Adeline Rosenstein Brussels

Transmission poison

theatre / radio — premiere

Les Halles de Schaerbeek / Radio Campus / Radio Panik

| French → NL, EN | ⧖ 50min

Radio was one of the first means of communication able to combine immediacy and distance; for many, it has been an important companion during these months of isolation. Adeline Rosenstein’s artistic practice stems from long periods of investigation, hours of conversation that she then translates into text and theatrical endeavours for actors and for herself. Based in Brussels, she has presented her work internationally in recent years, with pieces including Décris-Ravage, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Laboratoire Poison, on the theme of treason in resistance struggles. In the new format conceived especially for the festival, she is alone on stage for the first time. Seated at a table in front of the audience, she retraces an investigation into three contexts and generations of militancy, alternating her own voice with recordings of original dialogues. The theatre becomes a radio station from which sound is broadcast live for three days and three different episodes. Hence, the project delivers a double experience: on the one hand, it’s a piece of theatre for spectators; on the other, a radio show for listeners at home. Radio is not a voice detached from the body but a voice becoming a body and travelling in multiple forms. Inside the Halles de Schaerbeek, we can witness the magic together with those listening remotely. 

 Listen again to the 3 episodes on Radio Panik

read more

Transmission poison is a series of three radio broadcasts devoted to three women from three different generations, who participated in some of the most progressive movements of their time, in very different political contexts: one of the women was born in Cape Verde, another in ex-East Germany of a Guinean father and a German mother, and the third in France of a Russian father and a French mother.
They have nothing in common except perhaps a struggle against the world of the ‘White Man’ waged at various times in their leftist life, culture and movement. They could have been from the same family of exiles of the unfulfilled promises of three liberations: daughter of the people’s rights, struggling against the Portuguese Colonial Empire; daughter of the denazification of Europe, struggling against leftist racism; daughter of the fall of the Wall, struggling against neoliberalism, colonialism, and leftist racism.
These are women who do not write, or at least not yet
At least they didn’t think it was up to them to write while we were recording the interview
Nevertheless, they possess useful knowledge
as to world changes
as to metamorphoses intimate and no less decisive,
that they presuppose.
We wanted to invite these women in struggle
to create a sound archive
with a view to transmitting combative experiences.
A place to talk for a whole day, to be silent, without questions.
These three broadcasts comprise a sequence of excerpts from those recordings.
Amilcar Cabral, a Cape Verdean and Bissau-Guinean revolutionary, was assassinated by Portugal and by betrayal; that is to say, by some agents of the Portuguese Political Police. In a famous speech, he stated: “The bourgeoisie must commit suicide as a class, to be reborn as a worker.” There have been many comments about this sentence, this suicide that does not lead to death. I try to understand it not as a collective suicide but as an individual act, a dynamic of interiority that involves a change of lexicon or clothing and other, more intimate things …
The choice of words makes it possible to observe these historical layers, for example the ‘internal civil war’ experienced by these young women, who, to free themselves, also claim ‘a violence to oneself’.
Breaking away from certain people and their words – this is also called writing history.
However, these women, having multiplied the ruptures and the transformations, are not heroic, at least they don’t deem that the word heroism could define their acts, not at all.
You probably know at least one young woman who shuts the door, opens the window, jumps, falls, and runs away. It doesn't hurt her because she lands on a part of her that wants to die anyway.
She will join the others in the dance of anguish, from here to a more coherent life – there is violence in it.
How else to abandon the codes and practices developed in submission?
How to leave the people and their words of love, how to cut out the pieces of the self that shout at them in their language? These bits of self, past not dead, they stuff them into a bag, throw it out the window in front of them and land on it; it cushions the fall – it admits courage.
A bag of oneself to throw away. The trash self.
A young woman frees herself, hurts herself, probably. This bag thrown in front of her, this past lugged around, crushed, not dead, and which admits courage, perhaps waits to be defined with more dignity.
But the words that aptly denote dignity, as it were, often come only after victory. Before that, it’s too confusing. The will to move precedes words – as always when something is poorly defined, there is violence in it.
After the defeats, it’s often the traitors who write the best: “We could not do anything. Nothing. We tried to kill ourselves but we no longer had the strength. We are ashamed. We are human”, to paraphrase certain utterances by former resistance fighters who flinched, betrayed, regretted.
Contrary to the fallacious equation: “humanity = cowardice”, and contrary to the sharing of poisonous demoralisation, the stories of these women give us strength. Transmission poison – transformation.

  • Adeline Rosenstein

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts-Les Halles de Schaerbeek 

Transmission Poison by Adeline Rosenstein | Realisation: Adeline Rosenstein, David Stampfli, Hanna El Fakir | Assistant & Voice-over : Marie Devroux | With: Lilica Boal, Jeanne Maddy, Anna Raisson | Editing, mixing: David Stampfli, Hanna El Fakir | Research & collaboration : Jean-Michel Chaumont, Crisanto Barros, Saphia Arezki, Anouschka Trocker | Translations: Zoé Craeye & Diogo Queiroga (Portuguese), Muriel Weiss (German) | Production: Maison Ravage | Commissioned by Kunstenfestivaldesarts in coproduction with Les Halles de Schaerbeek | Remerciements: T2G Théâtre de Gennevilliers - Centre Dramatique National



  • 17:45
  • French → NL, EN
  • Les Halles de Schaerbeek
  • €16 / €13
  • cancelled
  • 18:00
  • Episode 1 – Lilica Boal
  • French
  • Radio Campus


  • 18:45
  • French → NL, EN
  • Les Halles de Schaerbeek
  • €16 / €13
  • cancelled
  • 19:00
  • Episode 2 – Jeanne Madi Koepp & Anouschka Trocker
  • French
  • Radio Panik


  • 20:15
  • French → NL, EN
  • Les Halles de Schaerbeek
  • €16 / €13
  • cancelled
  • 20:30
  • Episode 3 – Anna Raisson
  • French
  • Radio Campus
website by lvh