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the human voice

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director ivo van hove
from jean cocteau
duration 1:10
premiere 12 Feb 2009


This moving monologue premiered in 2009 and has since then travelled around the world. It was performed in New York, St-Petersburg, Toronto, Dublin, Douai, Maribor, Sydney, Wuzhen, Barcelona and Hong Kong.


With The human voice (La voix humaine), Jean Cocteau wrote the ultimate farewell monologue. A woman speaks to her ex on the phone in a last attempt to undo their breakup. Gradually, she realizes that the lover has chosen another for good.



Halina Reijn takes the audience with her in the sorrow of this woman and her fight with the imminent void.

‘The text turned out to be so recognizable and accessible that I got caught up in this woman’s story from the first day of rehearsal. Much of it seemed to have been taken from my own life. It is not just a love story, but above all a desperate cry for the right to exist.’ – Halina Reijn


‘Halina Reijn’s performance of Cocteau’s tragic heroine is a scream into the existential abyss.’ - Time Out Sydney

‘Rich, and penetrating acting.’ - NRC

‘A spare, raw, enormously affecting production, brought to incisive life by Halina Reijn.’ - The Village Voice

'Eye-opening and haunting' - Theatermania.com

'Van Hove’s staging begins and ends with the inspired set, inside which Reijn unfurls a physical performance as unselfconscious as it is uncompromising' - New York Post



Avec l’aimable autorisation de M. Pierre Bergé, président du Comité Jean Cocteau.

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