Koltes drama on stage

French director Patrice Chereau was responsible for bringing Bernard-Marie Koltes (1948-1989) to the attention of French theater. He was the first to stage «Black Battles with Dogs,» in Paris in 1985, a performance that will be performed at the Athens Festival’s Pireos 260 venue tonight and tomorrow. Directed anew by Arthur Nauzyciel, this production is Franco-American and premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2001, at the famed 7 Stages Theater. Koltes wrote «Black Battles with Dogs» in Africa in 1979. The playwright was always enchanted by the continent and from it drew inspiration. The play focuses on the feelings of exile and loneliness brought on by the cultural and social conflicts of the African sub-continent. In the play, a man in an unnamed West African country infiltrates a French factory at dusk, demanding to see the body of his dead brother. The body, however, is nowhere to be found and the lives of the four protagonists are forever changed. «An empty grave does not let them grieve in the way that they must. All that is left is words. Words that must fill the void. Man invented words so that he could accept death,» notes the director. For Nauzyciel the staging of every production of «Black Battles with Dogs» is always colored by the seriousness of different events: «When we staged it in Chicago, the memory of the Twin Towers collapsing and burying the dead was still very vivid. The search for the body then became more significant.» For ticket information, see On Stage.