The memories of working women in times of economic change
In Brest there was since 1971 a factory first named Ericsson, later Thomson, Alcatel, or Jabil. Today, economical challenges, the quest for more profit as well as technological progress are threatening this area of employment that everyone likes to preserve. Five former employees of this factory, now jobless or retired women met with one desire: That the memory of their lives would not pass away. Their lives filled with struggles – lives of working women, of mothers, of women. Due to the fact that they feel that their common history could be interesting for a younger generation of workers, they decided to pass over their live experience. Theater seemed to be the best way to present the universe of their lives. It is the fight within the enterprise, the exemplary nature of their lives that allows everybody, man or woman, worker or not, to identify himself with these lives full of humanity.
To transfer their history on stage they started to work with the director Lionel Jaffrès of the theatre company “Filles de la Pui” as well as Alain Maillard, artistic director of the “Théâtre du Grain”, who started a collective work on testimonials and theatre sensitization. One major challenge was the transformation of memories into a performative art work.
The example of Jabil is not only concerning the salaries working for this enterprise. It is also linked to the major choices of society and all battles for “the highest degree of happiness for the highest number of individuals”. Putting this history on stage is a way of telling that this story concerns all of us and first of all the inhabitants of Brest.
The project experience was rich for all participants, comedians as well as technical staff. Since its creation in March 2007, the performance was warmly welcomed by the different kinds of audiences. A new theatrical writing with the aim of revising several parts of the performance regarding to actual events started in 2007. In August 2007, the direction of Jabil announced the dismissal of 230 salaries in Brest. Today, the factory closure is envisaged.
Le théâtre du Grain in Brest, France