"Let's visualise something simple", say the programme notes to “Quitter la Terre” (Leaving Earth). Let’s imagine a way to free the earth of its inhabitants for several generations, so that it has time to recover. As humans have proven themselves unable to curb their impact on ecosystems, the planet has reached its demographic limits and its natural resources have been exhausted, and so it needs to regenerate.
To face up to this situation, a person about whom we know precious little has come up with a radical solution: an oblivious group of earth-dwellers is abducted, while the remaining group is sterilised and left to die off by itself. The first group is put into orbit around the earth in space capsules.
On stage the writer, director and actor Joël Maillard and the actress Joëlle Fontannaz play two presenters relating what is known of this experiment. Although it hasn't actually happened, it has been designed with precision. All this can be revealed thanks to mysterious documents and instruments found in a large box.
The presenters, Joël and Joëlle, then slowly come to embody the characters in this adventure, so that we – the audience – are able to enter one of the capsules, to understand how it works and see how its society is organised.
With humour and imagination, Joël and Joëlle lead us into one of the favourite themes of science fiction literature and film, namely the utopia of a new social order. Through the unrestrained imagination of a fake inventor, “Quitter la terre” raises pressing environmental, economic and demographic questions that constitute the challenges which future generations will have to face.
A graduate of the Conservatoire d’art dramatique at Lausanne, Joël Maillard began his career as a writer and actor in the framework of a group, the Eponyme company. He wanted to stage his own work, so he founded SNAUT in 2010. As an actor he has worked with several directors in French-speaking Switzerland, and most recently in “La Fabrique des Monstres” by Jean-François Perret at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, alongside Jeanne Balibar, Victor Lenoble and Jacques Bonnaffé.