitive power. He raises the question of how far one can go in art. In speaking of himself, the author also draws controversially sincere portraits of his friends, partners, acquaintances, the people he meets by chance, sometimes abusing his authorial power. He also explores the price he himself is prepared to pay for radical honesty, while making sly references to the reader’s or viewer’s desire for truth: rooting his work in an autobiographical gesture, he also plays with fiction, encouraging us to decide for ourselves what really happened and what has been altered through a literary transformation, and how this affects our reception of the story itself. The aim of this ambivalent pact is to ask some fundamental questions: Are we capable of creating a space for pain, of enduring it and living on? What role do we play in the lives of others? Are we able to come together to tend to our spiritual needs in a state of irony and cynicism, faced with the apocalyptic aura and human loneliness of the twenty-first century, to come together to address our spiritual needs?
The performance is recommended for audiences over the age of 16.