A city, at night. It rains. A man, not really from here, not quite a foreigner, speaks to a passerby. He asks for a light, a cigarette, he’s looking for a room for the night… he can’t stop talking, but the passerby remains silent.

La Nuit juste avant les forêts, the ebullient text by Bernard-Marie Koltès from 1981, marked a renaissance for the playwright who had not written anything for three years. Thanks to this play, Koltès’ work was staged for the first time at the Comédie-Française and his long collaboration began with the great Patrice Chéreau.

Forty years later, this visionary text is still as strong in its form, the soliloquy, as it is in the issues it presents — oppression, society, loneliness, exclusion, precarity and racism – and that still deeply resonate today. In a minimal dark setting reminiscent of paintings by Pierre Soulages, Jean-Christophe Folly unveils a luminoso performance. He talks about desire, flight, struggles, work, alcohol and death, blood and betrayal. He stands proud and dignified in his downfall. The music composed by violinist Carla Pallone exalts his magnetic presence.

Show performed in French. Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Tickets and Details

Performances are free and open to the public. Advance tickets required. Reserve tickets online


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COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all guests must either be fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked, or wear a face covering when indoors and around others.


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Text: Bernard-Marie Koltès
Direction: Matthieu Cruciani
Assistant Director: Maëlle Dequiedt
Stage Design: Nicolas Marie
Musical Creation: Carla Pallone
Costumes: Marie La Rocca
Lighting Design: Kelig Le Bars
With Jean-Christophe Folly

Production: Comédie de Colmar – CDN Grand Est Alsace

Coproduction: La Comédie – Centre dramatique national de Reims, Le Manège – Scène nationale de Maubeuge

Presented By

  • Lewis Center for the Arts