Absence: Chloé Déchery’s A Duet Without You and Marguerite Duras

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2022. Absence: Chloé Déchery’s A Duet Without You and Marguerite Duras. In: Chloé Déchery, ed. Performing Collaboration in Solo Performance: A Duet Without You and Practice as Research. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 122-136. ISBN 9781783209958 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Thirty thousand years ago, explains Marguerite Duras in Negative Hands, a prehistoric man (perhaps a woman?) daubed their palms in pigment and, fingers splayed, left handprints on the granite walls of a cave next to the ocean. Duras saw these repeated, identical, flat, blue-and-black prints on the Atlantic Ocean near to Altamira in Portugal. Her film, however, depicts the view from a car window as it drives during the hours before dawn, along Paris’s main arteries, the Grands Boulevards, that lead from the Opéra to the Champs Élysées. The handprints and their creator are absent. Absence, the inability faithfully to evoke those who are absent, but the responsibility to represent them all the same, lies at the heart of Duras’s works. As the title of Chloé Déchery’s piece A Duet Without You (2015) suggests, absence is also a structuring principle in her performance. In this essay I trace the significance of the philosophy, ethics and aesthetics of absence in the landscape of modern French theatre in which Duras created her works, and from which Chloé Déchery draws.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


12 October 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

28 Nov 2022 09:29

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2022 09:30



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