La Malady of Love
Katie Mitchell
Barbican Theatre
Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
Julia Pascal


This piece of theatre is inspired by La Maladie de la Mort, Marguerite Duras’ 1982 novella.  The original text explored a homosexual’s purchase of a woman in a vain search for love.  Alice Birch overturns the premise by making the protagonist a heterosexual middle aged man who buys a prostitute’s nights in an existential search for his own emotional identity.  The creation becomes a philosophical study of pornography and misogyny which is brutal, unremitting and repetitive.  And, that’s the point.

Mitchell’s work is played on a three-dimensional visual.  The action in a hotel bedroom is the play.  Simultaneously, a film crew is shooting the actors.  We see the technicians wait for angles and framing.  At the same time we see the black and white screening  so that the aesthetic visual is triply fractured.  Mitchell is the auteur and makes us think of Godard and Bataille.  Her vision is a joyless autopsy of heterosexual relations.  The actors are mainly naked and choreographed in a way that is shocking.  Laetitia 2018.  Dosch and Nick Fletcher perform with courage and integrity.  It is a disturbing creation that is meant to upset the audience.  And it does.

Julia Pascal © 2018.

Freely adapated after the story by Marguerite Duras, Director Katie Mitchell, Script Alice Birch, With Laetitia Dosch – the woman, Nick Fletcher – the man, Irène Jacob – a narrator. 16 Jan to 3 Feb 2018. Associate Director Lily McLeish. Video direction Grant Gee. Set and costume design Alex Eales. Composer Paul Clark. Sound Design Donato Wharton. Video Design Ingi Bekk. Collaboration Video Design Ellie Thompson. Lighting Design Anthony Doran. Assistant Director Bérénice Collet. Technical Manager John Carroll. Deputy Stage Manager Lisa Hurst. Video programmer / Operator Caitlyn Russell. Camera operators Nadja Krüger, Sebastian Pircher. Trouble Shooter Matthew Evans. Sound Programmer / Operator Harry Johnson. Boom Operator Joshua Trepte. Lighting Programmer / Operator Sébastien Combes. Assistant Stage Manager Elodie Huré. Deputy Stage Manager Marinette Jullien