"Way to Silence" - a theatre performance with UP8 refugee students

On April 26th, some students of the DU Passerelle of the university Paris 8 had the opportunity to attend and to participate to an immersive performance: Way to Silence, directed by Vincent Martial and Paula Vargas.

What is the DU Passerelle ?

The University Paris 8 is helping to welcome refugees by offering a University Diploma (D.U.) in ’French as a Foreign Language’ for refugees entering university.

The DU Passerelle is aimed exclusively at refugee and asylum seeker students who are beginners in French. The aim of this diploma is to give them a level of linguistic proficiency that will enable them to enter a French-speaking higher education course, in order to resume studies that were interrupted or not begun in their respective countries of origin.

What was the performance ’Way to Silence’ about ?

"What happens to our perception of language when it is made up of sounds rather than intelligible words? Movement, breathing and intonation are all linguistic parameters specific to each culture.
Way to Silence starts by collecting sound and visual archives of rare languages in order to offer an interpretation of their traces and reminiscences."

This performance gathered on stage two musicians but also a puppeteer, all surrounded by loudspeakers allowing the creation of dialogues between different sonorities and cultures. 

"Vincent Martial’s performance questions the notions of cultural transmission and influence, and the traces of humanity that languages leave behind when they fade away."

Source: more information in french here.

What was the impact on students during and after the performance ?

During the performance, the students could think and reflect on these dialogues with their own experiences of cultural diversity. All of them encountered the language barrier at some point and they can all bound with this idea. The theatre, which is based in a barge, gave them (and the organisors also!) some kind of tranquility.


Pictures taken during the Q&A session after the performance: