Everything is still sleeping, and soon never again.

Imagine a world without night. A world where mankind, aided by science, puts an end to its physiological need for sleep. A pill would allow a person to sleep for only 45 minutes without the effect of fatigue. In the “era of the fragmented night” – where everyone chooses when they want to sleep – the stars no longer cradle any dreams, or any silence. Active, furious, relentless life runs through the veins of a joyful and all-powerful humanity. A fantasy for some, a nightmare for others, La Dernière nuit du monde tackles a theme which is scarely taboo. A 24-hour planet under the fallacious pretext that day is overflowing and that it is therefore time for humans to inhabit time differently. 

In this new work with accents of anticipation, Laurent Gaudé and Fabrice Murgia find fertile ground for collaboration. The opera Daral Shaga brought them together in 2014 alongside Cie Feria Musica. The two had planned to work together again one day. Jonathan Crary’s 24/7, Le Capitalisme à l’assaut du sommeil gave them that opportunity.

There is no light that needs no shade. 

To evoke this terrible fate of a world without rest, Laurent Gaudé imagines a young couple: Gabor (Fabrice Murgia) and Lou (Nancy Nkusi). He throws himself body and soul into the realisation of this sinister pill. She tries to reason with him, to sensitise him – but in vain. The last night comes, for humanity but also for the couple. Lou disappears. An investigation gets underway that is ultimately troubled by lack of sleep and the interests of unbridled capitalism.

“Night has always been the kingdom of freedom and fear, an area where boundaries become blurred, where everything changes appearance and meaning in a state of rapture or terror. Night asks questions of our lives and examines our finitude. In fact, in the “Epic of Gilgamesh”, the Mesopotamian hero wanted to try and free himself from the cycle of sleep: to stay awake for more than six days in order to become immortal. Centuries later, are we about to succeed where he failed? And if we are, what will we be in the future? An eternal yet exhausted human race? Does night perhaps gaze at us now with great pity, we who have lost the art of sleeping? Is it perhaps time to listen to the voice of night and let it sweep us off our feet?”

- Laurent Gaudé


  • Texts
    Laurent Gaudé

    Direction & performance
    Fabrice Murgia

    Nancy Nkusi

    Vincent Lemaire

    Assistant director
    Véronique Leroy

    Video design
    Giacinto Caponio

    Light design
    Emily Brassier

    Sound design & arrangements
    Brecht Beuselinck

    Sound operator
    Célia Naver

    Video direction
    Dimitri Petrovic

    General manager & stage manager
    Marc Defrise

  • Video cast
    Per Henrik Bals
    Natacha Belova
    Takakehto Charles
    Vanessa Compagnucci
    Mieke De Grote
    Josse De Pauw
    Maxime Graff
    Fatou Hane
    Inès Hick
    Nicolas Hick
    Teresita Iacobelli
    Maryam Kamyab
    Hadja Labhib
    Diego Murgia
    Matis Stecher Rasmussen
    Dorcy Rugamba
    Daphné Seale
    Aigin Simma
    Åsa Simma
    Olya Tsoraeva
    Jos Verbist

    Création Studio Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles

    Frans Brood Productions

    Cie ARTARA

    Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles, le Théâtre de Namur, Mars - Mons arts de la scène, le Théâtre de Liège, Central- La Louvière, Théâtres en Dracénie-Draguignan, Théâtre L’Aire Libre-Rennes, la Scène nationale d’Albi, le CDN de Madrid, le Riksteatern, La Coop asbl & Shelter Prod

    With the support of, ING et du tax-shelter du gouvernement fédéral belge